Dollhouse: A Look Back – Part One

17 01 2010

Dollhouse is rapidly coming to an end and to celebrate the best show that hardly anyone is watching, I’m going to be spending the next two weeks on it.  When Dollhouse began I’m sure everyone thought the same thing, “A Whedon show on Fox and on Friday night?  It won’t last a month.”

But somehow it did, despite low ratings and Fox’s insistence that they make what amounts to five pilots.  Maybe they wanted to give Joss Whedon a second chance after destroying Firefly or maybe the fans did help save it.   But in the end, the dark spirit of cancellation finally claimed the little show.  A show that tried to be a little different from the countless cop, doctor, reality, and comedy shows out there.  But in the end, it was a fun ride.  There aren’t that many shows left that can actually surprise you, but Dollhouse was one of them.  From all the people we learned were actually dolls, enemies who we thought were the only trustworthy characters, and the shocking deaths, the show was a rollercoaster of thrills and emotions.  But before the end, let’s go back to the beginning.

The show began with a rather stylish opening sequence, arguably the best looking of any Whedon show.  The whole sequence turned out to something of a play on Cinderella, but instead of the carriage turning back into a pumpkin, the girl turned back into a blank shell.  The subversion of fairy tales seemed to be a slight theme going on in the first season.  It was made rather obvious towards the end with Sleeping Beauty had rescue herself as well as Paul, the knight who destroyed himself in his quest to bring down the Dollhouse.  The main plot of the episode itself isn’t as strong as the rest of the series.  Echo is imprinted with a hostage negotiator with a tragic past who must save a little girl.  I guess there can be some parallels drawn between the little girl and Caroline herself, but most of the series hinted at that.  The rest of episode served to show the technology of the Dollhouse as well as the people behind it.  One of the interesting things about my experience was my changing opinions of the Dollhouse staff.  I originally loathed them all, seeing that as strictly inhuman monsters who basically pimped out brainwashed slaves for the highest bidder.  But as I got to know them more, I grew to see them as just tragically flawed people.  Adelle, a woman who tries to hold herself to some high standard despite whoring these people out to the rich and powerful.  She seems to want to protect the people entrusted to her care, but she answers to Rossum who have no more sympathy for them than a lab rat.  I will continue to look at the characters as the week continues.  In the end, the episode was a decent pilot.  Although the original works a lot better, I think allowing Echo to be an actual character a lot earlier would be better than taking so long.  But that would imply I know better than a network exec, which is ridiculous.  Because I can’t continually renew buckets of shit while throwing away diamonds because I decided not to tell anyone about it.  You would think that telling people about a show may give it higher ratings, but you’d be wrong.  Because as an exec, you must promote the most intellectually worthless pieces of shit imaginable.  It says a lot that the best ads for a show are fan made.  Not to trash the work of the talented people behind the Dollhouse fan promotions, I loved their work.  But Fox did not promote the show at all.  If the show could cure cancer, they would never tell a soul.  Maybe because if people saw it, they would have to renew it or give it a better time slot.  But enough with that, on to the next episode.

The Target
Echo is sent out with a outdoorsy guy who seemed nice (at first).  But turned out to a guy who was way in to “The Most Dangerous Game”.  Echo also starts showing the first major glitches, a recurring theme throughout the show.  Then there is Boyd, after the most recent events on the show, this episode takes on a whole new meaning.  Boyd was the guy we all liked, the surrogate father almost, a Giles if you want to go in that direction.  But what we didn’t know was that he was imprinted with the mind of the founder of Rossum and quite insane with dreams of wiping the future.  We trusted him as much as Echo, we were almost as programmed as her.  He was introduced as her protector and he almost died trying to protect her.  Since he was helping the main character, we rooted for him, so the reveal was a knife to the heart.  But I’ll deal with that when we get to the episode where it happens.  As for the story, I felt it was a little stronger than the first episode.  The action helped as well as having Eliza Dushku kick some major ass on the show.

I’ll continue the look back tomorrow with Stage Fright and Gray Hour as well as more rants and looks at the various characters.




One response

7 04 2010
Dollhouse: Final Thoughts « Geek O Rage

[…] your convenience, here are my other Dollhouse articles in order. Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five Part Six Part Seven Part Eight Part Nine Part Ten Part […]

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