From Whedonesque, a conversation with Joss Whedon about Dollhouse.
A couple of quotes:
The fact is, I’m very proud of the ep we shot and the series is making me crazy with the excitement. But 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, but not sure how to come out of the gate with the ep.
Well, the idea to do a new first episode wasn’t the network’s. It was mine. I understood their consternation, and saw the gap between my style and their expectations, and I suggested I shoot a new ep and make the one I’d shot the second. It isn’t going to be buried, like the pilot of Firefly. It’s simply coming after another, slightly cleaner ep. And because unlike Firefly, it isn’t a two hour epic which introduces everyone to each other, the onus isn’t on the new ep to explain a million things.
The fact is, Fox ordered the series before we shot a frame and then, after the strike, I had literally two months to write and prep the whole thing. Which means simply that the network has to figure out what they might want to tweak AFTER it was shot, unlike a pilot. 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.
In Joss We Trust.
From anyone else I would think this spin, but Joss is generally pretty upfront about his feelings, so…
The moral of this story, pilots are hard. Even for Joss!
(… although I can’t tell if they thought it was too explain-y, or that it wasn’t explain-y enough.)
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