Low ratings put “Dollhouse” in danger of going to the attic forever


Oh no, is Fox ready to pack up the Dollhouse and banish it to the attic forever? The show is just two episodes into its second season, but already talk has begun of possible early cancellation due to disappointingly low ratings.

The series from creator Joss Whedon and star Eliza Dushku debuted to only 2.6 million viewers. Last week it had its weakest showing to date, dropping by 20 percent and attracting only 2.1 million viewer. It even got beaten by SyFy series Stargate Universe by about a quarter of a million households. When a cable show beats a network show, that’s bad — very, very bad.

On Monday, Dollhouse news site Dollverse.com sent up a distress flare saying the series was in real danger of being yanked soon, meaning fans could be left hanging without a resolution to the complex multiple lives of Echo and company.

The warning sound like more than just fan hand-wringing. The Los Angeles Times reported that both Dollhouse and freshman Fox comedy Brothers (which the complicated drama is inexplicably paired with on Friday night) “are struggling and likely will be gone in weeks.” The Hollywood Reporter’s James Hibbard and TV Guide’s Matt Roush have also noted the show’s dismal ratings and possible early demise.

The complex series has been ambitious for sure tackling such heady issues as high-tech human trafficking, brainwashing, genetic manipulation and the very nature of the soul. So you can see why it might be a leap for some people to get on board. Two and a Half Men this ain’t. It’s also been a slow starter, not fully finding its stride until late last season.

So, where does that leave fans? In a fighting mood, of course. In this age of internet activism, series faithful have already started up a “save this show” campaign online at ActivateDollhouse.com. Fans are being encouraged to stream the show at Hulu.com, buy episodes on iTunes, buy the Season 1 DVD and add banners and icons to their websites.

The site has already rallied people on Twitter, urging fans to add Dollhouse twibbons to their avatars and use the hashtag #dollhouse. Series stars Dichen Lachman and Miracle Laurie have already taken to their Twitter feeds to help save the show, as has writer Maurissa Tancharoen. For her part, Eliza has taken to the late night talks show circuit. She was on David Letterman Tuesday night and will be on Jimmy Fallon Wednesday.

But the real question remains: Will it help? Well, it’s hard to say. The fact that the struggling series got a second season in the first place is a minor miracle. So it needs to prove itself early. But, still, a big push a la the Save Chuck/Subways campaign couldn’t hurt. Though finding a comparable sponsor might be tricky for Dollhouse. I mean, I guess they could team up with whoever dresses all the actives in all those form-fitting yoga togs.

So, do you think Dollhouse should be saved? And how can fans best help save the show? Discuss.

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