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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Angel's lame! His hair goes straight up, and he's bloody stupid!"
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January 12 2009

(SPOILER) TV Squad takes an early look at Dollhouse. A fairly positive review from TV Squad that breaks with the mold by declaring "Eliza Dushku is terrific in her role."

Gee. And here I thought that the all-knowing received wisdom from industry insider scribes was that Dollhouse was "bad." Wherever will they fit such errant positive evaluations in their interviews and articles? [Drippingly heavy sarcasm intended.]

I love the great review of Eliza's work. Good for Eliza.
The reality is that, so far, the early reviews based on the premiere episode actually are fairly consistent: Good, not great, but clearly with potential for what comes next.
This is what I like to see on a Monday. The premiere sounds about like I'd expect from a Joss show: not a knock-out, but both the good and bad elements combine for a ton of potential. I just hope that that potential is realized. And gotta love praise for Eliza's acting abilities!
Exactly, b!X. Which is a far cry from "bad." Can everyone tell that that interviewer's choice of words continues to stick in my craw?

As for the "what comes next," I count that as one of Joss's great strengths as a storyteller. For many showrunners, the pilot sort of tells you everything that you can expect from the full sweep of a series, give or take some details. Not so with the Jossman. Whole new worlds open up and worlds within worlds. It's a breathtaking and unusual kind of TV experience.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2009-01-12 21:44 ]
Well, I did get a DVD copy of the premiere, and saw it Saturday night. You can see my take on the show at my MySpace. I also thought it was a good start to an interesting series. As we've heard from Joss, the show is hitting its stride as it gets closer to finishing its first season.

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2009-01-12 22:51 ]
Thanks for that, impaler. You're a lucky person to have gotten your hands on that.
The question I've usually heard about Eliza's acting is not "can she be great in a given role" (she was great as Faith, so we know she can). The question is "can she plausibly sell the idea of someone who has a completely different personality from episode to episode." That question can't, I think, be answered by viewing one episode--the pilot.

This sounds like a sensible review, though. It's very true that what makes Joss shows great is the long chains of storytelling that end up being drawn on and added to in each episode. What makes his characters wonderful is that the have individual histories, and that those histories make them who they are and inform the way they act and the choices they make. Isolated episodes just can't deliver that kind of richness (years of failed attempts to win people over to Buffy by showing them a "great" episode from the middle of the story have shown me that).
"Bad" may not mean a poor story or poor acting. "Bad" may mean not able to attract good enough ratings. Context and source is everything in this case.
Clearly, TamaraC. The lack of clear context in the use of "bad" in that other article is a sticking point for me and, I believe, other people.

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