there have been concerns raised inside the network about the fundamental underpinnings of the show.
Specifically, because the heroine of the show, played by Eliza Dushku, has no free will or ability to do much beyond what she’s told to do, viewers might find it hard to root for her.
From the first time I read this premise, my initial thought was similar: where's the Why-Should-I-Care factor in all this? The lead character must want something, and I must care about her enough that I want to see her get what she wants. Then the story is all about her overcoming the obstacles while the audience roots for her. That's the underlying structure of all
stories, at least all pop-culture or reasonably popular stories (discounting just the arty/experimental stuff that never makes it to TV anyway). Without this, there's no reason for the audience to tune in.
The concept of Dolls themselves is not at all too "out there." You just have a lead character Doll who is struggling to become self-aware and what she wants is to break free and no longer be enslaved. The audience can certainly root for that! Then the problem becomes, how long can you extend that premise in a TV series...
If the Dolls are voluntarily being enslaved, then the Who-Cares factor is a problem. She brought it on herself, I have no sympathy for her plight. Also, there's a logic problem: who'd volunteer for that?