Zap2it has a thoroughly uninteresting story about how Fox came to schedule Fringe and Dollhouse this fall -- although I suppose what we're really talking about for the latter is winter since Dollhouse won't debut until freaking January -- but it's worth a look if not just to see what the two new dramas are going to be paired with, as it gives some insight into how Fox intends to pump from one of their hit properties directly into another.
Fringe is set to follow House on Tuesday nights, moving from Monday nights this season where it had moved from Tuesday nights last season. Yeah, I don't really see the point either, but that's Fox for you. I'm not looking forward to Fringe at all, even though I'll give it a chance and even stick with it if it struggles at first, because I have almost zero confidence in J. J. Abrams right now, even if he's a darling of network execs and Hollywood, the guy just hasn't proven himself in my eyes. Lost is nifty but it has been struggling mightily compared to where it was at a couple of years ago, Cloverfield looked pretty empty, Alias never appealed to me at all, and Fox is pushing this series pilot as having been written by the guys who wrote Transformers.
Really? The guys who wrote the "script" for a Michael Bay movie? This cannot possibly end well.
Now Dollhouse is on the other side of the planet, and call me biased all you want, Joss Whedon is a genius on the rise that has gotten better with everything he's ever done. Buffy was campy and ridiculous when it first started but believe me when I say that once that series reached its conclusion in the sixth and seventh seasons, Whedon and company were producing some of the finest drama on television. It really is remarkable to watch that transition.
Angel had a very similar progression where it started off confused and boring and generally a bit of a caricature of itself for a while, but once it hit its stride -- sadly in its final season was TNT brought the show to a premature end right when it was really at a dead run -- it once again was proving to be some of the most compelling drama you'll find anywhere.
And then there is Firefly, which was a Top 5 show (of all time) right from the pilot. That show was amazing on so many levels that I'm not sure anyone will achieve what Whedon, Minear and company did. Not if other people have ten seasons to do what they did in half of one. It's hard to even get into it, because I still consider its cancellation to be a crime against humanity.
Abrams may have had more network success and hence be better regarded by the various industry players, but when it comes to a fan following -- people who appreciate quality writing above almost all else -- there really is no comparing the two; Whedon is clearly the giant and I don't hesitate for a second when I say that between the two, Dollhouse will be the better show. It has been paired up with 24 and set to debut sometime in January, an unacceptably evil length of time to wait for one of the best writers in television to resume his rightful place on a network.
If you've only got time for one, you can't ever go wrong with a Joss Whedon/Tim Minear show.
Update You can watch every episode of the best show on television in recent memory for free on Hulu.com, at least for the time being. All 14 episodes of Firefly are available and if you've never seen it before, and you do nothing else for yourself for the next month+, watch the pilot of this show. You'll thank yourself for it and it should give you an idea of the kind of quality you're going to get from Dollhouse. If you give 'er a try and aren't hooked by 1x03 "Bushwhacked", then maybe Fringe is more your speed, but I don't think that'll be the case.
I've never met somebody who has seen Firefly and not fallen in love.