TV Spoilers & Speculation Corner: 4/19/11

This entry is part 16 of 26 in the series Spoilers 2011: Part 1

This week, we have spoilers for Supernatural:

We’re still looking for a few good TV reviewers. If you want to review something for us, check out our announcement from last week and drop us a line. Also, Silvia has started reviewing Game of Thrones. And our Supernatural-meets-Lovecraft contest continues.

Supernatural (Friday nights, 9pm, CW)
By Paula R. Stiles

This was a pretty spoilery week, though it was mixed up with a lot of repetition of old spoilers and some vague stuff that could be speculation or even foilers. Beware the Foilerwock, my son. ‘Tis the season.

The CW seems determined to promote the Western ep (“Frontierland”) this week, including a clip of Sheriff Dean in a shootout with someone, an episode-specific promo at the end of last week’s episode, some preview reviews and an interview with showrunner Bob Singer (though Singer mostly talks about 6.17 and 6.19. Remember that Lenore is supposed to come back in 6.19). That’s the good news. The bad news is that either the CW is determined to present this episode as yet more crackfic, or it really is crackfic.

On the one hand, it’s comforting that Jensen Ackles, by every account including his own, had tons of fun doing this episode, because what Ackles likes on the show, I usually end up enjoying. And I’m not talking about just when Dean is onscreen. On the other hand, an early review informs us that the brothers will split up and Dean will do “fun” stuff like demon-ganking while Sam goes and meets Samuel Colt and has the big uberplot scene with him. For one thing, this show has not been doing uberplot with Sam well for quite some time (Yet, they don’t seem to know what else to do with him). For another, how is this balance? And for a third, Dabb and Loflin don’t seem to grok Sam very well. Fortunately, there are supposed to be three major parts to the story, not two, with Bobby helping Castiel back in the present (No, don’t try to think about why the brothers wouldn’t come back at the same time they left. These writers probably didn’t even think of that). So, maybe it will all balance out in the end. I just hope they keep the Back to the Future 3 refs to a minimum. I loved that trilogy, but 80s sci-fi and post-millennial Supernatural never mix well in tone.

On a happier note, EW assures us in yet another nonspoiler that EvilSam won’t be back, at least this season. On a less happy note, that could be a foiler and he could always come back next season (because these writers don’t seem to know what else to do with Sam). And on a really unhappy note, Singer, in another interview with TVLine, tells us the writers are seriously considering doing a musical episode next season. No. Please, show, for the love of God and your own ratings, DON’T DO IT. The only time it ever worked for me was on Xena (one seriously messed up episode that was, too) and that goofy Strictly Ballroom spoof on Hercules. I didn’t like it on Buffy and I can’t see how it could possibly be anything but a disaster for Supernatural.

Oh, also according to Singer, apparently, Eve’s storyline will be wrapped up this season (I have a sneaking suspicion they’ll do it early, which relieves and underwhelms me at the same time. Man, that plot sure hasn’t gone anywhere, huh?) and there is another reference to noir. Hmm, I’d nearly forgotten about that theme because it’s been a long time since we got any, show. Sin City this season ain’t. Maybe you need to hire James Ellroy to do a script, show. He could bring in that godawful animated police dog from City of Demons (just got a mindbendingly hilarious image from that) and Dean could gank the beast after mistaking it for a hellhound.

In yet another interview, Singer hints that the Alpha Vampire is still alive and might be back (though it doesn’t sound as though he’ll be back before season seven). He also says that the last three episodes will have a lot of “cool stuff”. Ask Kristin this week sort of bolsters this with a nonspoilery spoiler claiming that there will be at least two “twists” in 6.19, one when the brothers find Eve and one at the very end. I really do wonder if they will kill her off in 6.19. There don’t seem to be any spoilers about her after that.

Sera Gamble did a fresh video interview that went up on TV Overmind, but it’s since been taken down. In it, she talked about the decision to make “My Heart Will Go On” a light episode to relieve the impact of Rufus’ death. She also discussed some of the humour in the episode (the whole “I.P. Freeley” thing). I’m guessing the interview may have been removed due to some negative fan backlash involving disgruntlement over Rufus dying in the first place and the direction season six has taken. Gamble was especially pasted on ONTD. In the interview, Gamble seemed nervous and giggly. I got the impression she’s feeling the hostility toward the season.

On the one hand, I feel very sorry for her because I don’t think all of it is her fault and I think she’s been used as a bit of a scapegoat for the way season five ended (which, let’s face it, is probably the real reason why so many fans aren’t thrilled by this season). On the other hand, I can’t help thinking that this show’s writers could do themselves a big favour by gaining some basic interviewing skills. Seriously, people. It’s not that hard to learn. They tend to come off poorly (Except for Edlund, who usually does well), appearing to be cocky and flippant when they are more likely nervous. And yet, the bad impression remains, like an aftertaste you can’t lose. I want to root for them and it makes me sad, because I used to be really impressed by the writing of Supernatural (yes, really). It was a major thing that drew me in, the risks this show took and the directions it was willing to go, especially with Dean. But ever since season five, the writers have seemed tired, lazy, indifferent, stoned, or all four. I sure hope they can get their mojo back. It’s not impossible, but they need to do it before they lose the audience for real and the ratings tank.

There’s a new group interview (done at Paley) out. Not a lot of new spoilers, aside from Collins speculating that Castiel won’t be able to handle power and Jim Beaver vaguely saying, “Bobby has a lot of work to do for the rest of the season.” But it’s still fun.

We also got an official synopsis for 6.20, and official photos for 6.19 and 6.20. How shall we put this? Expect tears over Mary in 6.19 and between Dean and Castiel in 6.20? Yeah, like that:

“EXECUTIVE PRODUCER BEN EDLUND WROTE AND DIRECTED THE EPISODE – Castiel (Misha Collins) tells Sam (Jared Padalecki), Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Bobby (Jim Beaver) about the war in Heaven and how he and Raphael became enemies. Bobby believes Castiel is hiding something, but Dean refuses to believe it. Ben Edlund wrote and directed the episode (#620).”

There’s also an extended interview with Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins, as well as a spread in this past week’s TV Guide. Not really spoilery (They mostly talk about fan encounters – weird fan encounters), though I do like Collins’ take on season six: “Supernatural is Dukes of Hazzard-meets-The Twilight Zone“. Ackles also talks in a separate interview about the influence fans have on the show. And in yet another group interview, Supernatural came in fourth behind Kim Kardashian (?!) in an MTV TV poll, which kind of tells you something about MTV’s priorities (and what the hell is that announcer at the beginning wearing? It’s not flattering at all), but there you go. Padalecki’s “Misha head” comment is funny, though.

Ratings came back surprisingly well for the show’s return off hellatus with “My Heart Will Go On” in audience, though a tiny bit worrisome in demos (albeit not so much in comparison to other CW shows). Final audience numbers were 2.257, with 1.4 in households and 0.9s for A18-49, A18-34, and W18-34. While advertisers only care about demos these days, I can’t see the network being too concerned about the demo dipping below a 1.0 when Supernatural is one of its few shows staying above two million and a 0.8. Also, while demos can fluctuate a bit, you can only drop so much audience before your demos tank, too, as shows like Gossip Girl, 90210 and Hellcats are discovering. Supernatural is also doing better than Nikita, even in W18-34, and is also doing better than America’s Next Top Model and One Tree Hill in audience (though not in the W18-34 demo). So, it’s good to see the audience numbers staying up this late in the season (TV ratings traditionally drop in spring). A season seven looks nearly certain, though nobody will be sure, of course, until the network makes it official.

We’ll be back next week with more spoilers. Stay tuned and check out our reviews of V and Supernatural.

About Paula R. Stiles

Paula is not at all paranoid about government conspiracies after six years in EMS, two years in Africa for the Peace Corps, a few summers with the Park Service, and ten years studying the Knights Templar. She's seen governments in action. They couldn't cover up a toy picnic table, let alone evidence of alien visitation. Writes about science for fun, history for money, and zombies for the company. You can read her sober-as-a-judge book about Templars in medieval Spain, Templar Convivencia, on Amazon. You can find her homepage at: http://thesnowleopard.net.

Paula R. StilesTV Spoilers & Speculation Corner: 4/19/11

10 Comments on “TV Spoilers & Speculation Corner: 4/19/11”

  1. Ginger

    I don’t think this episode will be crackfic, at least from the spoilers I have read. It appears that the main purpose is to push Cas further into the series as a regular with Sam;s support role once again dealing with the mytharc and Dean’s out of the main story. But, heck, if Dean is playing cowboy, actually ganking demons for one, and I get to see the pretty, I’ll take that.

    I’m with you, though. If Jensen likes the episode, then I usually do, regardless of his role in it.

    I don’t feel the writers have a problem with writing or handling uberplot Sam (and I like Jared and Sam…well, when Jared is playing real Sam, that is). The problem with Sam this season is that Dean has been missing. Jensen is the show’s strongest asset and by pushing him out of the action with that terrific Lisa story (gag), they have hurt both characters and the show.

    And, personlly, I want Sera to just not give interviews. She fries me every time she opens her mouth because of what she has done to this show. Just let somebody else push the mess this season, and maybe next season will be better.

  2. Cassiea

    “But, heck, if Dean is playing cowboy, actually ganking demons for one, and I get to see the pretty, I’ll take that.”

    That I think is what most Dean/Jensen fans feel. They have no choice but to see Dean dumped on and so just get used to it. Kripke will not highlight the better character or actor, and his ratings suffer for it. Can’t imagine what they would have been if he had promoted Dean/Jensen the way fans wanted. So sad!

    “The problem with Sam this season is that Dean has been missing. Jensen is the show’s strongest asset and by pushing him out of the action with that terrific Lisa story (gag), they have hurt both characters and the show.”

    So true. They certainly did JP no favors. Without the strong Dean character the show is just stale. As far as being without Dean, he had been gone since the last first half of season 5. And we have been without the ‘real’ brothers since season 3. Season 6 was a clean slate, a starting over, correcting the problems and dumping the myth arc. Fans need something to get rid of the horrible taste that SS left in their mouths. So what do they get…another Sam-centric year and with the worst plot they could think of…Souless Sam and whimpy Dean. Series has definitely lost a lot.

    As for Gamble, I really think Kripke put her out there to field the brunt of the fan anger over SS. I can understand her being nervous. Nothing like being the ‘one in charge’, and really not being the ‘one in charge’. Basically he has been just hiding behind her. I expect his finale will be just as upsetting to fans as SS was.

    As for the western, it will be fun to see the boys in western garb, even though they dressed Dean in silly spaghetti western clothes. Eventually he gets to look great, even though he does nothing important again. I love all the previews that claim the boy’s parts are ‘balanced’. What show are they watching!

    Once again Sam is all important and Dean just an after-thought. Sad thing is I can’t see them changing that in season 7 either.

  3. Paula R. Stiles

    Hi, Ginger and Cassiea. Glad you enjoyed the spoilers.

    I don’t agree that the writers write Sam well, especially now. I think they like the character and want to write well for him, but those things are not the same as actually writing well for him (Ex. Ruby). I don’t hate Sam and I always like good writing, so my reaction to both should not be boredom and irritation, regardless of what they do to Dean. Yet, boredom and irritation are what I feel every time Sam gets alone time with the story this season. And, really, the writers never wrote Sam particularly well, seesawing uneasily between making him the Uberplot Bunny and having him carry Dean’s spear on MOTW weeks.

    As for Dean, obviously, he must be written well to some extent for Ackles to have found some foothold on which to establish a good character (Otherwise, we would have gotten Jason from Smallville. A good actor can only do so much). But the writers just can’t seem to continue to write him in the uberplot for more than an episode or so without freaking out and dropping all the longer plot implications, which is sad because an episode with Dean molesting the uberplot perks me up every time. They need to work this out. Desperately. And they need to stop writing crackfic.

    I actually think the writers need to interview more not less. The long silences between interviews don’t help them or their image. But they also need to get some training in it and stop acting as if promoting the show is akin to plunging the toilet during a hurricane. I think Ackles, Padalecki and Collins all started out awkward and uneasy, too, but with practice, and because they do several interviews per month, they’ve established an image that is positive and helps the show. The writers need to do the same thing. It would really help them woo the audience through the rough patches in the writing.

    I do hope the western will turn out well. What preview reviewers think is great and important on an episode rarely turns out to be what I get out of it.

  4. Taurus

    Thanks Paula for the spoilers.

    Just my two cents:
    ‘A good actor can only do so much’
    Agreed. I honestly believe, however, that the writing for Sam has been o.k. Much better than for Dean. But I agree with you Paula, every time Sam has to do something important for the uberplot, it seems…I’ve been looking for the right word and still haven’t found it…so let’s just say ‘lacking’…not satisfying enough. And I really think it’s, to a large extent, because of the actor. And to make myself clear: I’m not ‘hatin on Jared’. I think Jared is a really decent actor, devoted and hard-working. But “I’m hatin’ on what the Show has become. Jared just doesn’t have an on-screen charisma necessary to be the Show’s hero. And I think Jensen has it. In abundance. And I honestly believe that’s the part of the problem. Sam has been intended as the hero. But it was Dean that has become the central character, THE HERO for most fans. And the switch happened because of Ackles. And than the writing followed. But only for an episode, two, a season (4)…and than the writers back-pedalled. They have been too…? again looking for the right word…scared? short-sighted? stubborn? to change the STORY itself, to change THE HERO. They should have. Big part of the problem with SS,with season 6, with the Winchester story in general, I think, could be attributed to Kripke insisting on being faithful to his original story. He failed to notice that, in the meantime, the story had changed. The heroes had switched.
    Of course, I’m not saying it’s all Jared fault. Just the opposite. I think on more than one occasion his charm saved the writers’ a*… But the question remains…why do you think Kripke and co. (because Paley showed very clearly that Sera is not really in charge…) insist on promoting Sam? No, seriously. They must feel the dissatisfaction of fans (sometimes bordering on hostility…) Is it because they are so attached to their original concepts of the characters? To prove some point? To help Jared because Jensen seems to get more recognition? Is it because – like in Frontierland, Dean could do the scene with Samuel AND the funny/heroic parts whereas Sam…well Sam drinking, having fun with ladies and fangirling about Old West wouldn’t be that funny? So they have to choose? But how is it balance? (I believe I’ve just repeated your words Paula). And how is it good story telling?

  5. Kay

    Thanks again for rounding up the spoilers. I was angry enough after the Sera Gamble interview that I wasn’t planning to watch 6.17 live. Then came the Bob Singer interviews and I got a completely different picture of what 6.17 – 6.22 were going to be, more in line with what Jensen had said at SF con about the last 5/6 episodes changing direction and looking more solid. I ended up watching 6.17 live and enjoyed it quite a bit. Judging by that interview, I am much less inclined to make excuses for Sera or believe Kripke has used her as a front. Her dislike of certain characters and storylines comes across because she simply never talks about them, even if fans of those characters or stories are dying to get some idea. Her interviews are always directed to a specialized corner of the fandom. It’s no wonder that by now other fans have no fondness for her. I believe her ideas were at the forefront this season and it’s only recently that Singer and Kripke have stepped in to save this mess and retain some viewers for Season 7 – this seemed to me the case at Paley. There was a sharp contrast in the way Gamble and Kripke talked between the San Diego con and the Paley festival.

    Just as the Campbells were boring and meaningless, the Mother storyline also seems to be the same – it has the appearance of a gigantic season-long filler. At this point in time it’s starting to look like the angelic civil war was indeed the main plot – which begs the question why Sera couldn’t pace that out better. Also, with Dean’s angel connection from Season 4 and 5, it would have been so easy to involve Dean in that storyline and give him something more to do than be Sam’s mother hen all season. I’ll be glad if “Mother” is dispatched as unceremoniously as Samuel was, and I would hardly call her the uberplot.

    I am hoping that the last batch of episodes will be far better than the drivel we got for most of the season except for a couple of episodes at the beginning, especially the extended period of Sam’s soullessness, and then his Wall, and his forgotten year, etc. All of which didn’t do Sam any good. If they make Sam dark in Season 7 (since Jared likes to play dark), I just hope that Dean, Castiel, Bobby are off doing other things too, and their world is not revolving around Sam.

    As for “Frontierland”, I am excited about it. Jensen enjoyed it, the reviews from staunch Deanfans have been good, I like the fact that Dean and Sam work somewhat separately in the old West – gives the actors a chance to work with others – Bobby and Castiel have a plot of their own and there are some good guest stars. I feel that parts of it could be more cracky than 6.17.

  6. shamangrrl

    I’m actively avoiding interviews because they tend to piss me off – and that includes Singer, who I once had a lot more respect for. And I agree with Taurus – I don’t think that Sera is as much in command as we were led to believe at this point last year. Once again, I think that Kripke has his head up his ass, and is bound and determined to force-feed the audience his personal vision, as opposed to letting the story grow and change in an organic fashion. For me, that was the real problem with S5. That’s why everything changed so drastically, especially in the last handful of episodes. Kripke wanted to tell *his* story, *his* way. And I wouldn’t have a problem with that, except that his particular story has long since parted ways with the rest of Supernatural. Like, two season’s worth of divide. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily excuse Sera and her character-preference ways. Because as showrunner, she should have run the show, the whole show and all the characters in it, not just her favorite.

    As far as Jared goes, everything I know about him makes me want to smish him and hug him, and tell him what a joy he is. But someone needs to tell him that if he wants to play dark, then he needs much better writers. Because after six seasons, the only time I felt him successful, was BUaBS. I’m tired of Sam’s darkness, and I’m sorry, but it really isn’t playing to Jared’s strengths as an actor.

  7. Ginger

    Hi, Paula.

    I think we are on the same page on this except that I think because Sera is Sam Thunderstruck and her obsession with making Sam everything, the character was all over the place, as opposed to the writers not writing well for him. The result of making Sam everything was that Jared’s acting weaknesses were highlighted No Sam/Jared hate here — I like sweet, caring, empathetic, keep-Dean-out-of-trouble Sam, and no one can do that better than Jared. But add that to the in situ one-dimensional soulless character, and the weaknesses are highlighted, instead of his strengths accentuated. So I don’t blame the writers (too much) but I do blame Sera for her vision and direction this season took. I become bored and irritated when Sam is on-screen alone, too, and just FF him away. I think it is safe to say that Sam has never carried Dean’s spear in S6, since the only time Dean has actually done anything is when he was VampDean, but I know what you mean.

    I will agree that Dean has been occasionally written well this season. TwiHard comes to mind. Some of Like a Virgin and some scene specific instances this season also. But in discussing Dean’s main storyline for the season — Lisa — I believe if it was not for Jensen’s talent, Dean would have come off as more of the house boy than he was written to be. And why on Earth would the showrunner park Dean on the sidelines with that stupid story that should have never been conceived for SPN and then try to tell me that it is “metaphorical” to the soulless story? I don’t buy bridges, I don’t buy swampland, and I don’t buy that Dean was in a place he was not supposed to be because it is metaphorical to Sam being in Hell or that metaphorically Dean left a part of himself with Gumby Girl, just as Sam left a part of himself wherever.

    I get all tingly, too, when Dean molests the mytharc. How scary is Jensen when Dean gets all edgy? A lot scarier than Teen Mom and Fate, that’s for sure. How good was Dean going toe-to-toe with Zach and Uriel?. Why wouldn’t a successful series with that kind of proven talent use it instead of park it? Why wouldn’t a successful series put the two leads together, because that’s what made the series successful, instead of showcase one to the point of ridiculous and pimp out the other one to keep his fans on-board?
    So, yes, we agree. They need to work this out.

    As for the crackfic…disappointing from someone who started with the series and watch it grow into a successful, long-running series. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

    As far as interviewing, you may be right about that, but both Sera and Eric have proven to me that they lie, so I have given up watching any of their interviews. I made that decision when Sera called the show a “little popcorn horror show.” If that is her idea of what this show is, and I believe it is, then I’m not interested in any of her ideas. That’s why she can’t get past the crackfic that we have seen all season. As a fan, I was offended by that comment, since I became hooked because I saw so much more than a little horror genre story. My question is, with her still as showrunner, can I expect anything better in S7? That’s what the summer spoilers will tell me.

    BTW, I believe anything Jensen says about the show. Jared, too, but his comments are not as well thought out as Jensen’s are.

    As for the western, I think the fans will enjoy the part that Jared and Jensen play…you know, the pretty again, but the episode is to progress Cas, his storyline, and Misha as an equal lead, so my expectations are pretty low. I just wished they would get around to progressing Jensen as one of the leads, but that is not going to happen in S6.

    Sorry this is so long. Thanks for commenting, though, because it let me explain myself a little clearer.

  8. Kay

    Taurus: “Jared just doesn’t have an on-screen charisma necessary to be the Show’s hero. And I think Jensen has it. In abundance. And I honestly believe that’s the part of the problem. Sam has been intended as the hero. But it was Dean that has become the central character, THE HERO for most fans.”

    That’s a great way of putting it. I agree. I like both Jared and Jensen as actors and people, but they have very different strengths in acting. The initial casting was off because Jared, who does a likeable and charming character really well, is not quite there as a multi-layered dark hero who can sustain a story for 5+ seasons. Sadly, while Jared has said many times that he likes to do dark roles, I think he is much better in lighter roles.
    Dean, intended as a sidekick, became the truer hero, because it’s really difficult to keep Jensen on the side – he becomes front and center, given half the chance.

    “And the switch happened because of Ackles. And than the writing followed. But only for an episode, two, a season (4)…and than the writers back-pedalled. They have been too…? again looking for the right word…scared? short-sighted? stubborn? to change the STORY itself, to change THE HERO. They should have. Big part of the problem with SS,with season 6, with the Winchester story in general, I think, could be attributed to Kripke insisting on being faithful to his original story. He failed to notice that, in the meantime, the story had changed. The heroes had switched.”

    Looking over the entire series, I feel Kripke did make a very serious effort to do the switch, or at least, even things out between Dean and Sam in Season 4. He introduced elements in his show that he never intended to, he took his initial ideas of a Star Wars wannabe story and tried to make it into a Lucifer vs. angels thing. I have no complaints about Sam or Dean in Season 4. The early part of Season 5 also had some strong writing. Then everything changed and it’s difficult to pinpoint who or what is to blame for the change, since there were lots of rumors about behind-the-scenes happenings early in Season 5. Perhaps Kripke wanted to be faithful to his original story (though analyzing Season 5 episodes, I see a dramatic switch very late in the game – did he just wake up and decide to throw all his set-up out?) Still, it was under Kripke that I feel I got Dean’s best seasons, 4 and to some extent, 1.

    I feel that Season 6 has been a rewrite of Season 4, except trying to push Sam as the Hero without having a balance in story-telling between him and Dean.

  9. madcap

    As always Paula, I enjoy reading your reviews and spoiler spec. I don’t always agree but I do respect your thoughtful analysis and the comments by most of the posters here.

    However, I have to say that the constant reference to Lisa as “Gumby Girl” has become rather offensive to me. I hated it when she was referred to that way in Gamble’s original script but the way fandom has adopted it, they may just as well call her slut or skank or whore. It’s all about demeaning and dehumanizing the character based on the fact that she has a vagina and I find that offensive and disturbing.

    Sorry, I’m not trying to cause wank but this has been bugging me for a really long time in the general fandom and now I’ve noticed it popping up here as well and felt like I had to say something.

    1. Paula R. Stiles

      Thanks, guys. I appreciate your input, regardless of whether we agree or not.

      Madcap, no arguments from me. I like Lisa and dread the distinct possibility that she and Ben will be summarily “offed”. Even if I do think (were the writers to handle it correctly) that their deaths could spark a great Dark-Willow-type storyline for Dean, I just think the piling on for Dean this season alone is far too high. And Lisa and Ben provide a storyline for Dean that is not about Sam or any other supernatural character, one that gives him a chance to grow in ways he hasn’t been able to do before.

      Personally, I think a good “fix” this late in the season could be that, if Castiel does turn out to be duplicitous in 6.20, Dean forgives him, anyway. And, when Sam and Bobby protest that Castiel has done bad things, to have Dean look at them and say, “I forgave *you*, didn’t I?” Yes, Castiel turned out to be sneaky and a bit creepy this past week, but when push shoved, he refused to sacrifice Dean (and Sam, but he’s been willing to sacrifice just Sam before) to his heavenly agenda. That’s a lot more than you could say for Sam or Bobby, at times. And Castiel is an angel. So, smiting is part of his nature.

      Since I’m not one of the show writers, I can’t tell you exactly why they do what they do. But I can say that it happens very frequently on television. Why did Kripke keep an unpopular character like Ruby around for two seasons and even try to keep her on for more? Why did the V writers turn Tyler into such a Mary Sue that the audience ended up hating his guts? Why did the writers of Stargate: Universe create such an unpleasant group of characters and then, instead of finetuning them when fans proved unhappy, instead went so far as to publicly attack a famous reviewer (Maureen Ryan) for not saying only good things about the show? Why do showrunners like Joss Whedon talk about giving the audience what it needs instead of what it wants and then go on to give us misogynistic failures like Dollhouse?

      I guess it has something to do with needing a whole lot of chutzpah to write a successful show on TV for millions of viewers, but not always knowing when to take a step back from letting that turn into hubris. I also think that having millions in audience can introduce too much surreality to the proceedings and make it difficult to decide whom to listen to. Many of the authors of written speculative fiction that I know make themselves as accessible to their fans as possible because, well, it’s easier to do that when you have two hundred fans than when you have two million. And I know a lot of writers who take fan feedback on board when they write new stuff. But it also means you have to work harder for the money, so maybe there’s a feedback effect, as you’re more motivated to keep the fans’ opinions under consideration.

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