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February 12 2009

(SPOILER) Discuss the reviews for Dollhouse. Reviews for Joss' new show are starting to pour in. So rather than overwhelm the front page with them, we ask that links to reviews would be posted in the comments section of this thread for the time being.

Longtime readers will remember the epic review threads we had for Serenity. And if you're not sure how to post a link in a comment, please do read our 'How To' page for instructions.

To get started, here's a review over at Zap2it.
That was a very heartwarming review. It made me happy and confident.
Here's something from the Boston Globe. And here's the Las Vegas Weekly review.
It'll be interesting to see what the overall score on Metacritic will be.
You and me both, Simon. Although I'm slightly affraid that the score won't be very impressive.

Also: why is Fox sending out episodes 1, 2 and 4 for review? Is 3 not up to par?
The io9 review had its own thread that got squashed in favor of this one. Considering it's a really positive review, I think it's worth adding to the discussion.
I love the positiveness of the i09 review. I hope that whoever reviews "Dollhouse" from the Washington Post or the New York Times or the L.A. Times have a similarly positive take. Wouldn't that be refreshing?

Edited to add: Here's a review from I really like their comparison of "Dollhouse" to "Vertigo." Yes! Cool. Note: I just noticed that some of the photos on site may not be considered safe for work.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2009-02-13 00:51 ]
Well, that io9 review was certainly refreshingly heartwarming. Not sure if I believe this very positive take anymore than the outright negative ones I've seen, but I'd certainly like to.

Ah well, only a limited amount of time left till the premiere is upon us and we can find out for ourselves (unfortunately, I'm away for the entire weekend. Gah!)
Reviews from San Jose Mercury News and Reuters.

"Mixed review" seems to be the name of the game, doesn't it? At least most reviewers see real promise in the series and give nods to Joss Whedon's track record and all-around genius.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2009-02-13 01:45 ]
I'd link to the Philadelphia Inquirer's review but it's not addressed to fans....
I'm disheartened by the mixed reviews for my own sake, but is it wrong that I find them slightly encouraging for the fate of the show? Think about the most bona fide hits of the last few years: CSIs, The Mentalist, etc. Most of them are simply compelling procedurals. Even less than compelling procedurals--like Numbers, Criminal Minds, NCIS, and Cold Case--seem to survive year after year. And a compelling procedural is the worst thing Dollhouse has been accused of being!

I'm betting that the first few episodes of the series will not be up to what my friends and I expect of Joss, but less than what we expect from Joss seems to be exactly what the public craves!

I think Dollhouse will lure people in by pretending to be something it's not: a compelling procedural. Once the general public (not just Joss fans) are on board, the show will become something more, just like Buffy and Angel (Firefly was something more from word one).

Bad reviews often translate to good ratings, and as often as that has annoyed me, I really hope it holds true.
USA Today (negative)

SLC Tribune (really negative)

NY Daily News (positive)
Slate has some of the usual reservations, but overall pretty positive.
Digging up some from my browser history (a mix of older and newer I think):

LA Times
San Francisco Chronicle
Entertainment Weekly (via CNN)

Edited to add:
Chicago Sun-Times
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Short mentions in:
Miami Herald
Orlando Sentinel

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-02-13 04:18 ]
But I don't come from the "Church of Joss Whedon"- Vince Horiuchi, SLC Tribune

Then you should be fired from television criticism.
On google news there were links to 280 reviews....
I don't think there are that many. I'm getting fewer than that for Dollhouse and Whedon, and my list is a mix of reviews and news articles that just report something about the series. I'm only linking here to articles that offer some opinion about the pilot or first three episodes.
The Salt Lake Tribune is my local paper, and while I don't read it very often, the few reviews that I have read by Horiuchi have mostly convinced me that he shares none of my opinions.
Well, I haven't read anything else he's written, but I believe anyone who wants to critique television should have at least some respect for someone who has been as innovative in the medium as Joss. I'm very biased of course.
I disagree, RCM. The reviewer's job is to review the show, not the show creator's career.
I'm not saying his statements about "Dollhouse" may not be entirely accurate, but I look for a critic to have a general level of appreciation (or an interesting argument for their lack of appreciation) for producers or writers that have made productions that are considered "important" for whatever reason or another. In fact, it's one of the key traits that qualifies them as critics. Now, appreciation is of course entirely subjective, but Joss has gained a certain level of acclaim among television watchers. If he doesn't generally like Joss's stuff, that's fair, but I want a well thought out reasoning behind that opinion beyond a bratty- "His ideas tend to be more comic-book-boy fantasies than truly compelling concepts."

My initial comment- "Then you should be fired from television criticism." was meant to be slightly humorous since we're all Joss fan here.

[ edited by RCM on 2009-02-13 05:23 ]
Ok, I hardly ever watch TV, so this may sound stupid:

When they say Dollhouse is on at 9:00 pm, does that mean Eastern time? I am on Pacific Standard. I just wanna make sure I don't miss it! (Yes, I am paranoid).

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2009-02-13 05:52 ]
In general, if you're ever in doubt, check your local listings - you should be able to find them online.

Dollhouse will be on at 9pm Eastern and Pacific - i.e. the Pacific time zone will see it three hours later, 9pm local time. Central and Mountain time zones will have it at 8pm, so it's on simultaneously in Central and Eastern with Mountain one hour delayed.
Thanks Rachel! I figured as much but was not 100%. I found the local listings too.
Here is one from the Deseret News in Salt Lake..

[ edited by Yentroc on 2009-02-13 07:45 ]
In re: the Salt Lake review, it seems to come with a chip on its shoulder. That's about as useful for doing a smart review as slavering, unquestioning fannishness is.

The New York Times disappoints. Majorly. Without my having seen the first episode of Dollhouse, I doubt every word Stanley says after she denies Joss metaphorical richness. Give me a break. Other criticisms, okay. But this? Really?

What an annoying way to start the day. I think I may feel annoyed much today. What a shame.
And Tom Shales from the Washington Post utterly and completely slams "Dollhouse," calling it "a pretentious and risible jumble." Shales has gotten more and more crotchety in recent years and I'm not fond of his work. I'm now even less fond. I'd say much nastier things but the moderators wisely and wonderfully enforce against such things.

I'm stopping now. Such early morning slams put me in a foul, disheartened temper.
Keep calm and carry on.
Wise words as always, Simon. In calm and carrying on fashion, I recover from my snit and present one more review from the Denver Post. Not too bad.
The WP review made me actually laugh out loud.

The reviewer thinks he's demeaning Joss by comparing him with David Lynch, Michael Mann and Quentin Tarantino, and the fact that a critic thinks that's an insult has been the funniest part of my week!
How can I keep up with all of this??? I can't. *hangs head in shame* How do you guys do it? Need some tips. I'm a terrible fan! *breaks down and cries*
The LA Times review (linked above) is a complete slam. The NY Times, one, however, is a critique of the concept, but concedes that the show is fun to watch. I find it a little amusing that the reviewer thinks that she's teaching Joss an important lesson about how men envy women's ability to give birth and therefore indulge in fantasies about a techno-version of the ability to control life. Perhaps she'd also like to teach him something about, oh, I dunno, vampire lore, or how to write strong female characters...

I do think, from the p.o.v of the reviews (though what effect that has on viewership, god knows) we're seeing one of the bad effects of Fox's interference in the way that Joss originally planned to break the larger season arc. By frontloading the season with standalone "procedurals" they left the reviewers without enough of the "Echo begins to fight for her identity" story to pick up on.

Still...I am a little amazed that the reviewers don't even mention (by and large) that this is the projected direction for the show. Is it simply that reviewers feel themselves bound to comment only on what they have actually seen (and not to trust the possibly false claims in the press package about the future direction of the show) or are they just being lazy?
There, there, Korkster, you're not a terrible fan. *pat pat*
Less a review than about the buzz, Mekeisha Madden Toby of the Detroit News talks about fan reaction to Dollhouse. She screened the pilot for fans here last week. When b!Xy called about permissions for that, he couldn't get an answer.
i need to find some better place to put this,

so far, i'm just glad they guaranteed joss the 13 episodes.
personally, i'm just trying to generate word-of-mouth.
do my part to promote it, cause we the fans, know the score,
if we like it, we may as well mention it, to our comic-book reading friends, to our girlfriends that watched alias, to the guys that want to watch hot babes throw down.
joss makes great tv, no question, and while it's not the most original premise ever, it's the most forward looking take on it, the pretender was too kung-fu/knight rider, my own worst enemy was run of the mill...

dollhouse is different, this is uncharted territory for him and tv, buffy and angel were about growing up (even if you're immortal) in a world that's scary and dangerous, and not really knowing which side your on, firefly is about what happens when the good guys lose, but dollhouse isn't just about people who're turned into robot cyphers for prophet, it's about being at that place in your late 20's/early 30's when you feel like you've completely screwed up despite the fact that you and you feel totally directionless, and what happens when you'll do anything drastic to escape that feeling in joss' universe. he has all my faith that he can make that interesting to viewers, i know, because i'm there right now, and that's part of the reason i need this show, that and I need my whedon fix, it's been a long time since serenity.

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