For any avid science fiction aficionado, FOX television represents a bit of a dichotomy: on the one hand, they have brought to the table some truly memorable shows like Firefly, Dollhouse, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. On the other hand, they have established a track record for systematically canceling said shows just when the going gets good.
It's happening again. According to some pretty convincing rumors, Dollhouse and T:TSCC are already over. While both shows had what could be considered a shaky start, they have over time grown to almost Battlestar-esque levels of entertainment. Sadly however, no amount of clever storytelling and intriguing character arcs can make up for poor scheduling, declining ratings, and ongoing competition from lowest-common-denominator programming.
Which brings us to the big question: why would a talented producer like Joss Whedon want to work with FOX again after the whipping they delivered Firefly a few years ago? If Dollhouse was partially the brainchild of protagonist Eliza Dushku, who is locked into a two-year contract with FOX, should Whedon have waited for the opportunity to go with another studio?
FOX's involvement with Dollhouse, beyond seemingly signing its death sentence, also changed its essence. At his recent lifetime award acceptance ceremony at MIT, Whedon described his vision for Dollhouse before FOX's inevitable meddling: dolls of all ages, shapes, and sizes, and story lines painted from a much darker, grittier palette.
Alas, FOX only has room for the young and the beautiful, resulting in the audience being presented with a somewhat bland version of Whedon's vision. Strike two for FOX, whose scheduling snafus and and demands for rewrites resulted in Whedon's past masterpiece, Firefly, meeting its demise after only one season.