Earlier today, Felicia Day (Penny from "Dr. Horrible") tweeted this:
Man, day getting worse and worse. Found out my Dollhouse ep, #13 isn't gonna air. Only on DVD. Such a great part too. Thx Fox. :(This set the greater Twitter-verse -- not to mention ancillary Joss Whedon fansites -- ablaze with speculation about what this might mean for the future of "Dollhouse." As I've been able to gather so far, maybe it doesn't mean much, which I'll explain after the jump...
Long story short, because this is convoluted: Fox network ordered 13 episodes of the show. Joss Whedon shot a pilot, and then the pilot was scrapped in favor of a new pilot, but for contractual purposes, that unaired pilot counted as part of the 13-episode order -- which means Fox only had 12 episodes to deal with. Eight of those have aired, and four more are still to come, all of which have been scheduled, with the last of those -- with the very finale-ish title of "Omega" -- set to air May 8.
Day's episode, called "Epitaph One," was apparently filmed by the studio independent of the agreement -- or, at least, independent of what Fox network considers to be in the agreement -- and does not seem to be tied in to the story in "Omega." In other words, if there's a cliffhanger in "Omega" (and I don't know if there is), it's not going to be resolved in "Epitaph One."
Fox network won't decide the fate of "Dollhouse" until Upfront week, near the end of May, and the decision not to air "Epitaph One" has nothing whatsoever to do with renewal. It's unclear whether "Epitaph One" will turn up as a bonus on the season one DVD, or on Hulu, or even if it might be a bonus episode for a hypothetical season two. All I know for now is that it's not going to air on Fox as part of the first season run of "Dollhouse."
Does that all make sense?
UPDATE: Tim Minear concurs with what I've heard elsewhere, and seems confident that "Epitaph One" will be on the DVD.