Ask (March 3, 2009)


Question: Have you heard about the new Chinese lesbian movie The Panda Candy? Do you know when we’ll be able to see it in the U.S.?

— Miko, Brooklyn, New York

Answer: The Panda Candy is making its world premiere on March 14 at San Francisco’s 27th Annual Asian American Film Festival, and we’ll be reviewing it on soon.

Here’s a quick synopsis of the movie, a “poignant, stylized reflection of love and dating among the curious, ever-changing younger generation of China:”

Young hipsters Chun (Chun Sue) and Taki (Taki Zhang) are taking different routes to love: Chun through a succession of dorky skateboarders and self-obsessed poets, Taki in a series of brief flings with punk lesbians. When they finally meet, will they discover what they’re looking for?

Hmmm, from this still shot of the two women in the film, I’m guessing the answer’s “yes.”

Chun and Taki in The Panda Candy

This is one of the few queer-themed theatrical releases from mainland China (it’s in Mandarin with English subtitles), and is directed by Peng Lei, formerly the lead singer of the famed Beijing new wave band New Pants.

It may appear in more festivals around the U.S. this summer; meanwhile, get a longer synopsis and ticket info for the San Francisco showing here.

Question: How are Dollhouse and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles doing in the ratings? I’m worried they’re going to be canceled.

— Francis, Sioux City, Iowa

Answer: You have good reason to worry — ratings have not been strong for Fox’s Friday-night female action block since its debut three weeks ago. In fact, they’ve been pretty dismal (especially for Sarah Connor).

But just-released DVR data resulted in a ratings increase for Dollhouse‘s premiere episode of 30%, and a 36% increase for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. That’s the first good ratings news for these shows since Dollhouse debuted.

Will this boost from DVR users be enough to convince Fox execs to renew either show for another season? says definitely not for Sarah Connor, and probably not for Dollhouse. But others disagree, particularly about Dollhouse.

That’s especially bad news for Sarah Connor fans, given that Executive Producer Josh Friedman told last week that the second season was not written as a series finale — in other words, if the show doesn’t get a third season, we don’t get a satisfactory conclusion to the series. Shirley Manson (who makes an excellent bad Terminator) told, “I know that there is a total shift at the end of season 2, which leads into season 3, and as a result I’d be asked to do very different things. But I don’t know where the plot goes.”

Interestingly, Friedman revealed that, according to Fox’s data, most of Sarah Connor‘s audience is men:

We don’t do very well with women. I’ve always found that to be boggling. We have very strong women on the show. I think our show is quite concerned with motherhood and female power, those types of things. We have very little romance on the show. And I don’t want to be so shallow as so think that’s why women don’t watch the show, although that’s what the female writers in the room tell me all the time… So the state of the union is flux.

I think Josh needs to qualify hist first statement with “straight women.” I know lots of queer women the show does very well with! Although I think everyone would like it more if there were fewer convoluted and distracting subplots (yeah, I’m looking at you, Riley!).

As for Dollhouse — it still has several more episodes to prove itself, and the writing seems to be getting better. Maybe the writers will even find something better for Amy Acker to do than make vaguely mysterious statements and look morose.

What do you think the Sarah Connor and/or Dollhouse writers/execs should do to attract more viewers? Discuss in the comments!

A new edition of Ask is published every Tuesday. Have a question for us? Email it to [email protected]. For more entertainment news, read previous editions of Ask, and check out’s weekly entertainment Q&A column, Ask The Flying Monkey.

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