It's official. After taking it off the air for sweeps, universally recognized as a sign Fox had no faith in the show, the network has decided the Joss Whedon basement-rated drama Dollhouse has had all the breaks it's going to get.
"Wait, where am I? The last thing I remember, I was slaying a vampire..."
© Isabella Vosmikova/FOX
The series is still in production--they're putting together the last few episodes now--which means that Fox, thoughtfully or accidentally, canceled the show in time for Whedon to be absolutely certain he was turning in a series finale for the 13th episode. On the other hand, the axing came before the debut of much-loved Whedon alum Summer Glau, who joins the show with episode 6.
The cancellation was confirmed by the writing staff via Twitter. "Yes. Canceled. Sad but true," tweeted Maurissa Tancharoen, a writer on Dollhouse as well as Whedon's sister-in-law. This is the second time the show has been through the cancellation wringer, and at least compared to last spring's protracted fussing and fretting before its surprise renewal, the end this time was relatively swift.
"I don't have a lot to say," Whedon wrote in a post on Whedonesque.com. "I'm extremely proud of the people I've worked with: my star [Eliza Dushku], my staff, my cast, my crew. I feel the show is getting better pretty much every week, and I think you'll agree in the coming months. I'm grateful that we got to put it on, and then come back and put it on again."
Despite hiding the show away for November sweeps, Fox has committed to air all 13 episodes starting up again December 4. Four episodes had already aired in September and October, so nine episodes remain to be broadcast. To burn them off as quickly as possible, Fox will be airing two episodes a night.
Despite a promising start Dollhouse has been very uneven this year, so Fox's decision, alongside the dire ratings, is not wholly mystifying, though it's so early in the season that we haven't seen where Whedon was trying to take us. There's a very good chance--especially given Whedon's own assessment that the show has been improving weekly--that we'll be watching the bottom half of this season muttering about how Fox cancels Joss's shows just when they're getting good.
There is a silver lining: Whedon is now free to devote his attentions to his next project, which rampant speculation suggests will be a sequel to the instant classic Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.