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I don't believe the show makes any apologies for the people at the Dollhouse. I believe it shows the ways those people rationalize what they are doing so they can sleep at night.
This show is a great vessel for exploring the nature of the soul and personality. What makes people who they are. Despite being wiped and implanted over and over, Echo retains some of her Caroline-ness. This show is not ultimately about "the world's oldest profession," but about what makes humans human. If you can't get past the creepy paying for people, and, yes, the singer episode, then this is really not your show.
And, speaking as a woman, I really don't find it all that offensive. I'm actually not all that certain why I should. The dolls are of both sexes and I see a strong female lead, may Whedon continue to put them on television.
I highly recommend this show. Get past the first few episodes (which Fox tinkered with) and see the brilliance beyond.
The psychological background and action sequences keep getting better. I've fallen in love with the characters. The story line makes me gasp with amazement. The concept grows and just boggles my mind.
The first season was the slow start, thus far the second season is amazing. Now that I've watch season one and most of season two I find myself totally immersed in the show. I look forward to it being on for an hour every week... and when the episode is over I'm in TV shock.
And then I want more!!!
The show was no longer just about Echo, but started to give more screen time to the other characters, who are all as perfectly flawed and human as they can be. We started to get a stronger sense of the underlying arc, the moral ambiguities that the Dollhouse presents became more apparent and I found myself counting the hours till I could watch the next episode.
This is a show that will make you think and question. If you want mindless fluff, go elsewhere (90210, anyone?). If you want real, intelligent television (with a whole lot of fun mixed in), then Dollhouse is it.
When this show moved away from single episode arcs, revolving about the assignments, and turned to handling complex themes like - how does one deal with the ethical questions around this kind of human trafficking (-> self-deception, mostly) - what makes a personality - how does an Active cope when confronted with the fact that apparently s/he gave up his/her personality willingly - what makes one give up his personality and allow oneself to be dealt with like a "thing"
Dollhouse became a truly fascinating show. Yet entertaining, captivating. Which of course led to it being cancelled. Oh, sigh.
4 episodes in and the darker style suits the show so much better, Whedon and his writers are allowing the characters to grow, within the conceit of the show, and you get the impression that a whole lot of trouble is going to descend on them.
My faith in Whedon has been restored and now I hope he has the chance to complete the show.
I've also enjoyed Eliza Dushku from her days as Faith on Buffy, to her lead role in Tru Calling (I still miss that show) and in her role as Sissy in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, as well - I think she's an incredibly gifted actor. She has also not disappointed me in her role as Echo/Caroline - she demands my undivided attention in every scene that she is in!
I love this show because it is different and it leaves me thinking long after each episode ends. It often makes me uncomfortable - I happen to like that in a show!
I still haven't seen Season 1's Epitaph 1, purportedly a necessary missing link between Season 1 and Season 2, and yet I am already enjoying Season 2 immensely even without it, and just 2 episodes in. Excited for episode 3 later tonight!
I am so puzzled and disheartened by negative feedback and rumours of early cancellation of this fantastic show that seem to be running amok online - IMO that would royally suck.
I love this show and I just want more and more story to be revealed. I love that the end of each episode is not all wrapped up neatly - no real sense of closure; more questions than answers! Yay! It puts me on the edge of my seat for next week's episode wondering what other pieces of the puzzle will be fitted into place next.
I don't want everything solved all at once; I just want this slow build story to keep going so I can savour it, think about it, look forward to more and mentally review what's already happened and why and speculate on what might yet happen. It piqued my curiosity from first episode onward and now I'm pretty much hooked into this show for as long as it keeps airing.
I do wish it would move to a different time slot because I think Friday nights is simply poor placement for it. JMO
My fingers are crossed that the stories inside the Dollhouse will go on, all the way through to the end of a 2nd season and hopefully even beyond that as well. That would royally rock!
1/01/2010 - well it did last more than the 9 episodes I predicted above back in previews, and it did get much better. But it never found it's audience which answered to the confusion I mention above. Now it is gone forever only to be DVD'ed.
At first it would be easy, I loved Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. I own a Serenity poster and I hang on Whedon's every word.
But Dollhouse is kind of where he lost me. The premise, while fascinating, felt tired by episode 3. Eliza's acting skills, while impressive, are not always up to the chameleon-like requirements her character requires.
This often feels like a mash up of previous series, like it's made out of spare parts of Joss' other shows. Grab some Buffy feminism, add a little Firefly anti government paranoia, insert some of Angel's brooding self analysis. It had a "Xander", a character that should've been left out upon final analysis and it leaves a sour taste in your mouth when you realize that Wheadon needs to put a Xander in every show. Learn to grow, man. People keep telling me it's not the same has his previous shows, then why all the retreading?
It should feel fresh but it doesn't. Then there's the Season Finale which was hailed as the saving episode. Really it wasn't. Instead of the gutsy punch of previous Wheadon finales, this was a plodding and meandering discussion of Decartes and Satre using turgid dialogue and a rather limp Obama fist pump. Call me a neanderthal but philosophy on TV is just more effective when it's mixed in sugar and spoon fed instead of pounded into your skull.
At times it didn't feel like a Wheadon show, it felt like a parody of one.
On HBO, this show would've flourished but on Fox, where the viewers are sold an action show, you end up with a slightly confusing genre mix up that felt like it needed that one special ingredient to be something great. That's not Wheadon's fault of course but perhaps the blame needs to be spread around none the less.
There are bright points, solid ones. The FBI sub-plot was both fun and interesting. The revelations surrounding Alpha, Whiskey, and "The Girl Next Door" were all worth a good look and I was glad to see the direction they headed in.