Joss Whedon trades on the goodwill he's built over the years making such interesting series as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Doctor Horrible, and hands us... this.
So, what do I think of Dollhouse?
I think it's fantastically overthought. And this is from me, the most fantastical overthinker you know. (Hmm. That could be my new supervillian name...) This is obviously a concept that Whedon has thought about and thought about and ruminated on for about a decade, and in most things that have been overthought, all the OOoomph has been filtered out of it.
First, we have a horrifying concept turned rather mundane. Imagine if you had your memories wiped and substituted with some amalgam of personalities? This is a shocking and repulsive attack on individuality- rendered flat by overprocessing.
Second, there's also the wish-fulfillment aspect. If I could (without losing 'self') download skills and abilities instantly into my brain, I would. But in making Echo and her siblings "blanks", Whedon has taken all the thrill out of the idea.
Third, although there are questions raised, there's very little mystery to this episode. It's all so matter-of-fact and glossy that no little bits of curiousity stick.
Fourth, there is no fourth. This ordinal left intentionally blank.
Fifth, The FBI subplot is so sub you can barely tell it's there. Other than Helo making somebody pee their shoes, and a boxing match showing the emotional impact of a really predictable meeting, (You know. Substituting intercut blurry metaphorical cutaways for acting and directing...)
Sixth, it's almost as if Whedon came up with an idea for a show where the star of the show would also be the 'special guest star'. If Dushku can show some range this season, it's like an Emmy showcase. Or it's an attempt to do Repertoire Theatre as a TV show.
Sixth and a half: Coincidentally, I've often blue-skied with RB 3 about Repertoire TV. We never came up with this idea, which is rather odd since we've come up with so MANY ideas that got ripped off.....
Seventh: Do you get the feeling that Joss cast Helo as his FBI guy because Nathan Fillion was busy?
Eighth: It was good to see Fred again. Honestly, I think she'd make a better 'Active' than Faith.
Soooo. If we have Echo and Sierra, is the next one in line Foxtrot? As in... trotting off of the Fox network schedule?
I hear it gets better.
I hope so.