“Wow, this show is actually pretty good!”
Fox has long been my favorite punching bag for some time, as they’ve singlehandedly managed to prematurely destroy some of the best shows ever to appear on television. This list includes, but is not limited to, such classics as Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared and Firefly, all killed way before their time.
But with the news that Fox has renewed Dollhouse, which actually set a record as the lowest rated show EVER to be picked up for another season, I have to wonder, is Fox getting smarter?
I don’t believe that Dollhouse is a better program than anything I’ve just mentioned, but it certainly deserves to be in the company of those shows. By the end of the season Joss Whedon had crafted a show that integrated morality and science on an almost Battlestar Galactica-ian level, and Dollhouse is certainly a more quality program than 95% of Fox’s current lineup.
So what got into Fox? Well, as kindhearted as a I’d like to believe they are, it really is all about money, believe it or not. Despite it’s god awful ratings, Dollhouse gets a huge 40% bump from DVR viewings, in addition to another significant increase from online streaming. So whereas a show like Ghost Whisperer may get three times the ratings of Dollhouse on Friday night, a lot of that is because of its much older audience who are fine with staying home on Friday nights watching a TV show with 20 full minutes of commercials in it. The rest of us? Well, we live in the 21st century.
Fox is also counting on big DVD sales, as sci-fi niche shows like this one tend to do extremely well there, and finally, Joss promised that he can do the show on a budget. He showed them an episode called “Epitaph One” which is a sort of addendum to the season finale that was shot with zero dollars, and he claimed he could do more of the same if they gave him another chance.
And another chance he has, and it has to be one of the most praiseworthy decisions Fox has made in a long time. Sure they canceled Terminator, but you can’t win them all I suppose.
Bonus: My Name is Earl got canceled! Rejoice!