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The show follows an organization that employs mind-wiped humans known as Dolls who are implanted with false memories and skills for various missions and tasks. When they are not 'at work' they are living in a real life Dollhouse which gives the show the name. One of those mind-wiped humans, a young woman named Echo, is slowly starting to become aware of herself and what's going on - all the while somebody on the outside is trying to bring the Dollhouse down while getting closer to Echo - possibly not aware that she is one of the Dolls he is after. Written by
In season one of "Dollhouse," Joss Whedon (creator of the series) wrote only two of the episodes -- #1 - "Ghost," and #6 - "Man on the Street." True-blue fans (of which I am one) tend to think that they were the two best of that season. In season two, Joss wrote episode #1 - "Vows," but has remained absent as a writer until now. So along comes episode #8 - "A Love Supreme." If you know the works of John Coltrane, everything you need to know is in the title. "A Love Supreme" was Coltrane's masterwork. I suspect that "Dollhouse" -- short-lived as it may be -- will be regarded in the future as somewhat of a similar masterwork.
Jazz is improvisation. You start with a theme, a concept, and then -- if you have the balls -- you take it and get all Nike on its ass and Go For It. Coltrane did that with his "A Love Supreme." Joss did that with his. It's not just that every note of the basic theme led up to but could never predict the eventual epiphnal moments when the piece took flight and became something else, something transcendent to the theme. It's that every note of the first few bars in which the theme was established were *essential* to it taking flight. What came before didn't just precede what followed; what came before *enabled* what followed, and allowed it to happen.
"A Love Supreme" is not a one-hour segment in a 26-hour television series. It is chapter twenty-one in a twenty-six-chapter novel.
Sometimes when I watch "Dollhouse" I feel like a reader following the works of Dashiell Hammett, or Raymond Chandler, or, for that matter, Charles Dickens, in the first publication of one of their novels. All of these writers' novels were *serialized* in cheap pulp fiction magazines. Readers bought them for pennies and rarely realized that they were reading great literature. And what could be cheaper and more pulp fiction than broadcast television, on the FOX network, no less? And yet.
"Dollhouse" is great literature. Besides, it's funny. I don't think I'm ever going to stop laughing at Echo saying to Alpha, "He's ten times the man you are...and you're like...40 guys." :-)
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