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December 04 2008

(SPOILER) TIME magazine reviews Dollhouse. TIME got a Screener of Dollhouse.

I've come across many people thinking Eliza is not up for so many different roles, I really don't see why people think she isn't a great actress.
Thanks for adding the spoiler tag, Gossi. I got a little more than I wanted about the first episode as I read the review, but I am extremely spoiler-phobic.

On the other hand, the review seemed balanced, and it addressed the one fear I have had. As much as I like ED, I've never thought she had quite the acting range that Joss keeps saying she has. I'm certainly open to having my opinion reversed, and I hope it will be over the course of the series. But I wholeheartedly agree with wanting to see what Joss does with this week by week.

ETA: PHM's comment was posted as I wrote. Interesting that both of us addressed the same point, but with opposite viewpoints.

[ edited by palehorse on 2008-12-05 00:55 ]
I'm concerned about the reviewer's not completely digging Eliza's performance--but I'm sure it's nothing to be too worried about.
Haha, hive mind. Anyway, it's not that I think she's that great, it's just that I think some people are judging prematurely that she's gonna ruin the series. In all honesty I don't know if she has a great range, I just think she has done some great performances.
Of course, it's also possible that one example of an actor playing roles we're not used to them playing isn't enough to snap someone out of familiarity. I've had shows before where it took me a bit to not see an actor as "that actor I've seen before, but with a different outfit".

That said, this for me has always been the biggest gamble for Dollhouse. All other matters aside, in a real way the show lives or dies, creatively speaking, on Eliza's ability to pull this off. But from the start, I've been impressed just by the willingness and the desire on her part to try.

There are a lot of actors out there who never want to be pushed at all, and who certainly don't push themselves.
Everything b!X just said.

Also, I was hoping FOX would just put this episode online, on Hulu, to stop the screener leaking and them having no control over it (plus, buzz). Countdown to screener leak in torrent form begins..
I skimmed through this review because I don't want to know too much about the pilot if a screener is ever sent to my radio station. It seems, though, that the reviewer has doubts about whether Eliza can play any role and literally be anyone, as an Active should. Well, it's only one episode, and she could surprise us. How else is she going to show her range?
I've gotta lot of faith in Eliza - I always thought she was one of the most interesting actors to come out of Joss' shows, and that's saying a lot, considering the company. She was practically a child when she joined BtVS, and I though she hit her stride fast.

Obviously, she's got a lot riding on her, but I think she's got... "mad skilz." ; >
I think Eliza has mad charisma! Whether or not she's versatile, well, we shall see! But I totally believe in her ability to dominate the screen and demand the viewer's empathy.
Is it my imagination or is this interview with MoviesOnline the first time anyone has said that (yes, spoiler, really, I'm serious) ?
Oops, Eliza. (in reference to b!x's link). Dollhouse (the show) is more of a mindfuck than people realise.
Wow! I don't recall ever hearing this before, although it is possible I missed it - though I'd be really, really surprised if I did. It was hard to tell when that MoviesOnline thing was from, b!X, although I assume because of its main subject it was pretty recent.

That opens up interesting story possibilities, dunnit?
I think that Eliza has a lot of untapped potential, and while her performances may not be outstanding in the beginning phases of this show (purely speculation mind you, they may be outstanding), I think there is a lot of room for her to grow. Joss seems to bring out the best in his actors, pushing them to the limits. I believe that as this show progresses (if given the chance) she may very well may an amazing actor.

I remember first watching Buffy season one and not being all too impressed with the acting, especially on the part of SMG. But boy, look at how she grew by the time the show ended!

I have seen performances by Eliza that have amazed me (5x5, for example) and performances that left me going "meh." But I also think that she hasn't had much to work with over the years. I love her willingness to try new things, and I think that her open-mindedness, mixed with Joss' writing/direction will produce amazing things.
Whoa. Bix, that's the first time I've heard of that. But pretty cool, if true.

As far as Eliza goes... well, let me put it this way. Joss Whedon saw something in David Boreanaz that I couldn't begin to see until Angel was well on way. Now look at DB in Bones; he's really developed into the fine actor that Joss saw in him years ago.

Eliza has some great moments in the Buffy & Angel worlds, and I've seen her character Faith grow in ways I couldn't belive, flip on a dime, mature, and yet still be Faith. And Faith was a side character.

I can't wait to see her fulfill the potential that Joss sees in her.

One cool thing about playing many characters- it's hard to call faul on OOC moments. ;)
Korkster, I think we had the same thought at the same moment :-P
It's a good review, but I have to say that the serial-procedural hybrid did indeed come to life thanks in big part to Joss Whedon. I never quite understood why most people are under the impression that his shows were as mythology-heavy as something like Lost or Prison Break where, in fact, they resembled more the Pushing Daisies formula.

As a matter of fact, Dollhouse sounds exactly like a show Joss would run.
Wow, again re: spoiler. The more I think about it, the more I realize that that indeed is major. I bet Joss will want to put all of us - including Eliza - in the chair and mind-wipe us.
What spoiler? I didn't see any spoiler. Hey, why is my bed a hole in the floor?
I'm very excited and have faith in Joss& Eliza but just like all his other shows with each episode it will build.
I can't imagine anyone who looks like Eliza Dushku being a completely "disappear into the role" actor--she has a very distinctive face. But once we're seeing that face as Echo's instead of ED's, I don't think it's going to be a problem.

And I'm completely in the same camp as the reviewer when it comes to Firefly. When I started it (even though I was watching it in order on the DVD), I thought it was worth watching but nothing close to Buffy. By the time I got to the end, I was deeply in love with everyone on board. Joss knows how to do that. I'm not expecting to be awed by the first episode of Dollhouse, but I am expecting to be pulled in after a few episodes.

Yes, I read this in spite of the spoiler tag. And I even read b!X's inviso-text. And I've been so good up to now!
Joss has a knack for getting exceptional performances out of actors who may not have had the chance to show their range. If people judged Sarah Michelle Gellar only by her performances in the Scooby-Doo movies, they would never know what she's capable of. Look at how David Boreanaz has evolved over the years.

I can't wait to see what happens.
I didn't read the spoiler bix linked to, but gossi's comment about this being a mindfuck bodes well for me enjoying the show. Bring it on, Dollhouse.
I think ED is underrated and given this opportunity to work with Joss in a lead role will develop skills that will surprise people. I'm still very excited about dollhouse.
Eliza was so completely Faith in Buffy/Angel, that I can see people having a hard time imaging that she can portray another persona. But think back to "Who Are You" with Eliza as Buffy, stuck in Faith's body. Particularly when she runs in on Giles and tries to convince him she's really Buffy ("What's a stevedore?"). I think you get a sense that she does have that range.
"Buffy, stuck in Faith's body"

Went to a special mental place...

Sorry, I'm back. I have no doubt that Eliza will be awesome in this series. As Barboo pointed out, she was did wonderful job as Buffy.
I found one reference on Twitter to someone claiming to be watching the episode back on November 25th. In which case, where TF is it online already? ;)

ETA that I don't think crazygolfa's "special place" was in his mental.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2008-12-05 05:15 ]
To be honest I haven't seen Eliza in much. I remember when the spoilers went up over the summer after Buffy Season 2 (and you better believe I was on the edge of my computer chair every second I wasn't at horse camp, looking for ANY news of Angel) and the buzz was she was the new slayer. There was one grainy black and white of her and not much else to be found. Faith was very fun and I liked her a lot more than I thought I would. I was always happy to see her pop up in Angel and later seasons of Buffy, she brought a lot.

I've seen Eliza Dushku in Bring It On, where she played Faith as a cheerleader, and Wrong Turn, where she played Faith in a horror movie. But to be fair I don't think those roles were designed to show any range. I have a sneaking suspicion she was cast in those roles based on her Faith character.

I never saw Tru Calling. In "Who Are You" I felt SMG outshined her just a bit. When I saw her as Faith, it WAS Faith, but the scenes with ED were more jarring for me mentally.

That said, she doesn't have to be Cate Blanchett for me to like this show. Whether it will do what she's hoping it will do, I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it will do what I hope it will do, which is entertain me completely and fulfill my desire to have a Joss Whedon show back on my TV, so I can spend future summers lying awake wondering about the fate of fictional characters.
B!x's spoiler is killing me over here. But I will not highlight, I will not highlight.


I also can't decide if I should read the Time article. How bad is it? I don't mind things like premise details--I just don't want to know about major twists in the episode and stuff like that. "In this episode, Echo must be a sexy nurse in order to seduce, then assassinate, the evil Doctor of the west." That I can deal with.
Hmmm. *wonders if Jobo is a doctor. Out west.* ;)
I do like the reviewer commented on how one episode of Firefly didn't sell him on the series... actually I think one episode of any show hasn't sold me on the entire series.
I think the one show where the pilot sold me on the series is Lost. In my opinion the Lost pilot is an outstanding piece of television, virtualy perfect. From that moment on I was destined to be in agony whenever it wasn't on the air. (Like right now.)

As for Buffy, as a twelve year old who watched 'Welcome To The Hellmouth' when it premiered I have to say I'm pretty sure I knew that it would be my favorite show for a long time. 11 years and counting. 16 years if you factor in that I saw the Buffy movie in the theatres at age 7. Jeepers I hope my math is right.

Anywho, I like Eliza, she was never my favorite actress on the show but I think she always did a great job. I'm excited to see her play some characters that are the complete opposite of Faith. Let's say I have 'faith' in her abilities.
A scene with a skeptical colleague addresses head-on a basic implausibility of the premise: why the hell does a billionaire need to turn to some kind of bizarre sci-fi brianwashing whorehouse to get the perfect date, or the perfect crime investigator, or the perfect whatever, when they can perfectly easily go out and hire one who hasn't had their personality wiped?

I've been wondering that too when I read the script for whatever episode it was that got canned. Unless the Dollhouse has been going on for a lot longer than people originally thought. Oohhhh ancient conspiracy type thing.
I kind of like the shorthand of the answer to that implausibility, though, which the review also mentions.

My own personal implausibility issue is: Won't the actives at some point be seen, just accidentally, by the same bystanders more than once, and won't at least some of them realize they seem to think they aren't the same people as before?

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2008-12-05 08:38 ]
The One True b!X says:

My own personal implausibility issue is: Won't the actives at some point be seen, just accidentally, by the same bystanders more than once, and won't at least some of them realize they seem to think they aren't the same people as before?

Not necessarily. LA is a city of several million people, who don't usually ever meet each other unless they're part of a circle or close neighborhood in some way.
You know regarding the spoiler if Eliza is revealing it in an interview, perhaps not that big of a deal after all?
My own personal implausibility issue is: Won't the actives at some point be seen, just accidentally, by the same bystanders more than once, and won't at least some of them realize they seem to think they aren't the same people as before?

Since their minds are wiped at the end of every mission it wouldn't really matter if that happens every now and then. Maybe that's what happens to Echo, she starts to remember several people saying "Hey, I know you!"
zz9, I think he was referring to them appearing to others, externally, rather than to each other. That would certainly be damaging if it happened but seems unlikely.

edited because I turned it completely inside-out.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2008-12-05 10:51 ]
I like this review. All of Joss' shows had a rocky time of it at the beginning (though, of course, had "Serenity" aired first instead of "The Train Job," I couldn't say that). But there's also a quick course correction. So...I'm just happy it's getting out there and people are seeing it.

And, uh, yeah. When's that screener gonna leak?
Well, I remember that last year, the pilot of New Amsterdam, which was a midseason Fox show with a premiere date set somewhere between end of February/beginning of March, was leaked just around this time, so hopefully, the Dollhouse pilot will also leak soon. ]:->
I bet Joss will want to put all of us - including Eliza - in the chair and mind-wipe us.

Will? Try has! *spooky music*
I've come across four or five people in my life that look frighteningly like my friend Andi. I've stumbled upon other dopplegangers of other associates. I don't see a huge issue with the bystanders.
Plus--different hairdo. They'll never recognize her!
(Hey, if Clark Kent can run around not being recognized...)
I've been a fan of Eliza since her small but important part as the daughter in "True Lies." When she made her entrance in Season 3, with a breezy "You're Buffy, right?" I thought she got her Faith character cold -- the opposite of Buffy in many ways but also a complement to her, or maybe Buffy's dark side. The switch episodes, followed by Faith's run to L.A. and appearance on Angel, are superb and Eliza really brings off every step of Faith's journey -- from awakening in the hospital, to her confrontation with Joyce and her kidnapping by the Watchers' goons, to Riley and a glimpse of what it is to be loved, to the fight in the church, her self-hate, her surrender. If Eliza plays 20 characters on Dollhouse, she'll be just as good.
Nobody's mentioning Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back!
As long as the reviewer is hooked by the first episode (for Joss' writing), there is a chance that further episodes will cause him to rethink Eliza's range. As other people point out, she has a distinctive voice and look. Using the example of "Buffy in Faith's body", the acting will likely come from different mannerisms and emotional reactions, rather than a chameleon physical appearance. Which fits in with the premise of the Dolls.

This has me thinking about other actors who were so good in their specific roles, that people were accusing them of being bad actors. It took seeing them in real life, or in a different role, to realize that they really are acting and not like that in real life. (Getting used to Marsters' and Denisof's "fake" California accents after hearing their English accents for many seasons. Acker going from Texan scientist to Illyria, and kicking ass in "The Girl in Question". Boreanaz: S1 repressed Angel versus outgoing Booth.)
Nobody's mentioning Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back!

I thought of it. Mostly because I rewatched it this weekend and had forgotten she was even in it. She was good in that, as far as the role would allow.
It was fun/funny, but as Sunfire sats, its not the world's most strenuous acting gig.
Actually I think she was the only one who played the action chick parody with any substance. She just didn't get much screentime or many lines, so her effect on things was pretty weak. The tone of that movie didn't quite work outside of all the cameos and bits of storylines with the other Askewniverse characters. I think if Kevin Smith had written the jewel thieves better and gotten Eliza to play Justice, it could've been worlds better and still a really funny parody. He's great at writing men who are both real and ridiculus, and women who are either real or ridiculous. I haven't seen the new movie yet, but to date I don't think he's combined real and ridiculous for women very well.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-12-05 16:38 ]
She had to run a lot in Tru Calling. Lets not forget she was good with the running.
"Buffy, stuck in Faith's body"

Went to a special mental place...

crazygolfa, you are an evil person. ;)
"Bye, Bye Love," people! C'mon!
Lets not forget she was good with the running.

Are we talking Baywatch-running? ...Now I'm thinking of Faith's dance-fu in "Five by Five".
I love the dance-fu!
No one mentioned Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back because of course that is the only Kevin Smith movie I dislike, and everyone was trying to be nice.

That's why, right?
Seriously now, Internet. What is up? Let's go.
Not sure why this writer has such a problem with Eliza Dushku as an actress.

She was fantastic in Nobel Son. Her performance is one of the three that make that film even remotely enjoyable (the other two being Alan Rickman's and Mary Steenburgen's).
After watching Nobel Son, I was even more stoked about seeing how Eliza is going to wow us in Dollhouse.

I'd much rather see ED portraying new characters each episode (Dollhouse) than watching her do the same thing over and over–literally, within each episode–every week (Tru Calling).

I wondered why she chose Tru Calling over a Faith spin-off series but I am very happy she is back in business with Joss. Perhaps in Dollhouse Echo will need to be programmed to slay monsters at some point and be imprinted with Faith.

We can always dream!

[ edited by Hjermsted on 2008-12-06 22:48 ]
BrownCoat_Tabz wrote:
I do like the reviewer commented on how one episode of Firefly didn't sell him on the series... actually I think one episode of any show hasn't sold me on the entire series.

Interesting. For me it was just the opposite. All three shows I really loved (Xena, Buffy, Firefly), I was hooked with the first ep I saw. Though only with Firefly it was the actual pilot.

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