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"Did I just lose an argument to a doll?"
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February 11 2009

(SPOILER) Lurching into familiar Fox territory. Salon reviews Dollhouse and likes it. But a review from Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle calls the first three episodes "a major disappointment". The ScrippsNews review says "Dollhouse' certainly isn't awful, but neither is it remarkably good".

Neat (albeit spoilery (I averted my eyes)) review.
My apologies -- I didn't realize that amount of detail would be considered spoilery. I've edited to reflect.
Like I could resist. Gah, I'm such a spoiler whore!

*Weeps for the shame, the shame.*
Spoilery for the pilot or for the later episodes too?
Just the pilot, I think. Very complimentary, it is, and hopeful, too.
What does the title refer to? cause that doesn't sound very complimentary at all...
Yeah, a wonderful review! And I can't wait to see Buffy XXV: Spawn of Xander! Oh, wait.... Ah, Wonderfalls, we barely knew ye... I like that she uses a quote from the imprinter that explains -- it's right there in the pilot, but so many reviewers are missing the explanation! (Or don't buy it, perhaps. Hmm.)
The title refers to the fact that the reviewer thinks there's some familiar FOX-like territory in the pilot - kinda like they've injected some generic action-y tricks and slick suspense thriller touches - but she tells us to hang tough with that stuff, 'cause it's got lots else, lottsa depth. She also suggests that a sprinkling of what she calls the "FOX sensibility" might reach the "'Twilight'-suckling mainstream."

Very nice review - well-written and clever and sensitive and addressing all the issues that you've seen brought up, if you've been reading reviews.

Edited: after another link added, to emphasize that I'm talking about Heather Havrilesky's review.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2009-02-12 09:10 ]
I'm trying to keep all the reviews together in an effort to save space on the front page and to ensure discussion so I've added anotehr link to this entry.
Haven't read the reviews, but I know Goodman slammed Firefly hard. In fact he gave it one of the harshest initial reviews I read. So I'm a little surprised he used words like major disappointment. That implies that he'd be one who'd be looking forward to a new Joss show. Maybe he was a huge Buffy fan?
Goodman slammed Firefly hard.

That makes me feel a bit better. His review was totally fair, but yes, to use the term "Big Disappointment," is kind of misleading if you aren't a fan. That's what had me worried when I was reading!
I did a search and found his Firefly review, where he said "To call 'Firefly' a vast disappointment is an understatement." Sound familiar?

Wonder if we could find a review on Angel, heh.
Oh wow, that does make me feel better. In a similar vein, I saw another critical review the other day which said that 'Firefly' didn't really gel until the movie. Another one not to take too seriously
The Tim Goodman review strikes me as odd - not necessarily wrong, but uninformed. First, he says that Fox may have been right in demanding a new pilot and moving it to Friday nights. Then, when he goes on to criticize the episodes he has seen, well, it sounds like what he objects to is the stuff that (as far as I can tel) Fox contributed/changed :

"The bigger picture - which "Dollhouse" doesn't really illustrate in the three episodes sent to critics - is that issues of identity are in play: how the Actives came to volunteer for the Dollhouse experiment in the first place and what they - specifically Echo - might be recalling from memories they're not supposed to have access to. Whedon may be after something bigger, but none of it seems especially compelling."

I mean, to me, it sounds like he wants more of that bigger picture stuff, and, if I understand correctly, that's precisely what Fox wanted toned down in the early episodes.
I was initially alarmed by Goodman's review. But after hearing about his "vast disappointment" review for Firefly? Well....he was wrong about that, wasn't he? He clearly thinks highly of Joss's talents - calls "Buffy" a "slice of genius." And he's a biggish guu in TV reviewdom. Oh well.

The salon review is encouraging.
If you look at the "little man," Goodman actually liked Dollhouse better than Firefly. Sounds good to me. :)
At this point the opinion of reviewers really doesn't matter to me. The streets of Television history are littered with well reviewed shows that have all been canceled due to ratings.

I kind of expect the first several Dollhouse episodes to be somewhat of a "mainstream compromise" in order to hook enough of the masses before it really starts getting in to it's Whedonesque qualities.

Not everyone gets the genius of Joss right away; maybe, just maye, FOX is smart enough to realise this so they structured the shows in a way that allows people to aquire an appreciation for him over time. In other words, get their attention with the sex and the action, then slowly wean them on to the wit, character qualities, and story subtexts that makes Joss so damned special.

[ edited by Penthos on 2009-02-12 15:33 ]
I wrote Tim Goodman when Angel was canceled and he wrote back that he liked BtVS but he never liked AtS. He wrote multiple columns about WB's sinking and its finally disappearance and not once did he mention AtS and the effect its cancellation had on the WB. I think he's strictly a BtVS man and not a Whedon admirer.

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