12 Days Of Netflix Finds: Dollhouse


Genre:  Television Series – Fantasy/Action Adventure/Suspense
Rating:  5/5 Stars
Recommended To:  Joss Whedon fans who’ve somehow avoided it; fans of Profiler, X-Files or Tru Calling; people who enjoy fantasy/sci-fi that has intense character development and exploration of human relationships/interaction
Special Warnings: sexual assault; exploitation/human trafficking elements; domestic-type violence

I am a huge fan of Joss Whedon’s work, and adore Eliza Dushku, so you would think that this show and I would have been joined at the hip from its premiere date. Sadly, not so: not only did I not have cable access (and being in Canada, where Hulu etc. block our asses, streams are not as readily available), but I was underwhelmed by the first episode  and only moderately interested in the second.  I decided to wait for the boxset, and um… forgot.  I bought season one several months ago, but being me, it was lost in the disaster shuffle that is our media shelf.

It’s a huge shame, because I LOVE this show.  Hardcore.

Let me preface with this: Fox forced Whedon to change the pilot around, and to me, it shows.  Having now seen the original pilot, I don’t think either was perfect, but the original felt a little more “Joss”.  Why Fox continues to contract this genius for shows and then fuck with them/put them at the worst time slots ever/cancel them, I do not know.  Thus, I urge this:  stay with it for four episodes.  By then, you’ve got a strong sense of the show’s direction, mythology and promise.

Dollhouse is centred around a pet project of the Rossum Corporation, the Dollhouse.  People with criminal pasts… enemies of Rossum… people with traumatic events they’d as soon as erase… all are sought out and brought to the Dollhouse where they sign their lives away for five years in exchange for an obscene payout of cash and other terms negotiated.  In signing their lives away, their memories are erased and stored, data on a hard drive, and their brains outfitted to be programmed on a whim for the obnoxiously wealthy.  Want a perfect girlfriend? Order up a doll.  Want to spend time with your dead wife? They can program a doll to be her for you.

Echo, played by Eliza Dushku, is one such doll.  The trouble is, something isn’t quite right with Echo:  she’s no longer “wiping” properly.  Memories remain – skills, glimmers – including her own true self.  And with an FBI Agent determined to find the Doll Formerly Known As Caroline, you know shit’s going to hit the fan…

And that’s just one small piece of the puzzle.

Similar in structure to X-Files and Buffy, in that there is usually a ‘story of the week’ with overarching mythology, Dollhouse will have you shaking your head, screaming, “WTF?” at the TV.  My fiance lost sleep marathoning six episodes in a row, because he HAD to know what was next.  I, too, marathoned the entire series in four days.  It’s like fandom crack.  The cast is fan-fricking-tastic – I especially love Topher, Priya/Sierra and Dr.Saunders.

Joss Whedon is indeed my master.  Now, let him be yours…

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