Joss Whedon is credited as the creator of Dollhouse, and was an Executive Producer, and the show featured many Whedon 'alumni', as well as his brother and sister-in-law writing many episodes.

However, Joss only directed the two season openers ("Ghost" and "Vows"), and only wrote those two stories and two others ("Man on the Street", and the season one conclusion, "Epitaph One").

This is much less than Firefly (wrote 5/14, directed 3/14), or Buffy (wrote 28/145, directed 22/145), but similar to Angel (wrote 11/111, directed 7/111).

How involved with Dollhouse was Joss Whedon? Was it mostly a project he created (with Dushku) and then left in the hands of others, returning for a couple of episodes? Or was he heavily involved, just not in the writing or directing?

  • Joss Whedon talks regularly at cons, posts thoughts and answers questions online, and is generally quite open about what he does. I'm looking for an answer that references something official, not speculation.
    – Tony Meyer
    Feb 14, 2012 at 20:09

2 Answers 2


A producer in television is much more hands-on than the equivalent role in a movie. In a movie a producer is roughly a financier that may or may not have had some input into the making of the film, usually by hiring appropriate directors, screenwriters, etc. In television a producer is closer to someone running the whole show - they also select directors and writers, but they also ensure internal consistency of the show and are hands on in a day to day basis. The equivalent role in UK television is called a "show runner" (think Davies and Moffatt with Doctor Who), and that tends to be a much more descriptive title for what the job entails.

So in summary Whedon would have and did have a lot to do with Dollhouse, even though he may not have directly written or directed as many of the individual episodes as he had in previous series.

  • Note that Joss was an Executive Producer, not Producer. Do you have any evidence that he "did have a lot to do with Dollhouse"?
    – Tony Meyer
    Feb 14, 2012 at 20:11
  • When I was watching the show I recall watching a number of behind the scenes short features that indicated his influence, not to mention him effectively being the spokesperson for the show at the time. It looks like some of them may be on the DVD as special features (amazon.com/Dollhouse-Season-One-Eliza-Dushku/dp/B0024FAR66 lists them, especially "Making Dollhouse") but unfortunately I don't own it to confirm.
    – dlanod
    Feb 15, 2012 at 4:27
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    I always thought “show runner” was more Hollywood slang, as I hadn’t heard it used to describe UK shows pre-New Who. (That could just be my own ignorance.) We do have a tradition of sole authorship of TV shows here, where a single creator or duo will write an entire TV series. This is especially true of sitcoms — Steven Moffat had his own one called Coupling, which wasn’t great overall, but had some very impressive Moffat-y writing feats. Dec 16, 2013 at 20:58
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    @PaulD.Waite your recollection is correct; prior to BBC Whales, most BBC shows ran much like movies -- the producer was distinct from the writers, and there was a "head writer" that took on the non-production aspects of a modern "show runner".
    – KutuluMike
    Dec 16, 2013 at 21:30
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    @MichaelEdenfield: aha, I thought so. Whereas in America, there seemed to be a strong tradition of Executive Producer showrunners who basically had the final say over most creative decisions for the show — e.g. Chris Carter on X-Files, David Chase on Sopranos, Vince Gilligan on Breaking Bad. UK head writers might literally write an entire series, but for 6 half-hour episodes once every couple of years, like traditional UK sitcoms did, that was manageable. Dec 16, 2013 at 23:25

Whedon's production company, Mutant Enemy Productions, was in charge of the whole thing. It's pretty safe to say that Joss had a hand in most of what happened, but it does seem he was more hands off on this series than his previous series he has been involved with. He definitely was involved in writing the long term story of the show. IMBD credits Joss as being involved in the writing of every episode.

A few references: Chicago Tribube and Wikipedia. Basically, I see that Joss is involved in every step, although seemingly less with the writing and directing than he had previously.

  • 2
    Do you mean Mutant Enemy Productions?
    – user1027
    Feb 14, 2012 at 2:36
  • I used IMDB for the stats in the question. The "every episode" credits are for creating the series - the ones that are for "written by" or "story" are the important ones. Do you have any source for "definitely involved with writing the long term story"?
    – Tony Meyer
    Feb 14, 2012 at 20:13
  • @Tony: A few, but none are great... I'll post what I have. Feb 14, 2012 at 20:23

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