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Docteur Qui

Joss Whedon's Dollhouse

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Yes folks, it's finally happened. After the tragedy that was Firefly's axing and its brilliant movie followup - and a very long hiatus - Joss Whedon is ready to return to television with a brand spankin' new show called Dollhouse. Check out Whedonesque for more!

Here's the description of the show:
Echo (Eliza Dushku) [is] a young woman who is literally everybody's fantasy. She is one of a group of men and women who can be imprinted with personality packages, including memories, skills, language—even muscle memory—for different assignments. The assignments can be romantic, adventurous, outlandish, uplifting, sexual and/or very illegal. When not imprinted with a personality package, Echo and the others are basically mind-wiped, living like children in a futuristic dorm/lab dubbed the Dollhouse, with no memory of their assignments—or of much else. The show revolves around the childlike Echo's burgeoning self-awareness, and her desire to know who she was before, a desire that begins to seep into her various imprinted personalities and puts her in danger both in the field and in the closely monitored confines of the Dollhouse.

Yes, you read right. Eliza Dushku! The only thing that could top this is if Nathan Fillion is somehow involved.

Now there is some... other news. Yes, it seems it will be a FOX show, and as we all know that's not the most desirable after what happened with Firefly. But they've already commited to seven episodes which is news in iteslf, and Joss himself said "it's a completely new bunch of people, and from what I’ve seen, a fairly impressive bunch"

Maybe there is hope for the network which seems to be a gaping black hole of crappy shows.

So yeah. FREAKING AWESOME!!

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Yes, you read right. Eliza Dushku! The only thing that could top this is if Nathan Fillion is somehow involved.

Well it's not him but there is another name you missed: Tim Minear (who started out as a producer on Angel and was Joss' right hand on Firefly). Hopefully we'll also see a reunion of regular Joss writers: David Fury, Drew Goddard, Drew Z. Greenberg, Jane Espenson, Doug Petrie...

Very exciting news!

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I'm detecting the sarcasm, but not sure where it's directed. Are you implying Whedon's one of those TV creators who create fads without substance? Or that the new generation of audiences will mistake his use of genre and serial television in storytelling as a rip-off of Abrams, who came after him with inferior (though nonetheless excellent) shows?

Either way, he's the best thing to happen to television since Star Trek.

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Upping this thread. (Man, it has been a long time since the announcement, hasn't it?) But it's finally here: Dollhouse premiers this Friday night, after the return of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. And I can't wait!

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Upping this thread. (Man, it has been a long time since the announcement, hasn't it?) But it's finally here: Dollhouse premiers this Friday night, after the return of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. And I can't wait!

And here I thought I was the only one who watched that show. :) Too bad it's ratings are plummeting.

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I'm really looking forward to some new Joss goodness but I'm also approaching this cautiously. The reports of production problems and just the fact this is Fox is damping my enthusiasm.

Any of my fellow Joss fans reading the Buffy season 8 comics? I'm only buying the omnibus volumes so I'm up to the end of Wolves at the Gate (vol. 3), and I'm loving every frame (Is that the right term? These are actually the first comics I've ever really read).

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You're in for a treat then. Personally I consider season 5 to be Buffy's finest, just over the generally accepted "greatest" season 3. The last few mintues of the finale are possibly the most emotional I've ever seen.

And panel, then. Duly noted from the comic rookie.

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Either way, he's the best thing to happen to television since Star Trek.

I'm not looking to start an argument, but seriously, that statement is all kinds of wrong. I can understand if you say he's the best thing to happen to genre television since Star Trek. I wouldn't agree though, for the reasons below:

Star Trek: TNG

Star Trek: DS9

Babylon 5

Batman: The Animated Series

Blake's Seven

The X-Files (even though it got pretty bad post-season 3)

No offence intended here, but this seems to be a common thing between Whedonites, Trekkies, SW nerds, LOTR geeks, and other franchise guys (even Dr Who fans): that their's is the best, they won't take criticism on it, and that there's no comparison. Some of Buffy I will admit was great (season 3 was a knockout), and that is coming from someone who can't stand Whedon's writing, but objectively, that's a pretty tall statement to make and might have had a bit more backup had ALIEN not existed.

And that's not even mentioning stuff like The Simpsons.

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I enjoyed the first episode enough that even if this were not a Joss Whedon show, I would watch at least one or two more episodes. Given that it is a Whedon show, I'll watch every episode, no matter which direction the quality goes; he's earned that kind of patience from me.

But it was kinda mediocre. Not so much so that I was ever bored or anything; and there were certainly seeds aplenty to indicate that there is a good series that could happen.

Some of the reviews I've read have stressed how silly it is that this company imprints people to do tasks that could porbably be done more efficiently by real people. Well, that's probably true, but I really don't care. All I care about is that once the story has been set up and established, that the show not violate its own rules. Somebody asks in the Dollhouse pilot why billionaires wouldn't just buy the "real" versions of what they're buying from Dollhouse, and Helo tells me, essentially, that people buy those services from Dollhouse because they're bored and in search of something they know they shouldn't have. Same reason why a wealthy person gets caught shoplifting, in other words.

I'm fine with that explanation, because it's obviously the truth. A strange, nonsensical truth, but a truth nonetheless.

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I'm not surprised. The buzz from the start has ranged from middling to bad, and the behind the scenes stories that have been leaking out have pointed to Fox doing it to Joss again.

Plus I'm not sure about the whole concept to begin with, I have a hard time seeing how it sustains itself for very long. It's looking more and more like Elisha Dushku talking Joss into giving her a vehicle to show off her acting chops and little else.

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Well, the second episode was better than the first at least

Another BSG vet showed up, Romo Lamkin was talking to Helo

I like the plot they are building about Alpha much more than the plot they are trying to do with creepy naked guy sending Helo photos of Echo

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Serenity is far from being "brilliant". Artistically, the movie failed because it compromised itself by trying to appeal two different target groups: the fans of the series (who wanted a continuation of their murdered show) and the clueless filmgoer.

Alex

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Serenity is far from being "brilliant". Artistically, the movie failed because it compromised itself by trying to appeal two different target groups: the fans of the series (who wanted a continuation of their murdered show) and the clueless filmgoer.

Alex

The clueless filmgoer lost because the movie sucked.

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OK, I've finally gotten around to seeing episode 2. It is indeed a massive improvement over the pilot. The whole Dollhouse universe just got much, much more interesting. I won't be blowing off this week's episode.

I like the plot they are building about Alpha much more than the plot they are trying to do with creepy naked guy sending Helo photos of Echo

That's Alpha too, I'm sure.

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Wow, somehow I hadn't thought of that. Makes sense, they purposely didn't show either's face. Probably haven't cast the actor yet, like Sylar in the first half of season 1 of Heroes

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From an AV Club interview with Eliza:

I understand it from a business perspective, and from Fox’s view, but at the same time, we’ve now done 13 episodes, and people have said that the show took off once they finally realized that Joss is best off left alone to do his thing. That happens around episode six—six through 13 are just extraordinary. I love one, two, three, four, and five, but Joss’ first script that he did after the pilot is number six, which is called “Man On The Street,” and it is just unbelievable. From that point on, the world unfolds in Joss’ way, with Joss’ speed, and it’s really remarkable.

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The third episode kinda clicked with me. It wasn't a great episode, exactly, but it had one tremendously effective reveal (Victor's identity), and it seemed like a good blueprint for what the show could be week in and week out. The diva-in-distress story was utterly ridiculous, but it was executed fairly well, and as a result, the episode feels like it was better than it really should have been. Put another way, this episode felt as if the conceit of the series worked for the episode rather than against it; this, in my opinion, was not the case with episodes one and two, so therefore, this episode felt like a big step forward.

If what Dushku says is accurate, then it cause to be both very excited and very fearful: excited that the series may be quickly morphing into the kinda of quality product I've come to expect from Joss Whedon, and fearful that the poor ratings will kill the series right when it starts to turn that corner.

Best case scenario at this point is that Fox is actively trying to cultivate a relationship with Whedon, and is committed to that relationship that they're willing to give the show a second season to try and grow it into a hit. And who knows, maybe that's exactly what will happen. It's been eons since Fox had a hit on Friday night, so maybe they're not actually all that disappointed with the ratings so far. Provided the ratings don't get much worse, if the show were to run its 13-episode-first-season course, turn into something genuinely good over that span of episodes, and then generate some buzz over the summer and with the first set of DVDs, then it's certainly possible to imagine the show turning into a moderate success during a second season.

Here's hoping that's what happens, and that next season will find Dollhouse airing back-to-back with Ronald D. Moore's Virtuality, which Fox still hasn't committed to taking to series.

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Was anybody else confused by some things in this weeks episode? Why did Sierra get dizzy in the gym in the beginning? Why did Echo shake her head "no" to her when they walked by each other at the end?

What that the horny neighbor that went to visit Helo in the hospital at the end, but he didn't know she was there?

Anybody else think Amy Acker's character (doctor with scars on her face) won't be on the show for long since she's a recurring guest star and not a series regular?

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Was anybody else confused by some things in this weeks episode? Why did Sierra get dizzy in the gym in the beginning? Why did Echo shake her head "no" to her when they walked by each other at the end?

Not confused at all. There was nothing in any of the three episodes to indicate what those things mean, therefore they must be ongoing mysteries that will inform what's going on in later episodes.

What that the horny neighbor that went to visit Helo in the hospital at the end, but he didn't know she was there?

I'm intrigued by that plotline; it seems like something that could lead nowhere, but with Joss Whedon, you never know. He'll probably kill her, likely in some brutal and horrifying fashion.

Anybody else think Amy Acker's character (doctor with scars on her face) won't be on the show for long since she's a recurring guest star and not a series regular?

That is suspicious; I had the same thought about Reed Diamond.

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Helo doesn't strike me as a murdering type. It wouldn't surprise me if she's another active, though, there to simply figure out what he knows (where as the russian active guy is there to lead Helo down the wrong path)

I did read that the actress playing the neighbor was originally cast as another doll, November, but with all the re-writes after Fox didn't like the pilot they ended up having to drop the character, but Whedon liked her so much he cast her as the neighbor.

I also think it's kind of weird that they seem to already be starting the "Echo is starting to become aware" plot, that we all knew the show would do eventually, so early in the show's run.

Kendal, thanks for that informative post above about episode #6 onward!

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Tonight's was OK. The Helo/Russian subplot is moving pretty slowly. The actives being drawn to each other despite memory wipes is interesting. Alpha being a super-smart programmer was... odd. I dunno. Next week's episode looks stupid.

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I enjoyed this episode. I was probably most gratified by the way they used Sierra: programming her with the same personality we'd seen Echo with for the first part of the episode was cool, and a good way of showing how completely dependent upon the programming the Actives' actions are. A little compare and contrast never hurts.

I also liked how bad-ass Harry Lennix was in this episode. For a while there, I was having trouble not picturing his Little Britain U.S.A. skits, but that seems to have totally evaporated at some point.

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I haven't watched television for a long time and due to this thread I've been watching these episodes online. Personally, I've been enjoying them. I've become annoyed that at the end of every episode Echo has to do something to show that she 'retained' something from her most recent mission. I get it, somehow something is becoming more deeply rooted or she's not being completely wiped. Aside from that, it seems like the weekly missions could become mildly redundant as the writers try to build up the hype to the introduction of Alpha.

Nonetheless, I'll keep watching for now. I am curious where it will go.

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I've been keeping up, just not posting. I thought eps 2 and 3 were a significant step forward, the whole universe became much more interesting. Last week's felt a bit more like running in place, but it was still decent. I'm still a bit disappointed that it doesn't have Joss' usual snappy one liners (but going for a different feel is not a bad thing at all), and in the end it might turn out to be Joss' most intricately plotted show ever, there's lots of little things going on right now.

Next week looks right dumb, unless the previews are very misleading.

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Well, like John said, the premise looked iffy... but I actually thought "True Believer" turned out to be a pretty good episode. The cult plot worked fine, I thought. And there's some fun stuff with Topher & Saunders too.

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And, all of a sudden, I'm totally hooked on this series.

It was a pretty damn good episode. No surprise, since it was written by Tim Minear; he's no slouch. There was a crispness, an exactness, to the writing that had really not been present in the episodes prior to this one. And, finally, some Whedonesque humor!

Actively looking forward to next week. Pun intended.

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So, yeah... "Man on the Street" was awesome. Blows the other episodes out of the water. This is the show I've been waiting to see!

And I thought Patton Oswalt was great. He's one of those actors that just perfectly clicks with Joss's style. I hope he'll use him again in the future.

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(1) Yes, that was an excellent episode, period. This is why I will probably never EVER give up on a Joss Whedon show.

(2) God damn it, this thing had better get a second season. Unless the rest of the episodes suck, it's going to break my heart a little bit for this one to get cancelled.

(3) I understand Fox wanting to keep momentum going, but it's a real shame that this aired against the series finale of Battlestar Galactica. I'll bet anything that kills the ratings for "Man on the Street," and that's an utter shame.

(4) I'd been thinking Melanie was going to be anything but a throwaway character, but I'd written her off as another sleeper Active. Wrong. Doesn't feel cheap at all, either.

(5) Olivia Williams is awesome.

(6) Tahmoh Penikett is awesome.

(7) Harry Lennix is awesome.

(8) Eliza Dushku...? Awesome. And that surprises me. But now, I'm pretty well convinced of it.

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(3) I understand Fox wanting to keep momentum going, but it's a real shame that this aired against the series finale of Battlestar Galactica. I'll bet anything that kills the ratings for "Man on the Street," and that's an utter shame.

Yeppers.

I'll be watching this online today or tomorrow. Looking forward to it even more now. And starting next week Joss gets my 100% attention on Friday nights.

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I too thought this week's episode was very awesome, and has totally made me not want to give up on the show

So, theories as to who the mole is in the LA Dollhouse that quickly added code to Echo's hard drive when Topher was in the hallway talking to Boyd? I wouldn't be surprised if Boyd ended up being involved, as he is the one that got Topher to leave the room

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