The World in the Satin Bag has moved to my new website.  If you want to see what I'm up to, head on over there!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Show Review: Dollhouse (Ep. 2)

The second episode of Dollhouse was released last Friday and I have a few thoughts. Firstly, I'm not giving up on the show just yet, but there are certainly some serious things working against it.

Whedon is a brilliant storyteller, there's no doubt about that, but Dollhouse is suffering from something I'd like to call "sitcom-ism." The story is developing slowly, at best, and the episodes thus far feel disconnected from one another when, for a show of this type, they should be following a noticeable plot-arc. The first episode was a throw-away, one which Whedon and the producers could toss out there to establish the central idea and let us know what is going on. The problem, however, is that the first episode shouldn't have been a throw-away. Whatever the FOX folks did to the first episode may have irreparably damaged the Dollhouse franchise.

The second episode probably should have been the first, because what it did was bring in an interesting story that, quite frankly, should have been a part of the whole idea in the first place. What happens when a company that imprints memories gets a glitch in the system and one of it's "products" goes haywire? Well, the answer to that is more interesting than the questions posed in the first episode; and that is the problem.

Dollhouse, essentially, is suffering from a problem of disconnection, where the episodes have connections that seem forced rather than fluid. Story lines that should be highlighted are given undeserved lesser treatment; the second episode pretty much established the first as a pointless waste of space. Yeah, we got to meet Echo and a couple of important characters, but now the story is conflicted by the disconnection between the Echo story and everything else. Whedon tried to bring them together, but thus far it isn't working. I want the Alpha story (the rogue doll) to become more important, but as of right now, it isn't. It's there to add back story and conflict that isn't conflict at all.

Perhaps I'm being harsh about Dollhouse, but I feel somewhat cheated at this point by Whedon. Firefly was brilliant: it never failed to highlight the important parts, or the most interesting parts. But Dollhouse isn't Firefly. It is missing something that Firefly had: charm and cohesiveness.

I'm not ready to give up on it yet, though. I'm hoping that the third episode will resolve some of the problems I see. I know sometimes it can take a while for a good show to come into its own. Perhaps that is what is happening here. To be honest, I think that Dollhouse could have benefited from a two-hour opener, much like Firefly seemed to benefit when seen on DVD. Generally I hate those two-hour deals, but I think it's possible it would work here.

What thoughts do you have on this? What do you think about Dollhouse?

Related Posts by Categories

Widget by Hoctro | Jack Book


  1. Honestly, I was not impressed by the first episode (my thoughts are here), and thought I've recorded the 2nd episode, I'm not sure I'll ever get around to watching it. There's just too many things competing for my time. (esp. when I have to finish reading Drood, lol!)

  2. It is noncohesive. Having faults in the programming is it's downfall. People want to believe that Dollhouse is a possibility & the story line is missing elements. We shall see how the rest of the episodes play out. Joss Whedon more recent series haven't had as much impact.

  3. I agree that episode 2 was better then 1. What I felt was missing the most though, was the classic Joss wit. I was hoping for a lot more humor. I've seen none so far at all.

  4. I heard that the second episode was actually supposed to be the first episode and they only reason they even got the go ahead was because they made a new 'pilot' to precede the original pilot...

    Bummer it's as obvious as it appears to have been. I still need to watch both.

  5. drey: I think the first episode by itself was okay. It wasn't great or amazing, but not bad, per se. The second episode is an improvement, but in the overall structure, it doesn't fit. That's the problem, I think.

    TruGenius: I'm hoping ep. 3 can save it for me. I'm exceedingly picky about my television. And I mean PICKY. Right now there are only three shows I watch religiously: Family Guy, American Dad, and Battlestar Galactica. One of those is ending, so I'll be down to two...but no new shows have managed to catch my attention in the last few years and BSG is a relatively new development for me.

    Karabu: I think the wit is gone primarily because Dollhouse is meant to be a more serious show. What wit is there is somewhat dark in nature. We'll see if it will work in Ep. 3.

    LoopdiLou: Then it should have been the original pilot in the first place. Make it an hour and a half, toss in necessary elements to set the premise, and then get into the damned story. FOX is full of idiots...