Yes, word came down late Friday that Fox renewed “Dollhouse” for a 13-episode second season. While the show’s ratings were junk, Joss Whedon had convinced the network that he could do the show with a smaller budget (he did this by showing them the unaired extra episode from this season which you’ll have to wait to see on DVD). More importantly, the show has fairly good DVR and online streaming numbers, which is no surprise, because the geeks love them some Joss. And Fox likely figured it will see some pretty good DVD sales for the show, at least, better than for a random new show that flops after two weeks (and I’m also sure it didn’t hurt any that Friday is a graveyard anyways as Fox took the “what the fuck” approach).
Personally, I’m more happy about the renewal as a fan of TV than I am as a fan of “Dollhouse.” The first half of the season stunk, as both Dustin and I talked about ad naseum. The second half was certainly a marked improvement, and Alan Tudyk’s run at the end was fantastic (if he doesn’t deserve an Emmy nod for his performance in the finale, I don’t know who does). But there are still some weak spots with the show, with Dushku being the primary one. I’ll watch the second season, don’t get me wrong, I just would not have cried had the show not been picked up (no word on the fate of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” yet, a show I truly for-reals want to get renewed).
But as a fan of TV in general, this is even greater news. It’s been, and will continue to be, a slow road as the networks and the industry accept the role of new technology. I think we all know how bogus the Neilson numbers, alone, are in terms of how popular a show is or how much money it can make a network (particularly since some shows make more money through DVD sales than they ever made through on-air ad revenue). So I love that Fox was willing to look at all the factors in making a decision, not just the live numbers (and make no mistake that this was not some “Jericho”-like nod to the fans, because Fox has long shown it doesn’t give a shit about fanbase — this is a business decision, pure and simple). Even if experiments like this have to begin with the Friday shitslot, that’s ok. It’s a start.
…We’ll talk a lot more about Fox after its upfronts on Monday.