Eliza Dushku, who produces and stars in Fox's sci-fi series Dollhouse, told reporters that limiting the first-season run to 12 episodes might improve its chances for renewal. A 13th episode, set in the future and starring Felicia Day, has been shot and is expected to be included only in foreign territories and the DVD.
"It's a little complicated, because episode 13 sort of, in a way, could be seen as the ending of something, and episode 12 could be seen as taking the show into another year," Dushku said in a group interview on Wednesday night in Hollywood, where she sat on a panel discussing the show at the Paley Festival. "So that's sort of my vision of it. We're still waiting to hear but feeling neither like it's a nail in the coffin nor like it's hope for another season. We're all waiting."
Were episode 12 to be the last viewers see of Echo, Dushku teased an ending for her character on both extremes. "She's about to have some fun," Dushku said about her character. "She's about to have some fun and be in some serious pain, which is, I guess, the best of both worlds and the worst. Definitely the end of 12 opens a door that, in an awesome way, surprised the hell out of me and made me go, 'Oh, my gosh, there are so many cool and twisted things we could carry into another season.'"
Dushku added that the relationship between Echo and Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) is part of that surprise. If the DVD set of 13 were to be the entirety of Dollhouse, Dushku said that she'd feel proud of it, but added that there's nevertheless more she wants to do.
"I think absolutely it was a strong first season, ... but there's also so much to do," Dushku said. "We're talking about programmable people who can be something new every week, so I feel like Echo and Caroline, the backstory and the future story, there are endless possibilities."
Dushku also echoed, pun intended, series creator Joss Whedon's sentiments that Fox is still taking note of the show's performance for the remainder of the season.
"There've been some changes inside Fox I don't know if you're aware of," Dushku said. "I think Friday nights were a difficult night. Now we have Prison Break coming in, and we've been keeping our audience. It's not just a Nielsen world anymore. They factor in DVR. They factor in iTunes and Hulu, and we seem to have a pretty rich, pretty strong fan base. People are really getting into the show and [creating good] word of mouth, and the shows are getting more and more complicated and twisted. I feel like people are talking about it even more, and hopefully that gets back to the folks at Fox."
Dollhouse airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on Fox.