TV Throwdown: Terminator Vs. Dollhouse

There's no salvation for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but Dollhouse lives to play another day.

Call me wacky, but wouldn't you think that TSCC would make a compatible combo with Dollhouse? Instead, after a heated campaign from TSCC fans, who were every bit as fervent as the Save Chuck squad, Fox decided to pass.

Fox is keeping the sci-fi show Fringe, although that series faces tough competition in the fall when it comes up against Grey's Anatomy and CSI. The network also brings on new fantasy series Human Target, based on the popular DC Comics graphic novel, in January.

And who can't be happy about Joss Whedon getting a second season to beef up Dollhouse, which was just beginning to show some potential? Still, TSCC got a bum deal. What was Fox thinking?

This calls for a TV Throwdown:

FAN SUPPORT

You can argue that the fans of TSCC were some of the hardest working save-our-show groups on the planet. But it was the Dollhouse fans who started campaigning Fox to not cancel the unseen pilot nine months before the first episode even aired. They had no confidence in Fox and wanted to make their case known far in advance. So while both shows have a massive fan base, we've got to give this one to the folks who sounded the early warning system.

Dollhouse: 1

Sarah Connor: 0

RATINGS VS. COST

Let's face it. Both TSCC and Dollhouse had lousy ratings. But gone are the days when ratings alone make the difference between termination and life. Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly said it came down to simple math: "Ratings wise, [TSCC] was on the same track as Dollhouse. But [TSCC] wasn't an inexpensive show and we had to make some choices. [Cost] was a factor, but we looked at the ratings track and that trend line was not pointing in the right direction." So when it came to bang for the buck, Dollhouse shot down TSCC.

Dollhouse: 2

Sarah Connor: 0

SIZZLE QUOTIENT

Looks shouldn't matter. No book should be judged by its cover. But if we must engage in a cover contest, we'll leave it up to a publication that centers on rating sexy women like a bunch of frat guys on the first day of class. Maxim posted its 100 Sexiest Women list recently, and right there at No. 6 is Dollhouse star Eliza Dushku. Even her promos for the show steamed up the screen with all the intensity of a Swedish sauna. On the other hand, Summer Glau only ranked around the mid-80s. Even First Mom Michelle Obama made it to No. 93. But perhaps after the termination, Summer can become an active in the Dollhouse. She certainly has the blank robotic stare down pat.

Dollhouse: 3

Sarah Connor: 0

POTENTIAL PUBLICITY BOOST

There doesn't seem to be anything out there that will cause people who haven't tuned in to either of these shows to suddenly feel the urge to click on Dollhouse this fall. But Terminator fans were holding out hope that a big box office opening for Terminator: Salvation might just give the TV series the added power boost it needed to get the tune-in rate jump started. We're not sure a late spring movie release would have any impact on a returning fall TV show, but we'll give this one to TSCC -- mostly because this is beginning to look like a shutout.

Dollhouse: 3

Sarah Connor: 1

TIME WILL TELL

So, TSCC fans claim that, if given just a little more time, the show would have finally caught hold. You'd have the boost from the new movie, an uptick on the creative side, and even a series -- now season -- finale that opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the show. On the other hand, Dollhouse might never gain any traction beyond its limited fan base. It's a show that doesn't hold wide commercial appeal like the Terminator franchise. Even Whedon's most commercially successful shows like Buffy and Angel never moved much beyond their original fan base. But we've got to disagree. TSCC had its second chance to spark some ratings, and it failed. Dollhouse at least deserves a second season to see if it has some legs.

Dollhouse: 4

Sarah Connor: 1

Bottom line: We could go another five matches, but it would all end up the same. TSCC had a chance but couldn't capitalize on it. We'll hope Dollhouse has a better run for the ratings. Otherwise, we see a foreclosure in the near future.