People excited to see Joss Whedon's next stab at serial television might have to wait a little longer than expected. His upcoming supernatural thriller Dollhouse has hit a standstill on its way to the tube, but progress is being made. Today, Joss has updated his legion of fans with a message concerning the whereabouts of his latest creation:

"Yes, we've had to make adjustments. Yes, it's been hard and I've been depressing to be around for a while. Basically, the Network and I had different ideas about what the tone of the show would be. They bought something somewhat different than what I was selling them, which is not that uncommon in this business. Their desires were not surprising: up the stakes, make the episodes more stand-alone, stop talking about relationships and cut to the chase. Oh, and add a chase. That you can cut to. Nothing I hadn't heard before on my other shows (apparently my learning curve has no bendy part) but frustrating as hell given our circumstances - a pilot shot, scripts written, everybody marching together/gainfully employed... and then a shutdown. Glad I was for the breathing room, but it's hardly auspicious. So back into the writer cave I went, wondering why I put up with this when I can make literally dozens of dollars making Internet movies. Why I do put up with this is divided into three parts.

One: They're not wrong. Oh, we don't see eye-to-eye on everything, but wanting the first episodes to be exciting and accessible is not exactly Satanic. Being Satan is, but that's in their free time and hey, there's no judging in the Dollhouse. This kind of back and forth has happened on every show I've done, so if you liked those, chances are that was a part of why. And the need to focus on the essentials of what makes this universe tick - and which wire to cut to make it stop - really does bring up our game. So we as a staff have gone from blinking like unhoused moles to delving in with the same relish we had when we started. The show is really coming together now, in a way that I believe excites us and satisfies the Network. Of course, I have no idea if anybody else will like it, but I have the same faith in the staff, the crew and the remarkable cast that I always did. More, in fact. And what's more crucial:

Two: Nothing essential has changed about the universe. The ideas and relationships that intrigued me from the start are all there (though some have shifted, more on that), and the progression of the first thirteen eps has me massively excited. The episode we're shooting now I wrote as fast as anything I have before, not because I had to (although, funny side-note: I had to) but because I couldn't stop the words from coming. Because I can feel the show talking to me; delighting, scaring and occasionally even offending me. It's alive. Alive! Which is a far cry from how I felt a month ago. It's been hilarious trying to keep up with what's in, what's out, who's met whom and when - we've shot all of the first seven episodes out of airing order - but it's come together in a pretty thrilling way. My huge gratitude to our cast for their precision and patience. Which also includes...

Three: Eliza. Watching her on the monitors at two o'clock this morning I was reminded forcibly how much I wished I were in bed - but also how strong, radiant and unmistakable her presence is. She's someone who could coast on talent and never ever does. I love to watch her work. In fact, I think I got myself into this mess for that very reason, and though I have this fall occasionally sworn never to eat lunch with an actor I like again, I'm pretty pleased and crazy proud."

You can read more by visiting Whedonesque. Expect to see Joss Whedon's Dollhouse sometime next year.

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B. Alan Orange