Today Joss Whedon broke the news that he would be shooting a new pilot for Fox series Dollhouse, the near-future tale of a group of "dolls" who can be imprinted with any personality their employers choose: ninja, lover, spy, and tons of other things. Apparently Fox found the pilot too confusing and dark, and Whedon says he responded by offering to shoot a new pilot. He will turn the old pilot into the first episode. For those of you who remember that the exact same thing happened with the pilot of Whedon's last TV show, the legendary space western Firefly, take heart. Whedon says it's not the same thing.
Writing on Whedonesque, he said:
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.
He also said that this new pilot wouldn't wreck the continuity of Dollhouse, the way the reshot pilot of Firefly did:
The truth is, I'm in love with this world, and I don't care how people get into it. I have a million things to say about (and through) all of these characters, and I don't mind which ones I say first. I think I just turned in a pretty cool pilot script.
I agree with Whedon: This doesn't seem to be a big deal, and is pretty much par for the course, even with shows that wind up having many successful seasons like Buffy. And honestly, Dollhouse needs a pilot that does pop and give audiences the right amount of backstory. There's plenty of time to get noir and gloomy later. When you want to draw in an audience that's larger than the Whedon Fan Club (yes, I am also a member), you have to make sure that everybody understands the concept before jumping on a bullet train with it.
The only thing I'm ornery about? No clips at Comic-Con. Whedon could make it up to us by singing Dr. Horrible's Freeze Ray song, right?Image via TV Barn.