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What Has Fox Got Against Its Own Sci-Fi Shows?

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the i-still-miss-you-firefly dept.

Television 753

brumgrunt writes "Dollhouse. The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Fringe. Three science fiction shows that Fox commissioned, put on the air, and — in the case of at least one of them — has won rave reviews. But why does it seem that Fox is trying to kill some of its own shows with crazy scheduling decisions? How can Fringe survive after being pulled for two months, and what hope is there for Sarah Connor and Dollhouse on a Friday night?"

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Duh, what's new? They're Fox (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27149951)

Fox is NOTORIOUS for not sticking with their series (and have been for at least 15 years now). I can name a dozens of great shows just off the top of my head that they've abandoned over the years (usually after moving them around, not promoting them, etc.). In the new millenium, they've gotten even worse. They will cancel series now before they even finish a full season, even if they have the season already "in the can" (Firefly and Wonderfalls are two prime examples). Basically, if you agree to do a show for Fox, you better go into it knowing that it's probably not going to last long (count yourself lucky if they don't pull the plug after just a few episodes have aired).

I once heard an explanation of why networks do this sort of thing. There is a lot of executive turnover at networks, and when a new programming exec comes in, the first thing he wants to do it to advance his own projects. You see, on his own pet projects, he gets to take full credit for them if they succeed. But if one of his predecessor's pet projects succeeds, he doesn't get to take any credit for it. That means that incoming execs have every motivation to kill off all their predecessor's projects (no matter how sucessful they may be) to make room for their own. So they will often take a show that is successful and start fucking around with it, just so they can justify cancelling it. You take your predecessor's big show, move it around to a shitty night, force a bunch of stupid "notes" down the show-runner's throat ("Hey, can you bring in a sassy robot? How about a cute, wise-cracking kid?"), and then don't promote it at all. Bingo! The show's ratings tank, and you get to go before the studio president and say "Gee, look's like my predecessor's show didn't have any legs. Now let me tell you about *MY* great new show..."

Judging by how much this happens at Fox, apparently they have a *LOT* of turnover.

Oh, and a special R.I.P. to my beloved "Strange Luck," [wikipedia.org] cancelled after just 17 episodes.

Re:Duh, what's new? They're Fox (5, Insightful)

Blinocac (169086) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150051)

Seems this would be a good opportunity for some bright young exec to step up and run with some succesful shows that are already in place, and get himself some recognition as the guy who didn't kill the good shows. But then, we don't have time for rational solutions.

Re:Duh, what's new? They're Fox (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27150159)

Do we have time to make a batch of Torgo's Executive Powder?

Re:Duh, what's new? They're Fox (4, Funny)

coren2000 (788204) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150443)

This is fox remember... there is nothing rational or thoughtful about it.

It is fair and balanced however.

Re:Duh, what's new? They're Fox (4, Funny)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150543)

The bright young execs are too busy managing to keep the "fair" away from the "balanced" over at the Fox News department, lest they meet and annihilate each other in a blissfully exothermic reaction.

And Futurama (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150075)

There is a lot of executive turnover at networks, and when a new programming exec comes in, the first thing he wants to do it to advance his own projects.

That does not suffice for an explanation. You see, they must notice that the longer you leave a show in a solid time slot the more your established viewership watches it. Case in point: Futurama. I liked the show but I never knew when it was on so I often missed it when it was on the air. They moved it around to death!

Even if they had put it on Saturday at 2pm I would have known when to watch it. Adult Swim is much the same--bad time slot but I know when it's on so I always watch it. Their shows get moved around way too much and as a result, it's harder for me to grow attached to any one show in a solid time slot.

And don't tell me Fox doesn't know this, their syndication of The Simpson all through high school at 5 & 5:30 on weekdays was very popular. No, I attribute this to just sheer stupidity--maybe even the logic that if they move it around they will collect more viewers who normally don't watch the regular time slots.

You would think thorough statistics would solve this problem ... but I'm not inclined to believe Fox has savvy executives in this respect. For all I know, they're moving around shows based on the number of complaints that are filed with the FCC from conservative Christian groups.

I heard the Futurama folks were looking at doing another TV slot but were just too jaded from their Fox experience to wanna start it again. I think they should get into their contract a solid time slot on a day to ensure success. I wouldn't blame them if they opted to go the straight to DVD route forever or try to work something out with Comedy Central.

Re:And Futurama (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27150319)

Success for the network does not mean success for the executive. While the network may thrive from an excellent show in an excellent time slot, the executive does not if he is not responsible for the show. The only reason Simpsons wasn't moved around is because whoever moved it would be committing career suicide.

Re:And Futurama (5, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150347)

"They moved it around to death!"

And they wonder why people P2P TV episodes.

If it's easier to look for a torrent, and download it than to just sit on a couch and watch your favorite show, then the TV people are doing something wrong.

Maybe Fox pays less to Futurama (and any other show) for the first X episodes, then they start having to pay more? If that's the case then that might explain why they'll keep trying to churn shows.

But on the flipside, most US TV series don't appear to really have "proper" endings, unlike many Japanese anime. So not sure how that works out.

Maybe if Fox wants churn, they should start encouraging TV shows that end, and end properly as part of the arc, rather than something thrown together.

Re:And Futurama (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150509)

Maybe if Fox wants churn, they should start encouraging TV shows that end, and end properly as part of the arc, rather than something thrown together.

It would be nice for shows to have story arcs that end in a satisfying way, but that conflicts with the desire to make as much money as possible. As long as a show is popular, it will stay on the air. If its original story arc was only for 1 or 2 seasons, that arc will be extended indefinitely, or a new arc will be started.

Even shows that were advertised as being a complete story arc ended up being stretched well beyond what they were originally intended for (see: Lost). Of course, that sort of thing usually ends up decreasing the quality of the show, which tends to mean that show will drop viewers. If it drops enough viewers, the show will be canceled before it can complete its (expanded) arc.

The only way a show can reasonably expect to complete its storyline in a satisfying way is if a.) its storyline is not bound by time, so it could be wrapped up within, say, half a season at any point, and b.) the show is so wildly popular that it can keep going until the producers themselves decide it's time to wind it down. Very few shows meet those criteria, and so most shows end up dying without finishing the story.

Re:And Futurama (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150569)

Actually, this is the problem with the logic of many shows that the arc doesn't stop. People love a show with a clear and ending arc. What it really opens up for is a chance to make a new show to build off where that arc ended. Even if it's completely closed/end of show you now know for certain what is a popular story that can be redesigned/recreated.

It's just as much lazy execs as always. Easy money vs hard work + more money, easy money is chosen every time.

Why do people still watch tv? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27150555)

What sense does it make to watch stuff on THEIR schedule? Seriously. Just netflix it (or whatever). There are many ways of having what you want when you want it.

I don't understand why anyone still buys into that antiquated model for entertainment delivery. Except maybe in the case of watching live sports...since when-it-actually-happens has some significance to the experience...but apart from that the whole scheduled viewing deal is silly.

Re:And Futurama (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150431)

Those 5 o'clock Simpsons episodes were programmed by your local station (which may have been a Fox station), not by Fox.

Re:And Futurama (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150451)

I wouldn't blame them if they opted to go the straight to DVD route forever or try to work something out with Comedy Central.

Straight to DVD looks good... but please, I beg of you, NOT Comedy Central. That station lost my love the second they didn't renew their syndication deal with SNL in favor of MadTV. I'll choose reruns from the 90s over the garbage that is passed over as comedy on MadTV, which is yet another show that is pushed by Fox.

Fox is showing what they think people want to view versus what we want.* When you see the stupidity that is put on MadTV, you realize that this is what they think that the American audience wants to see. Maybe they put the SciFi shows on Friday nights because they think that the target audience doesn't have a social life and would take a break from their MMORPG or D&D game to watch an hour of TV and give the previous time slot to something that the mainstream audience (See: American Idol viewers) want to watch.

*Frankly, this is what every station does. But I'm bashing Fox specifically here.

Re:Duh, what's new? They're Fox (1)

thedrx (1139811) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150115)

To name a few, Firefly was killed, Star Wars almost didn't happen, etc. etc.

And this doesn't even count the countless edits, the censorship...

Re:Duh, what's new? They're Fox (5, Funny)

PeterP (149736) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150325)

Reminds me of the first Family Guy episode after they got cancelled:

Peter: Everybody, I've got bad news. We've been cancelled.
Lois: Oh, no! Peter, how could they do that?
Peter: Well, unfortunately, Lois, there's just no more room on the schedule. We've just got to accept the fact that Fox has to make room for terrific shows like Dark Angel, Titus, Undeclared, Action, That 80's Show, Wonderfalls, Fastlane, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Skin, Girls Club, Cracking Up, The Pitts, Firefly, Get Real, FreakyLinks, Wanda at Large, Costello, The Lone Gunmen, A Minute With Stan Hooper, Normal, Ohio, Pasadena, Harsh Realm, Keen Eddie, The $treet, American Embassy, Cedric The Entertainer, The Tick, Luis and Greg the Bunny.
Lois: Is there no hope?
Peter: Well, I suppose if all those shows go down the tubes, we might have a shot.

Re: Firefly (5, Informative)

brufar (926802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150357)

I really enjoyed the firefly series after purchasing it on DVD, and watching the episodes in order. FOX seemed to do everything in their power to kill this show..

1. Friday night scheduling.
2. Airing the episodes out of order.. I mean HELLO ?? The order was 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 4, 5, 9, 10, 14, 1; with 11 â" 13 unaired

The wikipedia entry for Firefly contains more detailed criticism of Fox for their treatment of this series. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Firefly_episodes [wikipedia.org]

Fox is definitely the last place you want to try out a new series. It's hard to start watching a new series on their network, knowing their track record for killing off anything that might be halfway decent.. Why bother getting interested in a show that won't be around tomorrow ?

Dollhouse is no Firefly (3, Insightful)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150379)

I wouldn't blame them for pulling it. Episodes 1-2 were terrible. 3 was bearable, yet only because of a plot twist. Episode 4 actually went somewhere, finally had some of the clever banter between characters that made Firefly special. Finally starting to care about what happens to them.

I'd say it's entirely Joss's fault if Fox wants to cancel it. I have better things to do than watch garbage like eps 1-2. Had I not gotten bored and ended up watching Ep3, I would have left and never come back. We know what Joss is capable of, and this certainly isn't it.

Re:Dollhouse is no Firefly (4, Interesting)

flitty (981864) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150553)

Fox did the same Episode Shuffle with Dollhouse that was done with Firefly. I heard a critic say that the Bow Hunter episode was originally episode 6, and some of the plot had to be cut out because it involved stuff that hadn't occured yet being the second episode. Also, the very beginning of the series, the motorcycle sequence, was a complete addition by the executives at fox.

But yes, Dollhouse is no Firefly, due to Dr. Dusku's Horrible acting ability, and the fact that the only real "character" is the programmer guy. A blank slate is not a character.
/rant

Re:Duh, what's new? They're Fox (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150427)

Strange Luck! One of the worst decisions by Fox was to cancel that gem. I'll never forget Struck By Lightning (so long as they continue to play that Live song on the radio).

Re:Duh, what's new? They're Fox (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27150447)

Okay, just throwing this out there... Fringe is possibly one of the worst shows I've ever seen. Fox should take it off permanently and be ashamed for ever allowing it to air in the first place. It's so bad that it rivals the crappy shows that the Sci-Fi channel produces. I've never seen Dollhouse, but I watched the first few episodes of the Sarah Connor Chronicles and it seemed like an okay show. None of these shows really seem worth raising a stink over though.

Re:Duh, what's new? They're Fox (2, Interesting)

blincoln (592401) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150531)

Fox is NOTORIOUS for not sticking with their series (and have been for at least 15 years now).

Agreed.

The first thing I thought of when I saw TFA was Space: Above and Beyond, from back in the mid-90s. It certainly had some weak points, but I would definitely have been interested in seeing more of it.

I think Fox just doesn't have the stomach to gamble on high-cost programmes. Sci-fi has got to be one of the most expensive genres to film (properly), and it usually takes awhile for a new series or film franchise to build up a following.

I was honestly shocked when The Sarah Connor Chronicles got a second season out of Fox. I really liked the first season. I think if the second one is doing poorly, it has less to do with the timeslot and more with the glacial pace of the story arc. I'm still enjoying it (minus the mercifully brief UFO convention side-trip), but I also think it should have taken half as many episodes this season to get to where it is.

I don't know if that's the fault of Fox or the production team. Either way it seemed more crisp when it was under the gun of being a season one Fox sci-fi series. I just hope that if it does get axed, there is proper finale instead of a never-finished cliffhanger like too many other one- or two-season productions.

DVR (4, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#27149975)

With DVR's becoming more and more popular, the time that a show airs is less and less important. Perhaps the execs realize this and are trying to work it to their advantage. Sometimes you need to take some risks to move forward.

Re:DVR (1)

swfranklin (578324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150035)

>>With DVR's becoming more and more popular, the time that a show airs is less and less important. Agreed. My first reaction to the article was that I have no idea what day or time the shows that I like to watch are on the air. My DVR grabs them, when I have some idle time and want to watch TV I hit the "List" button and there they are.

Re:DVR (1)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150057)

I can't agree with this more. My TiVo regularly records shows like the Terminator series but I'm hardly ever around to watch it on Friday nights. If it wasn't for time shifting I'd never watch that show.

Re:DVR (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150377)

Yes, but most people still don't use DVRs and if they do, most people often only record shows they are already in to.

So it helps, probably a lot, but I doubt DVRs are at the point where they help enough to bring up ratings in usually poor time slots, especially shows like the Terminator series, where it's a serial, and you really want to watch every episode from the pilot.

I think that in itself might be killing a lot of shows. I didn't start watching LOST until I discovered that ABC lets you watch the ENTIRE series online (most shows on most networks only give you the latest few just in case you missed).

At least with something like 24 you can start watching at the beginning of pretty much any season; other shows you can't even do that.

One last point... if the networks realize that a bad time slot is getting good ratings because of DVRs, they also know that people are skipping the commercials...

Re:DVR (2, Insightful)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150063)

I timeshift everything, TV now works around my schedule.

As for sci-fi shows, Battlestar Galactica is on Friday night, has that stopped that show from becoming wildly popular being on a cable network? Bionic Woman was on NBC last year on a Wednesday, that got canned. I think it has less to do about the timeslot and more to do about the content. Viewers can be picky, and while Fox has made some atrocious decisions (I think Arrested Development, others think Firefly), they're generally smarter than we expect them to be.

Thinks about Arrested Development... okay, maybe not.

Re:DVR (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150147)

Can we not call it timeshift. Sounds way cooler than it really is.

I don't remember anyone saying "I'll use my VCR to timeshift all my viewing to a more convenient time".

Re:DVR (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150441)

Can we not call it timeshift. Sounds way cooler than it really is.

I don't remember anyone saying "I'll use my VCR to timeshift all my viewing to a more convenient time".

How do you feel about timewarp.

It's astounding, 12:00 is flashing
Madness takes its toll
But listen closely, not for very much longer
I've got to take control

Re:DVR (2, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150135)

And that's maybe another reason they do it. A lot of service provided DVR's won't record shows if they appear on other time slots than their usual runs. DVR's mean that people can time shift and skip the ads (at least I do). They want people to watch the shows WITH the ads so if they change the schedule the DVR won't record and you'll be forced to watch the show on reruns.

Re:DVR (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150193)

The problem is Fox does not even follow their own published schedule. A week or two ago I set to record a new Simpsons and instead got Nascar. The Fox plan seems to be: move it around to prevent anyone from seeing it and then don't show it at the scheduled time just in case someone is dedicated enough to try and hunt it down.

Re:DVR (1)

Deag (250823) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150309)

It is funny that with all the control American television has with sports (timeouts or delaying a game for tv commercials - which really kills the flow btw). They still haven't managed to make them actually fit the events into a certain time slot.

Compare this to soccer on European television, no control over the flow of the game, yet it always ends at the same time (for regular league games anyway).

Re:DVR (1)

computerman413 (1122419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150375)

They didn't plan on the NASCAR race taking so long (should've been done before 8PM). That's what happens when you're on after a sporting event. The same thing's happened in the past with shows on after NFL games (Futurama, King of the Hill), except those shows were outright preempted.

Re:DVR (1)

Neeperando (1270890) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150445)

In that case, the plan is "Sports are way more lucrative than cartoons, so screw the nerds, we'll just pre-empt for Nascar." Futurama was the same logic, and I guarantee you no one at Fox feels bad about showing football at the expense of a sci-fi cartoon.

Like any good nerd, I prefer Futurama to football (and especially Nascar), but that doesn't put money in the bank for the network.

Re:DVR (2, Insightful)

rudeboy1 (516023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150247)

I agree with this. If it weren't for my DVR, I would never have even known the new season of Sarah Connor had started. That has less to do with my viewing habits, and more to do with a crappy job of promoting the show.

Fox is generally on my shit list for this. I might have been the only person to arrange my schedule around so I could watch Drive (Nathon Fillion. Come ON!). They went on a break, and never came back. I gave serious thought to catching a plane so I could put a brick through the window of Fox corporate office. Sarah Connor Chronicles is one of the few shows on network TV that I watch. Dollhouse is on the list because it's Joss Whedon, and it's something the girlfriend and I can sit and watch together. Outside of that, though, it's all cable stuff, mostly Discovery channel stuff (Dirty Jobs FTW. Mike Rowe is my own personal Jesus (pronouncing that with a silent J makes it funnier given the subject matter)).

My point is, Fox has a hold on my household watching habits, and if it continues to take otherwise good shows and cancel them (or screw them over to the point where they get cancelled), then I'm sure I'm not the only person who will stop allowing themselves to be jerked around, and move exclusively over to cable, where the show schedulers tend not to be complete idiots.

Re:DVR (1)

quibbs0 (803278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150251)

I agree. I used to watch The Sarah Conner Chronicles on Monday (I think). Now that it's on Friday, I still watch it on Monday or Tuesday.

Re:DVR (1)

RevRagnarok (583910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150391)

No, this is FOX. Which means that any sport can move the schedule around on you. Now, I'm no sports fan, but I am familiar with the Heidi Bowl [wikipedia.org] . What gets me about FOX is that they'll gladly push a show around (mostly the Sunday evening animation blocks) for the post-game show. The game is over, and they'll overrun other programming to sit around and talk about what already happened they will provide some grand insight into what YOU JUST SAW. THAT pisses me off.

Re:DVR (1)

randomaxe (673239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150461)

Precisely. Until I read this article, I had no idea that T:TSCC and Dollhouse air on Friday night, despite the fact that I watch both shows regularly. My TiVo does the magic of recording the shows when they're on, and I just watch them when I see them in the Now Playing list. In all seriousness, they could air at 2:30 AM on Tuesday, and it wouldn't change a thing for me.

Re:DVR (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150481)

In which case, the optimum time is not necessarily "when the most people are actively watching TV", but now is "when you're least likely to trigger a DVR recording conflict but still get some live viewers". Guess what - FRIDAY!

As others have said, many of the most successful sci-fi TV series in history have spent most of their lives on Friday nights.

Also many of those series (SG1, Atlantis, BSG) had long midseason breaks. In their case it was probably due to UK syndication - A season (called a series over there, sometimes leading to "series finale" confusion) in the UK is typically 12-13 episodes instead of the 25-26 in the U.S. So many shows are designed to allow for a U.S. midseason break that coincides with the split between two UK seasons.

In the era of DVRs, midseason breaks are now the exception and not the norm. Fringe is not by any means unusual in its use of a midseason break. I'm pretty sure LOST has had some pretty hefty midseason breaks and unusual scheduling, despite that it's still successful. Networks are shuffling shows around such that the rerun season is getting shorter and shorter as shows trade places within a timeslot for a while.

Re:DVR (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150499)

With DVR's becoming more and more popular

I don't have DVR or even digital cable. I know many people as well who don't. Making assumptions that swapping time slots because everybody has DVR is just as good of an idea that we should stop broadcasting in 4:3 in favor of HD because everybody has a HDTV.

Re:DVR (1)

PMuse (320639) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150535)

DVRs are a nice stop-gap technology. They are a step along the way to full-scale subscription-based delivery.

Hulu, et al. are another step on the same road.

Nothing... (2, Informative)

routerl (976394) | more than 5 years ago | (#27149989)

Tivo recording numbers is why they would do this. I've recently read an article about this, and it is clearly a good decision. Shows like Sarah Connor Chronicles (bleh) have small but dedicated followings, and the Tivo recording numbers (also kept and recording by Nielsen) are considerably higher than live-showing numbers. Hence, schedule is irrelevant, since the people who watch these shows will continue watching them regardless of the schedule.

Re:Nothing... (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150389)

Tivo recording numbers is why they would do this. I've recently read an article about this, and it is clearly a good decision. Shows like Sarah Connor Chronicles (bleh) have small but dedicated followings, and the Tivo recording numbers (also kept and recording by Nielsen) are considerably higher than live-showing numbers. Hence, schedule is irrelevant, since the people who watch these shows will continue watching them regardless of the schedule.

Except Fox has been doing this in exactly the same way since long before Tivo existed. Also, Tivo recording numbers aren't nearly as high as live-viewing numbers for tv in general - that's only true for shows that get tossed around to different terrible time slots. The tivo users don't really mind, but the live-viewers largely lose it and stop watching, dooming the show.

This has all happened before, and it will happen again.

Friday night slot (2, Interesting)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#27149993)

I read an article several weeks ago saying that Dollhouse may be still alive because of lower expectations on Friday night. If it were to pull in the viewers it did on say a Tuesday night it would already be gone. Also I never recall watching new episodes on a day other than Friday and that was long before Tivo.

Re:Friday night slot (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150271)

I sort of wish Dollhouse was on HBO or some other pay cable network where they can do a lot more. The show seems washed down from where it wants to go.

The ratings people can tell if someone is recording via VHS/DVD recorder/home made DVR? Tivo I sort of understand. It most likely phones in to the networks to say what it is recording. I didn't think the other systems did. I got to check my home DVR to see what it is doing again.

Re:Friday night slot (2, Insightful)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150275)

It would already be gone, five episodes in?

That's not investing in a TV show. That's gambling, but with other people's jobs. Besides, how many great shows would have been snuffed with that attitude?

I am a bit ambivalent on Dollhouse. I'm looking forward to when the basic premise kicks in a bit more, with Echo's character recomposition thingamajigg. Until then, it's a monster-of-the-week type deal, which doesn't work well until people already care about the characters.

All I can say... (4, Funny)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150015)

...is thank god BSG is on Sci-Fi channel and not Fox. Otherwise we'd likely have had only one season of it.

Re:All I can say... (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150117)

...for two more weeks.

Re:All I can say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27150571)

Also thank the gods that the writers had a coherent vision for the shows run and stuck to it. It's ending the way the writers wanted it to. Not dying a slow death (with a quick unsatisfying finish) because the network tried to milk it for everything they could. Well, SciFi has tried to do that to a degree, but thankfully the only thing that resulted in was those silly "half seasons" of 10 episodes apiece.

Friday night? (1)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150027)

what hope is there for Sarah Connor and Dollhouse on a Friday night

Well I don't know about a dollhouse, but Summer Glau is welcome at my place any Friday night...

Re:Friday night? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27150123)

Dollhouse: Eliza Dushku. Also welcome.

Re:Friday night? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150207)

but Summer Glau is welcome at my place any Friday night...

Not a problem. All you have to do is meet her on a train [tvbythenumbers.com] .

WARNING!!! The flash (yuck!) clip has a commercial at the beginning of it AND the special effects you see were not in the show itself (though the head exploding thing should have been).

Re:Friday night? (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150459)

It's hot in here; must be summer.

Re:Friday night? (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150409)

Summer Glau and Eliza Dushku are welcome anytime.

I wonder if Eliza knows what network the show she is auditioning for is on. Remember Tru Calling? Another Fox show that she was in that also got the axe.

It is almost like the sci-fi shows get on the air then someone else at Fox say we are not a sci-fi network and kills the show.

There is a pattern with shows I like that are on fox, they all get canceled.

Friday isn't all that bad (3, Informative)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150045)

Friday isn't all that bad for Sci-Fi. The longest running sci-fi show in history, Stargate:SG1, spent most of it's life (if not all) on Friday nights. It's spinoff, Stargate Atlantis, also resided on Friday night as well.

Re:Friday isn't all that bad (2, Informative)

ericlj (81729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150101)

There's that Battlestar Something-or-other show that some people watch, too.

Sad to say, but if a show doesn't get ratings, it's because people aren't watching it.

Re:Friday isn't all that bad (3, Insightful)

Blinocac (169086) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150137)

Yeah, just a hunch, but the typical Sci-Fi audience member, is not doing a whole lot on a Friday night that doesn't include painting figurines or rolling dice.

Re:Friday isn't all that bad (1)

pohl (872) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150479)

That's probably their rationale, but it's probably based on an archaic stereotype, like scientists with white lab coats, a clipboard, and horn-rimmed glasses. Joss Whedon draws a much broader crowd than figurine-painters.

Re:Friday isn't all that bad (1)

ControversialMatt (1070718) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150153)

It's always possible they're trying to pull the Friday night viewers from SciFi.

And if wikipedia is to be believed, SG:1 is the second longest running SciFi TV series, second only to the juggernaut that is Dr. Who.

Re:Friday isn't all that bad (4, Informative)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150163)

And just to clarify, that should be longest running US-based Sci-Fi show in history. Dr. Who has the world record.

Re:Friday isn't all that bad (1)

CHK6 (583097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150263)

I look forward to sci-fi Fridays, mainly on the Sci-Fi channel though. A great way to put the brain in neutral after a week of coding. I still record them on my DVR, by off chance I have to work late, but other than Fridays, working late is the norm. Maybe Fridays can be the defacto sci-fi day for networks.

My take is Fox doesn't care to "farm" their shows and grow them. They want instant hits.

Sci-Fi channel knows how to farm and grow shows. With BSG ending (though a BSG spin off with the first Cylon war could be awesome), I wonder what Sci-Fi channel has in store. Hopefully not a continued run of terrible CGI based snake shoot them ups.

Star Trek TNG (1)

Xocet_00 (635069) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150273)

When I was younger I remember watching new episodes Star Trek The Next Generation at 10pm on Friday nights on CityTV. I don't think anyone can argue that TNG did poorly.

Unless that was just a CityTV thing, or it was an encore presentation for new episodes or something.

Re:Friday isn't all that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27150327)

FYI: Doctor Who has been running longer. :-)

Faux(Fox)=Rethuglican(Republican) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27150047)

Rethuglicans hate science and that's why boys and girls Faux eliminates sci-fi shows the most. If they had a more progressive(Democrat) base instead of a degressive(Rethuglican and their lapdogs, the Losertarians) they would be keeping the sci-fi shows.

How about a solid lead-in for some support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27150077)

Like Firefly.

Did anyone see that? (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150083)

I just want to know if anyone else saw it. There was an old style CRT TV set and there was a pink alien hovering below it! Maybe this explains why FOX is uninterested in sci-fi programs-aliens exist, and they've taken over Slashdot!

Nerds and DVRs (1)

PolyDwarf (156355) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150099)

If sci fi shows are for nerds... Most nerds have DVRs of some sort if they happen to be out on a Friday night (yeah right).

It doesn't seem like any night is a "bad" night.. Nor, really, a "good" night.

Duh, they're CRAP... (5, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150111)

I tried watching Fringe. It was a crappy low-rent X-files ripoff with little redeaming value.

I tried watching Dollhouse. It was a crappy creepy low-rent show about mind-wiped prostitutes...

Re:Duh, they're CRAP... (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150213)

Yes, the problem with Fringe is that it is awful. I haven't watched Dollhouse, but I haven't seen anybody raving about how awesome it is either.

Re:Duh, they're CRAP... (4, Insightful)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150241)

I lasted 5 minutes into Dollhouse. I recall there being a line like "Who cares, lets dance!" Allllright Wheddon that's where I check out.

Re:Duh, they're CRAP... (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150401)

Yeah, the first 10 minutes of the first episode of Dollhouse was bad. Really bad. But I gotta say, the second and subsequent episodes have set up a plot arch (if not stellar acting performances) that have kept me interested. Give it a chance. Really. You might hate it, but you might just come around.

Re:Duh, they're CRAP... (5, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150485)

Oh, c'mon. Fringe is fun, silly fluff. Walter (Peter's crazy dad) is one of the best characters to come along in a while. People need to lighten up. You read message boards about genre shows, and everyone is so *serious* about it all, and act like they have been personally insulted if something doesn't appeal to them.

creepy low-rent show about mind-wiped prostitutes

You say that like it's a bad thing. ;-) I haven't watched it yet, so I can't say.

Re:Duh, they're CRAP... (1)

coren2000 (788204) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150503)

Agree

But Sarah Connor chronicals is/was pretty good. I've missed most of season 2 for exactly the reason explained by the original poster (The show used to be 8 or 9pm on Mondays... I haven't seen it since it "moved" or "vanished" or whatever).

Re:Duh, they're CRAP... (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150523)

Obligatory PA reference: The Whedonite's Dilemma [penny-arcade.com] .

Both shows started of bad but got better (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150557)

I thought the first episode of Fringe sucked, and I dropped the show.

But then for some reason I watched a few more episodes later... and kept watching. It's really a better show than the first few would lead you to believe.

I don't think it's an X-Files rip-off, at least there are no aliens (and the producers say there aren't any either exactly because they do not wish to be yet another X-Files show). The basis for the show is unique and I think interesting from a story perspective.

Dollhouse started off terribly. But in the next few shows, I thought again the story unwinding got interesting. However fundamentally there, you're right that it's a hella creepy show about mind-wiped prostitutes, which is so morally repugnant that I really have a difficult time liking anyone on the show. But for some reason seeing how the character kind comes apart (or back together)? mentally has some interest that draws me back.

I guess what I'm saying here is that I hope Fringe comes back for a whole next season, but if dollhouse died it would probably be better for me. Sorry Josh, but I find it hard to care about what Fox does to your shows after you come back to them after Firefly. When they put out the hand of reunion you should have spit on it and produced it yourself. Honestly the Dollhouse story could have been done just as well Dr. Horrible style.

The fix... (3, Funny)

toleraen (831634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150119)

Just sprinkle a little Torgo's Executive Powder in Fox's water supply.

I watch even on friday (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150121)

Sarah Connor Chronicles is wonderful so far, but I fear it will turn into Heroes of Battlestar real quick here. Some of the Dialogue regarding John Henry has been wonderful.
"You taught him rules but you never taught him ethics"
"So what rules would you teach him?"
"I would start with the first Ten."
-------
Also John Henry playing with legos Bionical and wanting to ask god why he didn't use more ball joints
or if he is a child of god.
There are plenty more examples of Brilliant Dialogue between characters and the AI system.

meh, I watch Fringe on Hulu anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27150139)

In fact about the only TV I watch is on Hulu, so what do I care if they put something on Friday night.

And the capcha is "manure". Very fitting

Weren't that great anyway... (1)

JayAitch (1277640) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150183)

With the exception of Firefly. I tried to get into Dollhouse, but I kept falling asleep, so I cannot speak much to it.

Sarah Connor Chronicles could be good, but I feel like they're trying to do a poor version of a Lost type story arc. Sarah Connor's narratives at the beginning of every episode are cheesy. The look of the show is great though. That and Summer Glau keep me watching, but no love lost if they cancelled it.

Dollhouse? Meh (4, Interesting)

technomom (444378) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150191)

Firefly's handling was a travesty. Great show that was scheduled to death.

But Dollhouse sucks on its own. It's Fantasy Island with anorexic girls.

Occam's effin' Razor (2)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150209)

The executives at Fox are conservative morons, and they hate science, even things that pretend to be "sciency".

Re:Occam's effin' Razor (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150367)

Wow, that's some reception. I didn't realize you got Fox on your planet.

citation needed (1)

MagicM (85041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150239)

and in the case of at least one of them, has won rave reviews

{{citation needed}}

Sci-Fi Friday (1)

Metapsyborg (754855) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150253)

A lot of science fiction shows throughout the years played on fridays; didn't X-Files even air on Friday?

This stems from the fact that TV execs assume that science fiction fans are nerds with no life, and so Friday is the perfect time to play these shows.

I don't really care when the shows are on, I just download the torrent a couple days later. And, I'd never trust Fox not to cancel a good show; in fact, that goes for any tv (broadcast or cable) station. I've been burned too many times by their stupidity.

Thread Jack: Dollhouse (0, Offtopic)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150267)

I haven't been watching much TV now that I've started working on my Master's again (nor did I had time to upgrade my MythTV box before the DTV switchover). What do you guys think of Dollhouse so far?

Re:Thread Jack: Dollhouse (1)

the_denman (800425) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150417)

I don't think it will make it, but it is good for background noise. Then again, I don't watch it on tv, I watch it on Hulu when I want...

Sci Fi shows on Friday? (4, Insightful)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150283)

It almost seems like fox thinks that nerds are more likely not to have plans on Friday night than other groups. Either that or maybe they think nerds are more likely to have DVRs? What are they thinking?

The sad thing is (1)

adsl (595429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150335)

The sad thing is that Fox has financially backed and brought numerous very innovative shows to the TV screen over the last 15 years. The problem is not in the sourcing or early backing of shows, more it is that they (Fox) insist on too much control over the airing/scheduling. They unilaterally decide to air shows in the wrong order for the story line. This confuses viewers who then take more time to "get into" a show and then Fox kills the show because instant ratings were not achieved. Firefly was a classic example of this. They put promising shows like Fringe on hiatus for no good reasons so fans move on to view other shows, which are aired more consistently and then don't return immediately to the early hit show which loses viewership and then becomes a sudden candidate for cancelation. The weird thing is that THIS trend of poor management of shows is so clearly seen and understood by outsiders and NOT by Fox as they do not change their style.

X-Files (1)

Noexit (107629) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150355)

Wasn't X-Files on Friday night? Maybe Fox is rolling the dice that with the current economic situation people will be staying home more instead of going out and they'll be looking for something decent on the tube. (can we still call it 'the tube' or should we switch to 'the panel'?)

Re:X-Files (1)

coren2000 (788204) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150525)

No it was Sunday at 9pm (or was it 8?)

Love Hewitt's Boobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27150361)

I know a guy who was president of Fox TV in the 90's. I used to get the impression (listening to him) that the network was always working against itself (they had had something like 6 presidents in a row lose their jobs in brief stints). I recall talking about Jennifer Love Hewitt's failed series that was a spinoff from "Party of Five". When I asked him about show he said "They dressed her horrible. They should have put her in a tube top and forgot about it". Since then whenever I hear the expression "screw up a wet dream" I think of Fox Entertainment.

Dollhouse only has a shot BECAUSE it's Fri night (2, Insightful)

ActusReus (1162583) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150363)

All the TV magazine and blog articles I've read have agreed that that Dollhouse is on Friday night because that's a graveyard shift. NO show attracts blockbuster numbers on a Friday night, so the network wants something a little more high-end than reality programming (to lure better advertisers) that will attract a devoted core. In other words, they know that Joss Whedon's fanbase will watch anything... and is mostly sitting an home on Friday night anyway. If Dollhouse were on any other night of the week, it would have been pulled after the first two episodes.

While I'm at it, I'm as big a Joss Whedon mark as anyone but I'm going to go ahead and say it... Dollhouse simply SUCKS for me so far. With the possible exception of Echo's "handler", all the other characters simply do not interest me. They are one-dimensional stock characters (e.g. the arrogant nerd who tries to be funny, the gruff security guard who always wants to use the violent option, the obsessed FBI agent chasing chasing after Kaiser Soze, etc). Other than Eliza Dusku and her handler, the acting is pretty poor and the premise itself pretty retarded. Nothing has really "hooked" me yet.

Worst of all, the scripts are virtually devoid of wit and humor. WTF?!? That's the whole POINT of a Joss Whedon show... characters that pull you in and make you care about them, and intelligent dialog that catches you off-guard with laughs. Take that out of the equation, and you're just left with goofy sci-fi/fantasy ridiculousness and some mushy political/feminist messages.

Sorry... but if this goes, I won't miss it.

Or perhaps they just aren't good (1)

szquirrel (140575) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150369)

I love Joss Whedon and I still carry a huge torch for Firefly but I watched two episodes of Dollhouse and they just weren't very good. The characters are totally one-dimensional, the action is boring and the dialogue isn't funny. Compared to Firefly it's hard to believe they came from the same guy.

And I'm sorry, but you lost me at the word "Terminator". I have zero interest in seeing yet another retread of that franchise. Find another stone to squeeze blood from.

Sci-Fi? You mean like 24? (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150393)

And here I thought the OP was going to talk about sci-fi shows like CSI (any), or even to a lesser degree L&O, but then I realised that those aren't Fox shows. So I immediately assumed it was 24, which makes CSI:NY look like a reality show.

Who cares :D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27150405)

Who cares about at what time it's on tv? We all download it as a torrent anyway.

Can you remember the last time you stayed at home to watch some tv program?

Ah yes the old move to Friday night... (1)

t-maxx cowboy (449313) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150423)

Could it possibly be that FOX does want to kill the shows?

I cite StarTrek Enterprise as my example. I was a loyal follower while the show was on in the middle of the week, but when it went to Friday I had to resort to the old VCR trick to watch, and it was only shortly after moving it to the Friday nights that OMG they terminated the show.

Now did they take into consideration the save the show efforts of the StarTrek fans? Maybe, but ultimately the studio did not want the show on the air any longer regardless of what the fans thought.

Pointy headed intellectuals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27150529)

are not Fox's demographic.

If Hannity doesn't get it, Fox doesn't care.

What Fox Wants... (1)

jmoo (67040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150559)

Is another X-files. A big hit that they can milk for years, and in all likelihood drive into the ground. Fox usually doesn't want to wait too long for a hit, its sink or swim with them.

I still like my share of fox shows, but lets be realistic about their marketing, this is after all the people who brought us "Hole in the Wall"

It is the cost (5, Interesting)

fwarren (579763) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150575)

The same thing happened in 1979 with Battlestar Galactica. The network green lighted the show. Heavily promoted it and it was doing well. The demographics were great. Show with the most college graduates watching had the under 35 crowd going for it. So why did it have to die?

In a word, production costs. An hour of Galactica could cost 1 million dollars which would bring in 2 million dollars. Thus a 1 million dollar profit. On the other hand 30 minutes of Happy Days and 30 minutes of Mork and Mindy would cost the network a total of $250,000. But it would bring in 2.5 million.

So do the math. Decent sci-fi show 1 dollar out for every dollar in. Cheap but good rated comedy gives us 2.25 dollars out for every dollar in.

The network starts looking at that time slot and sees that it can put in 2 sitcoms, or a Law and Order, or a CSI and make twice as much money. At that point the show has to die.

In the case of classic Glactica they put the show in hiatus. Then brought it back without advertising, they changed what time it was on. They changed what night it was on. The fans were to loyal. They would hunt the show out and find it each time. The ratings were not dropping fast enough. They had to convert the show into "Galictica 1981" (shudder) to finally kill the thing.

As with most business decisions. Follow the money.

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