Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Serenity, and Angel, has been a big player as far as quality TV shows that struggle to gain steady ratings. Buffy was canceled and moved to another channel, only to have it’s final season hastened to an awkward ending through means of a poor macguffin and disappointing deus ex machina. Angel ended on a fairly strong note, albeit one without a real ending due to the cancellation . Firefly was cut down in it’s prime due to Fox’s sloppy advertisement and poor programming.
Whedon’s latest creation, Dollhouse, has had some of the same issues as his other TV shows. It barely made it back this year after last year’s less than stellar ratings, resulting in a budget cut for the series. The season premiere brought in 2.1 million viewers, half of the average of the first season’s viewers, and found a 20 percent drop in ratings from the second episode.
To put this into perspective, reruns of House, arguably one of Fox’s most popular dramas, bring in a higher rating than Dollhouse. So what does this mean for Dollhouse? Simply put it means that, unless the ratings change for the better, the series might not even see it to the end of the season.
While I would hate to see the series go, I do not believe many others would be as disappointed. The series had a slow start during the first season, losing a lot of it’s viewers due to some particularly poor first few episodes. While the season’s quality did get better after five or so episodes, a show like Dollhouse can’t really afford losing any number of people because of any number of poor episodes.
I don’t think it helps much that Fox doesn’t seem to have had much faith in the series, sticking it in the same dead friday spot that Firefly had. If Dollhouse had a lead-in that suited the series well, like J.J. Abram’s wildly popular Fringe, then the series might have fared better from the start of the series.