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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Networks Are Evil

Sometimes even smart people (like Joss Whedon) say things that make you go, "What?". Mr Whedon has been filming his new TV show called Dollhouse and managed to utter this in regards to Fox not liking the initial pilot:
Buffy didn’t make the fall sched, Angel got shut down when they saw the second ep outline… it’s birth pangs. The network truly gets the premise (this is a whole new crew, as you know), loves the cast, is excited about the show – but they’re also specific about how they want to bring people to the show and I not only respect that, I kinda have to slap my forehead that I didn’t tailor my tone and structure to the network’s needs, since that’s something I pride myself on . . . I tend to come at things sideways, and there were a few clarity issues for some viewers. There were also some slight issues with tone – I was in a dark, noir kind of place (where, as many of you know, I make my home), and didn’t bring the visceral pop the network had expected from the script. The network was cool about it.
Now, I respect Mr. Whedon because I happen to like his work (well, mostly I like Firefly and have a passing interest in Buffy), but there's something really wrong about a guy as famous and truly intelligent as Whedon telling us that he should be tailoring his interests to the network. And not just any network, mind you, but Fox, the station that has killed just about every good scifi show it has ever laid its hands on; it even tried to kill X-files several times, and we all know how stupid that would have been. Then you look at Firefly, which had a brilliant premise, amazing actors, amazing everything (possibly one of the greatest and shortest lived science fiction shows to ever grace the small screen). Fox cancelled that, and do any of us think that was a good idea? Maybe a few cranky nuts do, but most of us look at Firefly and wonder what the hell Fox was thinking in the first place.
What exactly is dumb about all this? Well, the fact that he thinks he needs to tailor himself to a network. Of course, you have to tailor yourself a little, but other networks wouldn't be so anal as Fox, so why deal with Fox at all? Do they own Whedon or something? Is he bound by contract to write them new shows? Why not peddle your interests to networks more willing to work with you? Fox sucks anyway. True, they have Family Guy and The Simpsons and loads of other popular shows, but ABC and NBC aren't all that bad anyway. Why are you dealing with these guys in the first place, Mr. Whedon?
You know what, we like Joss Whedon's strange, sideways view of things. Really, we do. We like his ideas and the ways he presents them. The numbers say it's so. Fox needs to get over the fact that they don't understand science fiction and realize that we viewers do. Stop fiddling with our science fiction! And Mr. Whedon, stop pandering to the network. Pander to the masses. We like you better.

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  1. Another Joss show that won't make it to the UK ... *sigh*

  2. Not for two billion years. Fox has it, which means they'll cancel it prematurely, let it fester while fans throw a fit, then either stab it while it's down, or bring it back long enough to get on DVD, in which case it'll be two years before it shows up in the UK. It's bull.

  3. Upon reading ... I picked up sarcasm from Whedon ... maybe it is because I love Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. I remember when "John Doe" and "Firefly" were on every Friday night until half way through the season they disappeared.

    Yes - his sideway views make any series he creates classic.

    Networks follow the mainstream but assist in making shows big ... if they would only give more Sci-Fi a chance rather than just the Sci-Fi channel but at least we have that :)

  4. The problem with Fox is that they seem to adamantly refuse to accept that scifi is now a part of the visual mainstream. Scifi films constantly make big bucks in the movies, and clearly scifi is huge on the small screen too (Star Trek, Alias, and tons of other shows). Yeah...