Dear FOX: Don’t Worry, You Did Good

Dear FOX Networks,

When I discovered that you’d canceled the Joss Whedon show Dollhouse on Wednesday I did what I believe the kids call a Happy Snoopy Dance. Finally! I thought. It took you long enough. While my reaction was typical amongst many of my friends, I see that the Internets at large have not been so kind. Twitter and Facebook and LiveJournal and other disparate corners of the web are filled with angry viewers shaking their fists in your direction. “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!” I’ve seen more than once.

Well, FOX, I’m here to say: don’t listen to those people. You did the right thing in canceling Dollhouse. My only gripe is that you didn’t do it soon enough. However, I’m going to put that particular issue aside and focus on what’s good. Dollhouse will die the death it deserves and you can get back to doing whatever it is you do over there, FOX. Maybe we’ll get another reality show or something. Or maybe you’ll bring The Sarah Connor Chronicles back.

Before all the rest of you jump down my throat, I know FOX has a history of doing good TV shows wrong. Are you old enough to remember Alien Nation? That was my first disappointment at the hands of FOX, and there would be many more. But that’s not the case with Dollhouse.

Now, now FOX, don’t get twitchy. You know just as well as I do that you’ve made some bad decisions in the past. And, yes, Firefly was one of them. However, you’ve finally figured out that you can’t right that wrong by allowing Dollhouse to continue. It’s a different show, and Joss Whedon is no longer the Master. (He never was my master. Feminist my ass.)

The bottom line is that when you’ve got a show with a lead who can’t act and is consistently shown up by her supporting cast and occasional guest stars, you have a problem. When you’ve got a show with a sketchy premise that does not live up to the responsibility of that premise but simply shows us the worst kind of people and then attempts to make us sympathize with them, you’ve got a problem. When the audience has to wait until season 2, episode 5 to see some decent writing, acting, and direction, you’ve got a problem. When television journalists insist that an audience owes it to a creator of television to watch and wait and give a show time to go from crappy to not as crappy as all that, you’ve got a problem. Thank you, FOX, for acknowledging these problems and dealing with them in the way you know best: by sweeping them under the rug.

FOX, over the next few weeks, months, even years you will get a lot of crap and snide remarks and hate mail and maybe even some tomatoes thrown at your office. When that happens and you feel bad, come read this post and know that a few of us out here have your back and know you did the right thing. It may be small comfort, but perhaps it will keep you away from the bottle of sleeping pills. Stay strong, FOX.

Lots of love,

P.S. While you’re in the canceling mood, can you axe Family Guy, too? That show stopped being funny like 3 years ago.

K. Tempest Bradford is an African-American science fiction and fantasy author and editor.


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