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Terminator Terminated, Dollhouse in Play

As the networks release their list of shows being renewed most fans gave up hope that Dollhouse, which premiered at horrible ratings before sinking to even worse ratings by the finale would be renewed. So, imagine their surprise when Fox picked it up for a second season and "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" was canceled. In explaining why, it seems like it came down to two things: money and creativity.

Kevin Reilly, Fox's president of entertainment, described Terminator as "not an inexpensive show" and felt that it was given ample support and scheduling following a huge launch. "We tried, and felt it was time to move on." he said.

He describes Dollhouse differently, "First, it's a bet on [creativity], and that's something that has never changed," Reilly said. "And I'm happy to say we're doing that. You know how inspired Joss Whedon is. It's a bet on Joss."

Personally, I was more interested in Dollhouse than Terminator mainly because of the writing. Dollhouse was a weird premise that was hard to hook into, but managed to be an extremely well-written and character driven show. Terminator was a great premise with a familiar concept that managed to have hours devoted to Connor pouting and whining and Cameron getting hit by trucks every week. I stopped watching both shows by the end, but if someone locked me in a room and gave me a choice of DVDs to watch, I'd take Dollhouse because at least it felt like it was going somewhere.

Plus, with the new movie "Terminator: Salvation" coming out, the show just can't compete in terms of mythology and action. It's always been a theatrical spectacle and didn't really fit on the small screen.


  1. Yeah, I'm surprised about that flip. I thought "Terminator" would stay on the air because of the new movie giving it a bump in ratings, but I personally found it too confusing to follow. I missed a few episodes, and never caught up. I also thought "Dollhouse" was too cerebral to stay on the air. But as far as cost, that certainly explains the decision.

    Still, I doubt "Dollhouse" will survive after the second season. The problem with the show is that the main character's personality changes every week. We never got to know Echo before she became an Active, and she's changing every episode, so there's no emotional attachment. I always found the subplot about the guy trying to find the Dollhouse fairly thin, not enough to grip me every week. It wasn't clear why the guy needed to find the Dollhouse, and there was no urgent need to do so. The show has the same problem as an anthology series, which is that there's no emotional investment in the story. Plus, the memory-wipe scenario is a little too heavy for the average viewer.

    If I were writing for the show, I would do two things. One is make the Dollhouse more sinister. I don't understand why they made the Dolls volunteers. I think that takes away a great emotional crutch if the Dolls were kidnapped and forced to become Dolls involuntariy. I would have it turn out that the Dolls were manipulated into volunteering, so it wasn't really voluntary. That would also give the guy's search for the Dollhouse more urgency. We'd be watching each week to see if Echo escapes. The second thing I would do is have Echo escape and be on the run. That way, she could develop her own personality instead of getting re-imprinted each week, and we could find out more about the world she lives in. They've implied that the technology to imprint memories is known outside the Dollhouse. How else is it being used? Anyway, that's what I'd do. We'll see.

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