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Peter T Chattaway

Dollhouse

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Joss Whedon preps Fox series

Joss Whedon is heading back to TV-- along with his "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" ingenue, Eliza Dushku.

Dushku will star in the Whedon-penned series "Dollhouse," which has been given a seven-episode order by Fox. News came as an extra-big Halloween treat for Whedon fans, considered some of the most passionate in all of TV.

Produced by 20th Century Fox TV -- the studio also behind "Buffy," "Angel" and Whedon's late, lamented "Firefly" -- "Dollhouse" follows a top-secret world of people programmed with different personalities, abilities and memories depending on their mission.

After each assignment -- which can be physical, romantic or even illegal -- the characters have their memories wiped clean, and are sent back to a lab (dubbed the "Dollhouse"). Show centers on Dushku's character, Echo, as she slowly begins to develop some self-awareness, which impacts her missions. . . .

Variety, October 31

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Good grief. Oct. 30-31 a.m, whedonesque.com posted three (count 'em--3) interviews with JW, none of which mentioned this news. The closest he came to spilling the secret was a brief interview on E!Online in which, asked about the possibility that he would return to TV soon, he replied "Now that you've asked--OK!" but then waffled about whether he meant a new TV series or a new movie and said he'd "like to stop not knowing soon" what he would be doing next.

Today, E!Online posts lengthy interviews with Whedon and Eliza Dushku about Dollhouse...lengthy and inadequately proofed ("sweat work" for "wet work" "boat of confidence" for "vote of confidence"). Tim Minear (Firefly, Drive, Angel) will also be involved.

Eliza D's concept of the show and her character:

It sounds like you guys developed it together. Can you talk about how you came up with Echo, and the concept of the actual Dollhouse, and not just the show?

We did kind of come up with it together, and that's one of the cool things

Edited by BethR

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I'm especially excited about this show because Tahmoh Penikett (Helo on Battlestar Galactica) has joined the cast. Helo is one of my favorite characters on BSG, and I'm intrigued to see how Penikett does outside this role.

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Making me happy:

Dollhouse trailer

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It looks like the Dollhouse site's server has been slammed pretty hard. I don't know if it's the same one or not, but there is a trailer on YouTube:

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Whedon's 'Dollhouse' shut down

20th Century Fox TV shut down production on the midseason Fox show on Friday, and plans to resume shooting on Sept. 25.

Whedon had been busy directing two of the first three segs of "Dollhouse," which kept him out of the writers' room. As a result, the studio, network and Whedon agreed that the show's fourth script needed work. Whedon also requested the production reprieve to get ahead on the show's next few scripts.

Variety, September 10

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Joss Whedon blogs about reworking Dollhouse scripts and general progress report on the show. Apparently seven episodes are done, so things seem to be moving along...

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Fox announces midseason schedule: 'Dollhouse' and 'Terminator' on Fridays; 'Lie' after 'Idol'

Fox just announced its midseason schedule, and there are some real surprises.

-- Joss Whedon's highly anticipated "Dollhouse" is going to air on low-rated Fridays. The series was originally scheduled to air with "24" on Mondays. As noted in the previous post, there have been some concerns about how the series might perform. Instead, "House" will open the night, followed by "24."

-- The modestly rated "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" is also moving to Friday and will serve as lead-in to "Dollhouse." . . .

The "Dollhouse" shift to Friday is certain to provoke a despondent cry from Whedon fans, especially after having watched "Firefly" wither away on the same night. Fox could have given the series a premiere behind "Idol" before shifting it to Fridays -- something the network has done a few times to boost sampling of new shows. . . .

James Hibberd, The Live Feed, November 6

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The "Dollhouse" shift to Friday is certain to provoke a despondent cry from Whedon fans, especially after having watched "Firefly" wither away on the same night.

Yup. As of a minute or so ago, this story posted at whedonesque.com had racked up 229 mostly outraged and anguished comments.

Edited by BethR

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bettors at hubdub on the question "Will Fox destroy Josh Whedon's Dollhouse?" 59% say yes.

This market is asking if one of these three things will happen:

1) Show will premiere in a Friday night slot [check]

2) Premiere episode will not be actual recorded pilot

3) Show will be cancelled before first 7 episodes have been aired

Edit: just got email from hubdub saying they paid off on my bet.

Edited by Darrel Manson

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We need a new episode of Dr. Horrible. In which he teams up with Captain Amazing and burns down the FOX offices.

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Here it comes.

Whedon said he originally only wanted to write the pilot and then 'Godfather' the show. But after he pitched it to Fox, the network asked him for 7 episodes.

Dollhouse is set to have a 13-episode debut season. Whedon mentioned episode six as being a crucial mile-marker for the show’s initial story arc. And in discussing the show’s well-publicized tricky path from development to debut (including reshoots and recasts), the creator admitted he almost lost sight of what the show was supposed to be. But he says the ship has been righted now.

According to Whedon, this is far and away the darkest premise he’s ever attempted. Some of the elements of the show and situations Echo will find herself in – such as sleeping with certain men and not remembering anything – he expects to raise controversy.

Dollhouse is something that is so tricky that I expect some backlash, some disappointment. I'm scared witless by how some people will react to this, but I've found that when I'm scared I do my best work' Whedon said.

“My hope is that the audience comes across as unclean as the characters...everyone is compromised.”

Edited by Overstreet

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Brian Lowry @ Variety:

Joss Whedon's cult following is no secret, but he seems assured of attracting the faithful and little else with "Dollhouse" -- a series that exhibits a kitchen-sink mentality, throwing in a half-dozen assorted plot threads that intertwine to create confusion. The writer-producer-director is clearly gambling on viewers to grant him time to develop this sci-fi concept, but the premiere's unflattering resemblance to NBC's already-axed "My Own Worst Enemy" -- and its scheduling on Friday with the meritorious but low-rated "Terminator" -- doesn't bode well for enduring long enough to complete the show's mission, whatever that might be.

Trying to explain the first hour required a bit of cribbing off Fox's website, but here goes . . .

So is there a series here? Frankly, two hours in, it's still impossible to say -- which is why the low-risk timeslot is an expectations-lowering godsend. Even so, attempting to unravel this convoluted package suggests that by the time "Dollhouse" finds itself, there won't be anybody but hard-core Whedon worshippers left to play with.

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Yeah, yeah. But what did YOU think?

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It's on tape, probably a few weeks away from viewing. I hope I can get started before Fox does something to mess it up (beyond the Friday night slot).

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Thought it was a mess.

But then, i was watching it on my new TV with Antenna Attempt #5, and thus I lost about ten seconds every minute or two, and missed some key exchanges, so I really didnt' know what the heck was going on. That might have been the show's fault, and I think it was, in part.

It lacked the humor and the charm of most Whedon stuff. The script was so expository, and they're going to have to work really hard to make this premise even halfway plausible.

Still, cool to see Olivia Williams in a role unlike anything she's done before.

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Best Buy, Radio Shack... everywhere I go, they're pushing antenna that are supposed to work just fine for digital signals. And when I walk into Radio Shack, their wall of beautiful TVs are drawing their signals from one tiny antenna... the very same one I've been trying to use at home for a week. Their TV reception is perfect. Mine's terrible. Their store is only two blocks away.

Tonight we're trying a big, expensive RCA antenna. It seems to be an improvement, but we're still wrestling with it.

I'm becoming a crotchety old man, but if I ever get cable, it'll be because I was dragged kicking and screaming to it. I don't want to pay monthly for TV shows I hardly ever watch. And I don't want HBO or anything else because it's a massive distraction during the hours when I need to get work done. Just give me network channels and PBS, and I'll be fine, thank you very much.

But the digital-TV revolution seems designed to force people like me to surrender and start spending, spending, spending.

I'm sorely tempted to just give up on TV entirely and stick to rentals.

Anyway, tangent over.

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Best Buy, Radio Shack... everywhere I go, they're pushing antenna that are supposed to work just fine for digital signals. And when I walk into Radio Shack, their wall of beautiful TVs are drawing their signals from one tiny antenna... the very same one I've been trying to use at home for a week. Their TV reception is perfect. Mine's terrible. Their store is only two blocks away.

Tonight we're trying a big, expensive RCA antenna. It seems to be an improvement, but we're still wrestling with it.

I'm becoming a crotchety old man, but if I ever get cable, it'll be because I was dragged kicking and screaming to it. I don't want to pay monthly for TV shows I hardly ever watch. And I don't want HBO or anything else because it's a massive distraction during the hours when I need to get work done. Just give me network channels and PBS, and I'll be fine, thank you very much.

But the digital-TV revolution seems designed to force people like me to surrender and start spending, spending, spending.

I'm sorely tempted to just give up on TV entirely and stick to rentals.

Anyway, tangent over.

I've been living with OTA (over-the-air) tv only for the better part of the last 4 years, through 3 different houses in 3 different states. I say better part because I finally gave in and got Dish Network for football season, and they've got a cheap HD-only package so I'm gonna try hanging on to it for a while).

There's no one answer to signal issues, but I can give you a few pointers. 75% of the issue is where you live. That combines how far you are from the source(s), whether you're on a hill or in a valley, how many trees, tall buildings, or other obstructions are around, how thick your walls are if it's an indoor antenna, and a few other random things. But generally speaking, if you live fairly close to the tower, you should get pretty solid reception. Certainly better than what it sounds like you're getting.

Here's a good website for you to checkout: http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx

Click the "choose an antenna" button and it'll ask you to put in your address. When you do that, it'll tell you exactly how far you are from all of the different stations that you can pick up, as well as what direction they are from your house. Direction is important. If you're on the edge of a decent reception area (even if it's just because of trees, etc.) then literally the angle at which your antenna is pointing can be a factor.

With all that said, unless you're a good ways from the sources, you should be able to get yourself setup such that you rarely ever have problems. I'm 25 miles away from most of the local towers here according to that website, and my house is in a little gulley, and I still get perfect reception on 99% of my channels 99% of the time. So...

The most likely problem in my guess is that you need a better antenna. For some people a radio shack/best buy antenna will work fine. But honestly none of the ones you can buy at those places (Terk, etc.) are actually very "good." There are two options that I would highly suggest you try, depending on exactly how bad your problems are. The first is the Zenith Silver Sensor. Here's a discussion about it on another forum where they're all talking about how much better it is than the Terk stuff. I used it in 2 of the 3 places I lived and it worked great. It's relatively small and it's an indoor antenna. It's fairly directional, so once you figure out where you're going to put it, you might want to turn it slowly back and forth to find the strongest signal. I don't use it anymore because it's no good for me at 25 miles, but I gave it to my brother-in-law who was having lots of reception problems and it's working great for him. It looks like it's been discontinued and replaced with a Philips that may or may not be just as good, but you can probably pick one up on ebay for $25 or so if you want to go that route.

The one I use now, and that's really amazing for its size, is the DB2. It's a little less pretty, but it's generally regarded as the best antenna for the size that you can buy. I can vouch for how well it works. If you've got somewhere you can put it that it won't be distracting to you, I highly recommend it. It will outperform whatever you've gotten from the big box stores guaranteed.

I know what a pain it is getting things setup for solid HD OTA reception, but trust me, you'll be glad you're saving the $40+ a month in cable fees when you do.

So out of curiosity, according to that website how far are you located from your local stations?

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