So news broke this afternoon that Fox has cancelled DOLLHOUSE, which surprised pretty much no one. I know people are quick to blame Fox (or any network) when this happens, but I think Fox gave the show a fair shake. Frankly, I'm surprised it got picked up for a second season. I say "surprised" not because the show was bad (it wasn't), but because it didn't do that great in the ratings in its first season. But Fox did the right thing, and gave it another shot. But at the end of the day, not enough people watched. The sad truth is that smart, complex, original shows are pretty much always going to only appeal to a small segment of the national audience. Most people want their TV entertainment to be easy to understand, fun ... stuff that doesn't challenge them.
It's hard to talk about this without sounding like I think the people who don't like DOLLHOUSE (or other complex, cult shows like THE WIRE or BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, etc.) are dumb. They're not, and I don't think that. They just want different things from their entertainment than I do. To me, something that's challenging and even unsettling is entertaining. To a lot of people, it feels like a homework assignment. They don't want to have to think too hard when watching TV. They just want to sit back and be entertained. And there's nothing wrong with that. We (I say "we" because chances are if you're reading this blog, you like at least some of the same stuff I do) just have to accept that we're always going to be in the minority, and we can't expect TV networks to keep shows on the air just because they're good. The networks exist to make money, after all.
In the meantime, I'll try to console myself with the fact that DOLLHOUSE will finish out its season and we'll get a deliberate ending. And I'll occupy myself by catching up on SONS OF ANARCHY, another complex, challenging show that I was slow to discover. But boy am I glad I did!