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November 06, 2008

Fox's new 'Dollhouse' trailer

Good trailer (below). Doesn't seem like a show that everybody is worried about, does it? Some of the industry's doubts about "Dollhouse" are due to the behind-the-scenes creative stops and starts. But another part of the skepticism has been there from the very start, because Joss Whedon has never had a major network hit.

I know. "Joss Whedon has never had a major network hit" rings of sacrilege and risks drawing outrage from the vigilant readers of Whedonesque.com. But it's true. The WB/UPN's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was a creative and pop cultural triumph that created a new TV genre and helped launch a network ... but it averaged about 5 million viewers (plus more on DVD, I know). WB's "Angel" averaged a little over 4 million. The two shows, and the recent online "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," all were big hits -- in the context of their environment's expectations.

Then there's Fox's "Firefly." It averaged about 4.5 million viewers, same as Whedon's other shows, except on a network that required more. Which is the reason some are skeptical about "Dollhouse" on Fox, because they see Whedon's literate, witty, genre-driven style as inherently attracting a smaller audience than what a major broadcaster requires.

The upside: The broadcast universe has sure changed since "Firefly." After "Lost" and "Heroes," what were once niche genre loglines are now mainstream. And with shrinking broadcast viewership, a rating that would once have been considered a failure is now a hit. So perhaps the circles of geek-niche and broadcast mainstream now overlap enough for Whedon's "Dollhouse" to work. Here's the trailer:


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