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Published on April 4th, 2009 | by Lottie

5

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.

Dollhouse

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.

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5 Responses to Joss The Way I Like It

  1. Sinead says:

    Really looking forward to seeing this, haven’t had a chance to watch it yet.

  2. kildarepaul says:

    It’s an unusual one, waiting for the main plot to develop with presumably the actives regaining their memories but I can’t see how they can do that without ditching the main premise of the show. It’s no Buffy and definately no Firefly

  3. Lottie says:

    @Sinead – Im gone mad on TV at the moment. I watched the entire of series 2 of Secret Diary of A Call Girl last night. But in fairness the episodes are only about 22 minutes long.

    @Kildare Paul – It is still finding it’s legs – episode 6 was the one that really turned me on to it. It still has a way to go but it will never be a Buffy fr indeed a Firefly.

  4. Mark says:

    It looks at this stage very unlikely that Dollhouse will get renewed for a second season. It’s viewing figures have never been great and they are now steadily declining.

    I felt the first three episodes were poor and I mainly watched them out of loyalty to Whedon but the quality picked up with episode 4. I feel that if the show is given time it could grow into something quite good, the cast are excellent with one major exception and that is a problem. I just don’t feel that Dushku is quite good enough to pull off the role. To me this was really demonstrated in Episode 4 when effctivlly Dushku and Dichen Lachman were playing the same character. I felt that Lachman did a much better job.

    On the plus side we will soon get the episodes written by Jane Espenson (chief writer on Buffy of dialogue which when spoken is so fast that actors heads should explode), whose work I always love. We will also get more episodes from Joss and Tim Minear

  5. Lottie says:

    @Mark – Sadly I think you’re right. Epsiode 7 had a bit more of the Whedon flair to it. Much funnier and quirky.

    I’m convinced it’s Dushku – she is just the kiss of death for things.

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