Published on April 4th, 2009 | by Lottie5
Joss The Way I Like It
It all started out a but meh but I am the type of person who will basically watch anything in the hope of finding a new TV mecca to replace my beloved and still missed Buffy. Watch anything, that is, so long as it doesn’t star Chad Michael Murray. Case in point – up until recently I was still watching, with clenched jaw and baited breath, Smallville in the hope that they one day might develop a story line. I’ve given up the ghost on that one now.
When I heard that Joss Whedon, creator of the aforementioned glorious Buffy and it’s spin off series Angel was undertaking a new project called Dollhouse I was all excira and delira but also a bit dubious. Dubious because the lead character was to be Eliza Dushku, Buffy’s bad-girl slayer Faith. It’s not that I don’t like Eliza, in fact I’m certain we would be fast friends but it seems that her aim is a little off in most things I have seen her in and she her last TV outing Tru Calling got the long kiss goodnight after less than two mediocre seasons.
But I digress.
Back to Dollhouse. Yes, it started out a bit slow and predictable but thanks to a persevering hope the show seems to have found legs around episode 5. What’s it all about I hear you ask.
The show revolves around a secret elite organisation that employs mind-wiped DNA-altered humans known as Dolls who are implanted with false memories and skills best suited for the mission the are assigned to, be it as a hostage negotiator, a ultra-hippy mid-wife or a dominatrix for some sad rich millionaire. When they are not working they are live in a real life Dollhouse which gives the show the name.
Our attentions is focused on one particular Doll, Echo, played by Dushku who is slowly beginning to become aware of herself and the possibility that all is not as it seems. While FBI agent Paul Ballard, played by BSG’s Helo, Tahmoh Penikett is on the outside trying desperately to expose an organisation whom he believes are responsible for human trafficking and various other crimes. (I really like this guy and hope to see him in more things.)
Now here’s the science bit. The mechanics of the Dollhouse are easy to grasp and don’t even call for that much suspension of disbelief. A doll is implanted with the requisite skills and on completion on the mission are wiped clean to a doll like state to await a new task. The show has it’s resident nerdy genius who explains the process as you go and Whedon has succeeded in distracting us from the more sci-fi element of the show with quirky actors and wonderful combat scenes, something he learned how to do perfection in series 4 of Buffy.
The only thing really missing is humour. The show gets funnier as it progresses (I’m now on episode 7) but this may be due to finding an attachment to the characters. There’s no pithy Joss Whedon banter full of references. No-one speaks so fast that their head should explode. The story lines grow darker as we progress and it seem that Whedon wants this to be a serious show, somewhere mid-line between Buffy and Alias but it seems like a missed opportunity because all the gravitas creates an unrelatable distance. The dialogue is really a bit simplistic and they should have tried to inject a bit more fun into the lines. Saying that, episode 7 might suggest a change of course on this tact.
So for a rating? I’ll give it 6 Culchies out of 10.