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Following Fox’s premature cancellation of Firefly several years ago, Dollhouse fans were lucky enough that the network even granted the little-viewed series with a second season. Luckier still is the fact that year two was mostly a critical success, dropping outrageous twists and turns week after week for one of the most entertaining final strings of episodes I’ve ever seen delivered by a television series. In many respects, a third season of Dollhouse wasn’t even needed — but that doesn’t mean there weren’t ideas for one last year in the pipeline.
Dollhouse writer and producer Tim Minear spoke with Assignment X about the directions the short-lived series would have pursued in season three, had it survived that far:
What I think we came to was, by having Echo become this sort of superhero and having her become the sum of all these different imprints, of all these parts, and allow her to become this sentient being with [all of this incorporated into her], we found a way to make her a character. I think the problem in Season One was, you had this concept that sounds great when you’re pitching it, but when you sit down to write it, it’s, “Okay, so now we’re writing a show about a main character who can’t remember what happened last week.” Which I think was a little boring for the audience, because they’re so far ahead of her. So when we started allowing her to remember things, and then started taking the concept and making it into what her superpower was, it started turning into something else. I think what you would have seen in Season Three is [a series] a lot more embracing of its mythology and turned into more of a superhero show. It would have been a little bit more like BUFFY in some ways.
But Minear agrees that the show’s cancellation midway into season two provided the writing staff with an opportunity to end Dollhouse on a mostly satisfying note:
I think one thing that helped Season Two was that we got canceled, because remember, we got canceled before we finished that run, so we had to take the last four or five episodes and cram a lot of what would have been in Season Three into Season Two, and what that ended up doing was, it gave it a certain amount of momentum in the second half of Season Two that I’m not sure it would have had had we not had the axe dropped on us prematurely, or maybe it wasn’t prematurely – it’s hard to say.