Friday, February 13, 2009

Dollhouse Premiere

Let's just cut to the chase and make one point clear: Joss Whedon's Dollhouse is definitely worth faithfully watching and getting excited over. 

So far, I'm enjoying it more than Heroes, which for some mysterious reason is set out to break my heart, and Dollhouse has had only one episode thus far. Hopefully, it will have at least a complete season, unlike another amazing show. I was excited about this show ever since I heard about it a few weeks ago. Naturally, I went onto to see what they had on the show. 

I was very pleased and hopeful about the premiere. It looked like it was going to be of the same calibur as beloved Firefly, which I hold to be Whedon's best writing thus far. Another aspect of my life that made me have high expectations of Dollhouse was my love for the slightly obscure manga series, DOLL by Misukazu Mihara. (Hey, if it managed to get published in the US in the first place, it's only slightly obscure...)  

So what else is there to say outside of my inital verdict? 

I wasn't amazed. For whatever reason, I didn't feel completely pulled into this world or especially gripped with wide-eyed ecstasy like I had hoped. My biggest compliant was that I wasn't completely blown-away by the premiere. Of course, that doesn't change the fact Dollhouse is most likely one of the best shows on television this year. 

If you have no idea about what Dollhouse is or who Joss Whedon is, here's the short version. Feel free to go to the WhedonWiki

Joss Whedon has been hailed as one of television's greatest writers in our generation. He practically has an entire sub-culture dedicated to him and his works like Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog (which is astoundingly good and on, the resulting Dark Horse comic book series that continue each respective series as well as probably many other things that other Whedon fans would be more than happy to tell you about.  A successful writer/director/producer Joss Whedon is known for great shows with snappy dialogue and addictive stories. Any project that has Whedon's name on it gets some amount of buzz on the 'Net as well as a small following, just to see what will happen.  

Dollhouse is the Whedon's return to television since the cancellation of Firefly. Eliza Dushku plays centeral character Echo, an "Active" in the Dollhouse operations. An Active is an agent of the thus-far mysterious organization that has her (or his!) memory and personality "scrubbed" to be replaced by another persona made by Topher and the other scientists. They're basically rented out to billionaire clients to be whatever the clients desires. Naturally, "perfect lover" does come up in the premiere, but it seems that the Dollhouse services more than just fetishes when Echo is programed to be a calculating kidnap negoiator in order to rescue a client's daughter. Because Actives are human beings rather than android or robots, it brings an interesting moral dilemma to the show. At the beginning of the show, we see the girl who we come to know as Echo talking to Adelle DeWitt, the apparent master-adminstrator of the Dollhouse. Echo's life has gone awry and DeWitt offers the chance for a "clean slate." Echo's reply my favorite line in the premiere. 

"You ever tried to clean an actual slate? You always see what was on it before."

Spoiler: This appears to be the premise of Echo's character - the slate that couldn't be completely cleaned, though the premiere seems to give little evidence of this BUT all the previews seem to point to this idea.  

There are murmurings that the original script for Dollhouse was scrapped/revised with charactes and subplots removed from the original idea in order to put in more action, but Whedon appears to be quite happy with the result and to be frank, so am I. Of course, I would have loved weaving in and out of different stories or a bigger cast, making it an ensemble show, but it looks so great so far that I'm hoping for more of the same as the season goes on. 

Happy watching! 

- Frugal Fan