Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dollhouse Review

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 10:  Creator of Dollhouse,...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Last night was the much anticipated debut of Joss Whedon's return to network television. His new series Dollhouse starring Eliza Dushku made its network birth. So before we get into anything lets talk about the show.

Being that it's from Joss, one of the most creative minds working in television it was very inventive. The premise is pretty cool, but the very idea of the storyline is also its own weakest link. The Dollhouse is a top secret organization that employs a stable of men and women who they imprint new memories and ablities over their minds and hire out to the highest bidder for whatever work needed. When these people aren't having their mind impinted they basically have no personality, no mind of their own.

And that's the problem. Eliza plays one of these "blanks," a woman named Echo. How are we to care about Echo when we really don't know her? And we'll never get to know her, because every week she's a different person. She's a blank person, except for when she is imprinted with a new identity and becomes someone else. And than that person is gone. They're trying to do it with flashbacks and old movies of the woman Echo was before she joined the Dollhouse, but I'm not sure it'll work. Or work quick enough for viewers to make a connection with Echo.

The story was nicely told and full of twists and turns and plenty of action. Imprinting Echo with part of the personality of someone else also gave her that person's faults and fears, which lead to trouble for all.

The reviews have been mixed from what I've seen and I have to give a mixed review myself. The show didn't reach out and grab me like Buffy or Angel or Firefly did. Within minutes of watching the premiere of these shows you knew you were in the presence of great tv. But because it's Joss and Eliza I'm willing to give them the beneift of the doubt and stick with it.

Already the internet has been abuzz of the problems Joss has had with Fox over the show. He went back and reshot the first two episodes, shutting down production for awhile at one point. In a recent Rolling Stone interview Joss didn't sound like a man hopeful to be continuing to work in network television for much longer. He's talking of moving online and creating work there. Which is a shame, Joss has created some of the greatest television in the past and I'm sure he can do it again. I'm just not sure if Dollhouse will be around long enough for us to find out if this will be one of them.
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