Everybody knew this day would come. After two seasons of dismal ratings, FOX has finally brought the ax down on Joss Whedon’s sci-fi series Dollhouse, which will not be renewed for a third. There are two ways of looking at it: 1. FOX mishandled the show from the beginning by meddling with the (deeply flawed) early episodes and debuting it on Friday night, which set it up for failure. 2. FOX generously allowed the show two full seasons on the strength of its fervent critical and cult following, even though the numbers never justified it. On balance, I’m inclined to take the half-glass-full option and be grateful for two seasons’ worth of Whedon’s flawed yet ambitious and often brilliant series. We’re fortunate to live at a time when weird factors like downloads and DVR numbers can compensate for traditional metrics like the Nielsens, and Dollhouse benefited greatly from the passiondex. If there’s any positive takeaway from this, it’s that fans should feel empowered by their ability to make an impact in this new environment. Without them, Dollhouse likely gets pulled as early as Firefly did.
Since Dollhouse’s cancellation was inevitable, the key questions are: Will FOX honor its 13-episode commitment and will those episodes air? All signs point to “yes” on both counts. Dollhouse is currently shooting the 11th episode and FOX will continue production on the other two. And based on tweets from reliable sources like Variety’s Michael Schneider, the network intends to air all 13 to boot, in order to “give Joss the opportunity to end in a significant way.”
In other news, ABC cancelled Hank. Cue crickets.