Not Watching Dollhouse..

by admin on March 25, 2009 · 33 comments

*Not* Watching Dollhouse

Just under a year ago I started, inspired by the core premise of the show which totally captured my imagination. It seems somewhat ironic now that I will no longer be watching least not on a consistent basis. Thus bringing a close to nearly 12 months of following a show that promised so much, but ultimately delivered so little. For me at least. Some of you will know that this decision has been on my mind for a while now — I gave the show until the much hyped episode 1.06 to see if the creative direction would improve to the level needed to justify the time that I put into the site. However, despite a definite improvement, I don’t believe that the show will ever do justice to it’s own magnificent premise. This is not a knee-jerk reaction, but an honest assessment of  the passion needed to run a site to the level that I expect from myself.

Despite my disappointment in the show, there has been several bright spots: I have enjoyed exploring the many themes that Dollhouse touches on  — subtext that I hope the show will go on to explore further, but with the precision of a surgeon’s hand. It has also been great sharing views and perspectives with the many people who have left comments and sent in emails. My interest in this show would have been far weaker if not for those people, so a big THANKS to all of you, and to those who have visited and linked to the blog. My hope was always for Watching Dollhouse to provide a place where both hardcore Whedonite’s and the yet to be convinced could come together to share views and opinion on the show and it’s themes. I’m glad we achieved that.

Now for some house-keeping:

A few people have asked me if I have any other projects in the works — I do. Those of you who like “Fringe” can find me over at FringeBloggers. I also run the original Fringe site, Fringe-Forum. I also have a Lost website, and a personal blog, but both of those will be undergoing changes in the near future, so I wont link to them. However, I will update the WD blogroll and sidebar RSS widgets accordingly. I also have a few other things in the works — something different, but a long way off completion. So, in between life and work, I’ll still be taking an interest in the online medium, that’s for sure.

For those of you looking for alternative places to discuss/follow Dollhouse, feel free to check out our forums. I also recommend Dollverse — a great site with lots of info on the show. There’s also Dollhouse TV (France), the German Dollhouse Fansite, and Dollhouse Portugal.

I’ll probably (but not definitely) continue to watch Dollhouse when I can. So if it gets insanely good, I might return, but I doubt it. That said, I plan to leave this beast of a site up — there’s tons of information and discussion that people and search engines are eating up.

Whilst I have concerns over several aspects of DH, I really do hope that this show turns it around and becomes good. There was a time when I believed that the show should be canceled if it didn’t meet my expectations. That philosophy has changed slightly, because at the end of the day there is still potential there. It might not be my thing right now, but at least it’s trying to be different, at least it seeks to engage the brain (and soul), which is more than can be said for a lot of stuff out there right now.

Peace out.


NJ Julie March 25, 2009 at 6:05 pm

This is my first and probably last comment on your blog…you did a great job. When I was searching for Dollhouse blogs, yours was the only one I really enjoyed, format, intelligent opinions, etc. So while I’m disappointed that you won’t be posting anymore, I completely understand your reasons behind it.

I hope the show turns around as well. Episode 1.06 was the only one I truly enjoyed and I was like, finally, we’re gettin’ somewhere!!

More power to you, Roco! 🙂

Phoenix March 25, 2009 at 8:02 pm

See, now you have to make me all sad, AND it’s raining outside! I’ll be really sorry to see your episode discussions go, but as I’ve said before, I completely understand/am behind your reasons for not pouring as much into this blog — what’s television but an escape into a different world? If you’re not enjoying the ride, why waste the time?

You’ve been right in pointing out that the show thus far has not lived up to its potential and you’ve also been one of the few fearless enough to point out that Whedon must shoulder SOME of the blame for the crappiness of some of the first episodes (*cough* stagefright *hack*). You’ve also given some truly satisfying insights into some of the themes and morally ambiguous questions the show has raised; you know, while I was watching “Gray Hour” I didn’t even think about the art connections to the Dollhouse until you pointed it out to me!

So while I’m obviously more positive about the show than you, I too hope that the upcoming five episodes and finale come up to par for the work that you’ve invested in this blog.

So whether or not you blog again, I just wanted to drop in and say, thanks for the interesting (and insightful) breakdowns and the opportunity to actually explore one of the few shows out there today that has a fairly original premise. You rock!

bekki March 25, 2009 at 10:49 pm

best wishes, roco! despite our numerous disagreements, i am utterly thankful for your voice being out there – even for only 6 episodes. your insights were unique and extremely valuable. i’ll miss this blog! 🙁

take care,


Ricardo March 26, 2009 at 6:19 pm

A pity. I really liked your blog and hope you come back.

Take care,
Ricardo Leal from

Bad Mouth March 26, 2009 at 8:17 pm

It is a real shame that you are stopping Roco, but in the end the show was more hype than substance, so nobody can really blame you from throwing in the towel at this stage. There is a huge opportunity to explore the issues of identity in aTV series, and you would imagine that Joss would be the kind of guy to exploit it, but it looks like rather than delving into the subtleties of that subject we got cliched hokum. Ah well, I am sure that someone will approach this topic again with a little more seriousness. Thanks very much Roco for creating such a great site, and for being so gracious when Whedon-bots criticized your POV.

There is also AVClub,68/ which is pretty good.

Natalie March 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm

That’s a real shame, but thank you for establishing the faith early on. I guess that’s all we can do with Joss’ shows — hope for the best, since he and the cast deserve that.

I’m currently middle of the scale, but enjoying the small treats we get, and, like you said, the conversations it generates (as I mention in this article, ).

Best of luck, and thanks again for the blog.

Roco March 28, 2009 at 11:17 am

Thanks for the kind words folks!

Page 48 March 28, 2009 at 7:24 pm

If the supreme badness of 1.7 is any indication, you went out on top, Roco. There’s no way FOX can give this a longer run than it gave “Firefly”. DH certainly hasn’t earned it.

BuffyGroupie March 29, 2009 at 6:09 am

Wow, I’m shocked by how little time people are willing to give this show. Especially people who say they are Whedon fans. I’m willing to give it all 13 episodes and then some before I start judging whether it was good or bad or ugly.

If you want to check out what I’ve been saying, since everyone else seems to be jumping ship, check out my blog at

I’m sad for the world if no one has the patience to give this show a chance to grow. Six or seven episodes is not long enough. If you read my blog, you’ll see what I mean.

Roco March 30, 2009 at 6:13 am

Well, I can only speak for myself: As I’ve stated before, I do have an issue with the quality and direction of the show, but there’s also the fact that it’s difficult for me to justify the time I spend watching and blogging about a show that I no longer believe in. I’m sure that’s the case with a lot of people – we have to prioritise those fleeting moments in a day when we get the chance to sit back and chillax. DH hasn’t done enough to earn my labor of love.

I’m glad that you’re willing to give it all 13 episodes, but that’s you. You wont hear me criticizing those who are sticking it out, likewise you can surely understand those (like myself) who no longer want to invest time in a show they’ve lost faith in? DH is far from the perfect show — as much as you love it, you can see that right?

Don’t get me wrong, I know you’re just trying to defend the show. I realise that it must be difficult when others do not see the world the way that you do, but as well intentioned as you may be, the show has to help viewers (and potential viewers) out by making itself appealing. Hand on heart, I cannot say that I would have stuck with this show for as long as I did if I didn’t know the core premise, or have this blog.

One of the many good things about “Fringe” (for example), is that it has gained a lot of ‘new’ fans – i.e. fans who are not necessarily “Lost” or JJ. Abrams fans. I’m not sure the same can be said in relation to DH. It failed to make a fan out of me, and I had a blog..I had a reason to follow the show.

That said, I can appreciate your passion. I wish the show well, but it really has to offer more than it has done so far. IMO.

BuffyGroupie March 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Sorry! I really didn’t mean to jump all over you like that. I had just come from Whedonesque and they were all crazy over there and I was frustrated.

You are totally within your rights to watch or not watch whatever you want. I understand about problems fitting in everything, as I write for three entertainment blogs and for content, I watch approximately 25 hours of TV a week, along side my full-time job and taking care of my family. So it gets insane and I know it would be easier to dump some stuff if it just wasn’t interesting to me.

Again, I’m sorry about that. But I am still giving DH until the end of this season to see what Joss has in store.

Roco March 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm

You could be right Page — the overall feedback that I’ve received regading 1.07 hasn’t been glowing.

Matthew Truex April 2, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Hey Roco,
Sorry to hear that you won’t be as active with the site anymore. Was hoping though that you could direct me to a link where you get all the episode specific promo pics? They are great quality and I love finding them before every episode on this site but if you won’t be posting them anymore I was wondering where they would be. Thank you for you time and for a great site.


Awatcher2 March 30, 2009 at 5:51 am

I think with most of Joss’ shows they don’t get really good till furter in. If it wasn’t for season 2 I would not have been as into Buffy as I ended up being.

Bryn March 30, 2009 at 7:20 am

This is a shame, since this is a good website, despite the increasingly negative reviews. Is there no way you could pass on the site to someone else who still likes the show?

josh March 30, 2009 at 3:27 pm

For having spent over a year blogging about DH I would think you would have more patience to atleast finish the season out.

I also have been following the developments of this show since I first remember reading about it 2 novembers ago right before the writers strike.

Its a shame that you are not going to stick it out and finish the season, your website, although annoying at the overwhelming nitpickyness of DH, I enjoyed the set up and layout of site.

DH is getting better and better. Yes its been a bit of a hard start, even though I have enjoyed each episode. You and anyone else that watched episode 6 and are not still watching are missing out.

What a excellent episode. I watched it with 5 of my friends that have just been semi intrested but have followed all previous 5 episodes, and after they watched “Man on the Street” they all agreed, this show just took off.

We still talk about that episode 3 weeks later…the shock we got after the great fight between Echo and Ballard that there is a Mole in the DH who is trying to help him and that theres 20 dollhouses throught the world…that just put and huge global scale to this show..there is a real threat to the world with the Dollhouses. And then the awesome reveal of Mellie being a Doll.

It was fantastic, and im not just saying thats my opinion. Thats also the opinion of 5 of my friends that really was just watching because of minimal intrest.

By the way, Episode 7 was great too, laugh out loud funny, and gave great back story to Echo.

And next week looks crazy!

You keep stating that the show is not living up to what you thought or wanted it to be…but did you ever think that it was never ment or was created to be the show you wanted it to be?

Just take DH for what it is now..a smart, intresting, and fun show.

Theres too much crap on tv to give up on something as original as this!

nina March 31, 2009 at 12:12 am

There are still some hard-core types, but you sense the white flags starting to wave in the DH community. The show got a weak rating Friday, though it was against the NCAA tournament. The other two DH websites haven’t posted episode reviews yet. Posting and discussion seem down all around. It seems like reality is starting to settle in.

I thought the episodes had some nice performances but didn’t really amount to anything. It seems less like the show turned some major corner last week, and more like it was a one-time blip because Joss wrote the script. I guess we can all have our predictions and see who guesses right.

Reed Hardy April 1, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Lost had me immediately (Hang with me here – I will get to DH shortly) – but I thought it was a survival show. The effects were so spectacular, and you felt so bad for these people. The first “Wow” that got me was finding out that Locke was in a wheelchair. That didn’t happen for a while folks! Then things started to get all out of whack. The show turned out to be nothing like I expected. Now we’re time traveling?

DH has some stuff to deal with. Some background to set up. I really think there are some complex mind-bending issues that Joss wants to deal with. It will take some time! Give it to him! I DO respect that some of you don’t like it, but I think a lot of pieces have to be set up for you to go on the ride. I am willing to see where this goes, because Joss has not let me down. I don’t want to be spoon fed and know the plot from day one. I want something that is different from what I expected and makes me think.

Fringe is great – but it is just another X-Files to me. Cool characters and lots of humor – but still the “freak of the week” mentality. There is some stuff in the background (THE PATTERN) and I really hope that pans out. That is what makes me tick.

Rafiki April 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I was 100% with you on the disappointment with this show – being a huge Whedon fan, expecting something like the ensemble cast successes he’s had in the past, I was very disappointed with what was showing up as formulaic stand-alone episode show with a very weak lead in a “showcase” position.

I’ve stuck it out mostly because I’m unemployed and have the free time to waste on a show that is at least moderately entertaining. “Man on the Street” frustrated the hell out of me – so many plot holes and just general badness for what was supposed to be the turnaround episode.

That said, I suggest you watch episode 8 – even if you don’t start watching the show again – it was actually what I was hoping the show would be, with a focus on the cast and each character’s story rather than some silly sexy echo storyline. It’s the first one this season ( and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s not the only) that I’d actually rate as “very good” in comparison with other shows, not just with the mediocre episodes the rest of the season.

Nate April 4, 2009 at 11:26 pm

I want to second the previous post.

I just started watching Buffy a few months back (and just finished season 4) and that has been my first exposure to Joss. Also, I hadn’t heard anything about Dollhouse until about a week or two before the first episode aired. So, I started watching excited, but not with sky high expectations. I thought the first couple episodes where pretty uninteresting, but that the show was on a gradual arc up. I thought episodes 6 and 7 actually reversed that trend a bit, or at least were holding steady.

But yeah, episode 8 = “very good.” In fact, I’d say it’s in another league than the rest of the series so far. I’d strongly recommend you (and anyone else let down by the show) give it a shot.

Camille April 5, 2009 at 5:54 am

I’ve never watched any Whedon shows or movies but I always heard a lot of hype, so I started watching Dollhouse to see if I might be able to get in on the ground floor of something Whedon. This show has been fun in parts but I felt that episode 7 was wildly premature (seems like the kind of kitschy filler episode that should turn up in like a 3rd or 4th season). The show has a great premise and I think the basic concepts interesting enough to take it slow and develop the basics first and then go from there. The pacing has been really bizarre and some of the acting (like in episode 8) was bordering on bad high school theater. I’m gonna stick with it because I only really watch LOST at the moment, so its good to have another tv show to follow. However, at the moment it is just a time-filler and I still don’t “get” the hype about Joss Whedon.

Camille April 5, 2009 at 10:03 am

I don’t know why it say episode and then a smiley face. it should say Episode Eight.

e April 5, 2009 at 9:02 am

I’m not sure if I’m going to continue watching. Learning that Sierra was kidnapped sold to the dollhouse and that she’s regularly rented back to her abuser and programmed to love him? This went waaaaaaaay beyond my comfort zone. Dollhouse is not a show to escape to and be intrigued by. There’s no one to root for. It’s just ugly.

Sarah K April 6, 2009 at 6:50 am

It’s hard for me to pinpoint why Dollhouse just doesn’t seem to be working. I’m disappointed as a fan of Joss Whedon and his work that the best I can say for the show is that it is better and more watchable to me than most network television. For anyone else that might be a compliment but for someone who’s consistently delivered material that wasn’t just somewhat better but was truly excellent, it’s kind of a letdown.

Ads April 7, 2009 at 7:40 am

Fair weather fan eh?

“It’s not as good as I hoped, so I’m dropping support.”

“Oh, it got good! Yeah, I was totally with it from the start!”


If people stop showing interest, it’s never going to get the CHANCE to improve because it’ll be pulled.

And to the people complaining that it’s dark? JOSS SAID HIMSELF that it was going to be considerably darker than his other work.

Page 48 April 8, 2009 at 7:47 pm

I think somewhere along the line, Joss also mentioned that the show was going to be GOOD. So far, it ain’t nothin’ but a snoooooooozefest.

Natalie April 7, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Um, wait a minute… I’m confused.

I thought it was the job of the people doing the show to put out episodes that made people want to watch more episodes. I thought that was kind of the definition of their jobs.

I’ve never encountered a culture where it’s the responsibility of the viewers to watch the show for two years before they make any value judgements.

So I’m just kind of confused, that’s all.

BuffyGroupie April 8, 2009 at 10:58 am

Quote from my blog about Dollhouse:

A show premiered to low ratings. After it aired, NBC did not pick it up and actually offered the show to Fox, which also declined to pick it up. However, head of late night and special events for NBC diverted money from his budget, and four more episodes were filmed. These episodes were placed in a time slot where they followed the number 3 rated show on TV at that time. The series was then finally picked up. The series was renamed and placed in several time slots during its second season, before finally finding a regular time slot. It was not until the show’s fourth season that it finally broke into the Nielsen Top 30, shooting up to number 3 for its 5th year, and number 1 for it’s sixth year. Years 7 and 8 it landed at number 2, and then back to number 1 for it’s final season.

Care to know what I’m talking about and how it relates to DH?

Camille April 10, 2009 at 9:51 am

@BuffyGroupie – Have you seen the first few episodes of Seinfeld? They were hilarious, well-developed, and biting!

Dollhouse is no Seinfeld; it is not misunderstood, it is just a good idea that has been poorly-executed and now must be be saved from itself. Frankly, now that I’ve had time to think, I have come to the opinion that any one who is a fan of Joss Whedon (I am not because this is the only Whedon thing I’ve ever seen and it stinks) should be glad for this mercy killing.

Carlton April 9, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Word today is Episode 13 won’t be aired? Final nail in the coffin.

Chaulk this show up as a bad Joss experiment.

RussB April 12, 2009 at 8:05 pm

If You Give It A Chance It’s AWESOME!

*The first comment I want to say is I didn’t watch the promos hear the hype prior to watching. I sort of stumbled upon the show hearing Eliza on the radio talk about it. My point is maybe your expecatations are to high at THIS moment.

It started off slow (IMO). Once you get into later episodes of the show it becomes filled with juicy plots and a deeper understanding of the characters. I believe there’s so much more this show has to offer and we have only seen the tip of the iceberg.

I really hope some television network picks up Dollhouse because it’s great, heck I think ABC should pick it up and teach Fox a lesson if they don’t like a television show that: is entertaining, makes one question their own ethics, and sparks the imagination. We can think of it as ABC’s What Would You Do in a SciFi way!

Also it’s worth mentioning I really enjoy looking at the atmosphere and design (The Set) they created for the show.

I am not bashing Fox by any means if this is what they choose to do, but I would hate to see a great show not continue simply due to a networks decision. Shows have been picked up by other networks before: I Dream of Jeanie, Family Matters, Get Smart, Taxi, Jag, Bionic Women etc… I personally never watched Bionic Women, but from what I understand it aired on ABC for two seasons (1976-1977) and was cancelled from ABC and then picked up by NBC for only 1 season from (1977-1978) See Wikipedia. I realize that it may have not been successful on NBC, but my point is at least give Dollhouse a CHANCE to succeed. Parents don’t throw their child out, because they haven’t hit their peak yet. They give them time to grow and succeed and if Dollhouse has to be adopted by a new network so be it!

Rafiki April 18, 2009 at 5:47 am

At this point, I’m pretty much counting on the perversity of Fox to keep the show alive. They canceled Firefly, an amazing show with complex characters, biting, fast paced dialogue and juicy, mysterious plot points… The relative dullness and fluffy T&A of the first few shows of Dollhouse pretty much guarantees a season 5 by Fox’s track record… hopefully giving it the time to develop into the potential it has started to fulfill

The Voice of History April 19, 2009 at 8:20 pm

The problem with rooting for another network to pick up Dollhouse is that the networks know the history of such moves. I believe every show Russ listed ran one unsuccessful season on its new network and died. Reasonable people can argue why, but the fact is, the networks keep track of stuff like that and they know what a low-percentage move it is.

Plus, you look like a dope picking up someone else’s garbage and then finding out that everyone knew it was garbage except you. Network types are very image-driven, they avoid stuff like that at all costs.

The best chance for Dollhouse to live is for all of Fox’s pilots to turn out crappy and the Fox execs say screw it, Joss found some interesting stuff in those last few episodes and his fans always buy the DVDs, let’s give him six more and see what he does with them. It won’t be pretty, but a pick-up is a pick-up. That’s where your rooting effort should go.

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