Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dollhouse, or "Fool Me Twice"

I would like to reference that old adage, "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Because when I think about what I have seen of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, it is the predominant thought that comes to mind.

I love Firefly. That being said, I do NOT feel let down by Dollhouse because I was expecting another Firefly. I feel let down by Dollhouse because Whedon walked right back into the same nightmare scenario Fox had set for him previously.

Bad omens were evident from episode one. Fox asked Whedon to scrap his pilot. That's where the big, red "DANGER" light went off in my head. Then, in the new premiere, instead of focusing on an over-arching plot, the first episode spent more time on Echo's one-shot mission with one-shot characters. (For further thoughts on one-shot stories, keep an eye out for my upcoming review of Nightmare Inspector on Manga Recon.) To keep things simple: any character that only exists for a single episode is going to wind up being forgettable.

The second episode brought some hope, as there were flashbacks regarding Alpha and his murder-spree in the Dollhouse. These were, however, forced to take a backseat to a (one-shot) take on The Most Dangerous Game. This also updated the "villain of the week" roster to two creepy men (week one was a teacher kidnapping a little girl, this was a man who brings girls into the wild and hunts them).

And then there was last week's episode. It was a disaster. My room-mates and I were mortified by the cliche-fest that occurred. EVERY trope imaginable was woven into the episode: the singer who is desperate for attention, the creepy stalker (thus continuing with the trend of male predators. I wonder who will be next week's villain? A boss who sexually harrasses his secretaries? A pimp? A MySpace user? There are just so many possibilities...), someone using the line "I want to live!"...the list goes on. For every glimmer of hope there was in week 2's flashbacks to Alpha, this episode had an equally awful moment to counter with. I'm not even sure how the crew could have performed it...the writing was embarrassing.

These self-contained episodes are mind-numbingly awful. Hell, even the actors say that the show is a mere shell of itself until the sixth episode.

You've been fooled by Fox twice, Joss. I'm sorry.

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