Wednesday, September 09, 2009

In my search for TV shows to catch up on to spec, I picked up on Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. I was a big fan of Firefly and Serenity. I never watched Buffy, mostly I think because I had an irrational childhood fear of vampires and because I think Buffy is a stupid name for a girl, but now that I'm a fan of David Boreanaz on Bones, I might give it a try. I knew very little about Dollhouse, only that it was given a surprise second chance when it came to renewals.

Hulu only had the most recent five episodes up, which makes for a confusing start into a series. After the first couple of episodes I could tell why it was in danger of being canceled. Something was definitely missing. I pressed on, thinking maybe it was the other seven episodes I hadn't gotten to see. By episode 11, I had figured out the problem and was a little surprised that no one had spotted it the initial writing stage.

The entire show is about Echo/Caroline, right, and her experiences in the Dollhouse. However, at some point during every episode, Echo gets erased. The main character of the show is never the same character. And the only persistent personality, Echo in her childlike stage, is mostly inactive. By episode 11, I was emotionally invested in some of the characters, Paul, Dr. Saunders, Topher, even Adelle. I just wasn't invested in Echo. I felt pretty clever about figuring out Dollhouse's problem, stumped at why Joss Whedon hadn't seen it coming - until, of course, I saw an article about how Whedon had recognized that problem and was committed to fixing it.

And then I watched the season one finale. And while it wasn't the end-all of season finales, it was pretty darn good. But better than just it being good in it of itself, it did what a good season finale should - it promised a better second season. Some conflicts resolved, which means new conflict next season, new revelations and questions, moments of hope, and, more importantly, a promise that Echo will have a real character.

Though I suppose I won't bump the ratings all by myself, will I?

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