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Second Chances

2010-12-17

When Joss Whedon's Dollhouse first came out - I took it at face value. I knew that Eliza Dushku had a deal with Fox, and that Whedon enjoyed writing for her and watching her play different types of people. The rest kind of naturally fell in to place. The show itself felt kind of disjointed, with lots of buzz about what 'executives' wanted behind the scenes. I really feel that the faceless executives often get blamed for when an artist's work doesn't live up to the expectations. 'They were held back.' 'Bad scheduling.' 'Had to appeal to too many audiences.' etc. etc.

I was in Texas a few weeks ago, unable to sleep but with Netflix on the tube, and saw that Dollhouse was streaming. Both seasons, in full, including the hidden 'Epitaph One' episode. I decided to give it another swing. 

This time though, I had no expectations. I knew what I was in for - I've seen almost every episode of the show already. But I wasn't thinking 'new Whedon TV! glee!' I was thinking, 'I'm going to go brain dead for a little while watching some cool fights and pretty girls and whedon dialogue.'

About three episodes in, I knew I was in for the long haul. Not all at once a la Lost, but when the urge hit I'd pop in another episode and eventually go all the way to the end. What could it hurt?

I've just wrapped episode 11 of Season 1, and I think that everyone that was 'let down' by the show - people who are real fans of the genre - should give it a second look. Take away the fact that it was the guy who brought you Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. Forget that he loves strong women characters and witty repartee, and all those things that make us love Joss Whedon.

Just go look at it as a TV show.

The storylines are heady sci-fi, full of twists and turns. Most of the characters are three-dimensional and are interesting to learn about. The performances are mostly solid, with brief moments of real brilliance peppered throughout (Victor, why have we not seen more of you?) Mix that in with some great combat, good looking people, and one giant long-form story - what sci-fi geek wouldn't watch that show?

Tell me episode six (you know the one) didn't blow your mind. Tell me in episode 11, when Alpha was revealed and he and Echo hop in to the elevator, you're not dying to pop the next episode in immediately. 

I can't really give perspective on the second season yet - but I can tell you that a good sci-fi show was buried beneath the usual internet deluge of talkbacks, theorizing, and expectations. And if you go look at it now - even if you've seen it before - you're in for quite a treat.

Enjoy the show.