Thursday, January 14, 2010
I have come to really enjoy the work of Joss Whedon, especially Firefly and Serenity, as well as Angel and Buffy, but I was somewhat hesitant to get too involved with his latest series, Dollhouse. Perhaps it was the title, although entirely apt for the show, that somehow shooed me away, as well as my hesitantcy to get too involved with television serials because of all my domestic responsibilities, and I hate missing shows (I tend to wait for dvds). When Dollhouse became available, at least season one, I snapped it up and was generally impressed, with the acting, story, production, just about everything. It amazes me that his shows do not seem to find long-lasting popular followings (though he has a steady, loyal fanbase); this series was just cancelled after its second season. Basically it is somewhat of an updated version of Westworld, with a dash of X-Files; humans looking to forget troubling episodes in their past volunteer to give their bodies to a corporation that wipes their minds and then selectively implants personalities to fit the needs of well heeled customers seeking singleminded and perfectly oriented "dolls" to achieve their fantasies or goals. Yes, very sinister and dark, and basically the organization is little more than a brothel, with some specialized services as well. Eliza Dushku is the main attraction as Echo, a troubled activist whose actions cost her a loved one, but something special about her brain fights against complete mental wipe and she increasingly rebels against her ensalvement. There is a very good cast: Harry Lennix as Echo's handler; Fran Kranz as a wacky and humorous genius who handles implanting the personalities; Tahmoh Penikett as an obsessed FBI agent determined to free Echo and bring down the dollhouse; Olivia Williams as the manager of the house; and Laurence Dominic as the stern assistant and head of security. My favorite however is the exotic Dichen Lachman, a Tibetan-Australian actress of long face and beautiful eyes. Many cast members have appeared in Whedon's other projects. One day Whedon will again get to display his talents for a longer running show. Moslty, I wish he could find a way to either revive Firefly, or manage to sell some spin-off of that series.