Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Dollhouse" in the middle of our street

So, the first episode of "Dollhouse" aired, and I watched it. I may have mentioned that I tried to get my sister's eight year old to watch with me, since she loves "Buffy" and "Doctor Horrible," but she gave up on the show about ten minutes in.

I stuck with it longer than that.

Tyranist and I watched every episode of "Buffy" and "Angel" together, so it was probably wrong that I watched this show without him, but he was out of town, and hey, I had a silly idea that he could skip the first episode and tune into the second episode first, and we'd compare notes.

But alas, that was not meant to be. First of all, our local FOX station pre-empted "Dollhouse" its second week, and when tyranist was able to catch it on a later feed, it turned out not to be Joss's original pilot "Echo" after all. So, the waiting had been for naught, and he just went ahead and watched the show without me as well.

Serves me right, I guess.

So, I suppose I should blog about the show. The thing is, it didn't strike me as particularly good or bad, as I've heard a couple of people discuss. The premise might be really great, with a dozen different scenarios to get Eliza Dushku into skimpy clothing, and a chance for her to beat various people up. The characters, particularly Amy Acker's*, are interesting, and it's possible I will grow to like them in the coming weeks.

I already like Tahmoh Penikett and Harry Lenix from other shows, so that helps.

Apparently, the new pilot, written and directed by Joss Whedon, was called "Ghost." Basically, we meet Echo in the first episode, and catch a glimpse of who she was before she lost her memory. Her name was Caroline and she's talking to DeWitt (Olivia Williams) about something she's done and its consequences. DeWitt offers her a life WITHOUT consequences, and she joins up.

The Dollhouse is a secret organisation where several young people, called Actives, have their personalities erased and are imprinted with new personalities, skills, and memories. These enable them to go on specific missions for expensive clients, such as a unique date for the super-rich, or, in this case, as an experienced negotiator for kidnapped children.

Echo becomes this negotiator and arranges payment for the safe return of a little girl, only to discover that one of the kidnappers took her when she was a child. Or rather, took the person she has been imprinted with the memories of. Even so, Echo is able to use these memories to figure out how to track the stolen girl down, and rescue her.

We had a B-story of FBI agent Paul Ballard, who has been investigating the so-called Dollhouse, and who receives an important tip about Echo at the end . . . from someone who appears to be a rogue Active called Alpha.

I complained that this episode probably wasn't 100% integral to the overall plot of the show, since it was essentially a prequel created after the show had gone into production, and taking place before the pilot Joss wrote and directed. But now, knowing that Joss's original pilot has been jettisoned (sort of like "Serenity" was), I have to judge it on its own merits. And yeah, I didn't get a lot out of it, except that it was nice to see Amy Acker and the Wolfram & Hart set from "Angel" again. And it was cool when the "Grr, argh" guy showed up at the end.

I promise, though, to watch the next episode with tyranist, and try and get into the show as best I can. After all, it hasn't been canceled . . . yet.


*It really freaks me out to see her face cut up like that. Her character on "Angel" was just so damn sweet (she was the Willow/Kaylee on that show) that I instantly feel protective of her. And yeah, I realise that I'm one of those fans who is blurring the line between reality and the characters she plays on TV. It reminds me of the time I was stuck in an elevator with Hugh Laurie and I asked him if he could take a look at my hemorrhoids.

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