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May 04 2009

Dollhouse: New and Improved. TIME's James Poniewozik talks about "Briar Rose" and how he now hopes for another season.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2009-05-04 16:10 ]

Me too. And I ramble lengthily about "Briar Rose" and the season-long exploration of fairy tale princes here.
I'm happy for the good review, but ... shouldn't a blogger for Time have correct grammar?
I love how with every Whedon show, by the end of the first season all of the good reviews start to come in and some form of regret starts to sink in. I know it wasn't the best first season, but can't people just FINALLY trust that Joss and Co know what they're doing and just watch? Ahh, a perfect TV world.
All I can do is pray that the Fox execs will take these positive reviews into account. I understand these people are not the same ones who sunk Firefly, but the crazy long-term popularity of the show will hopefully tell them something-- Joss shows will only build over time. Reviews such as these alone showcase exactly the differences in opinion this series has garnered over time.

But poor ratings are still poor ratings, and money is still money. We can only hope like crazy, even if in the end that is to our detriment.

Also, that Dr. Saunders as a Doll concept took me off guard. Wasn't it suggested (by Topher?) earlier in the series that Saunders could have gotten the scars removed, but chose to keep them? I would think it wouldn't be too difficult to imprint an Active with mad plastic surgery skills.

When Victor got slashed, that was more or less what I expected they would be doing with him. After all the crazy stuff we've seen Dolls perform, what's a little scar removal?
jkalderash, don't you mean "proper grammar"?

I'm sorry! I couldn't resist. :)
Notice that the writer mentioned Tudyk and Lennix, but referred to Tahmoh Penikett as "Ballard"?
("when Ballard and Lennix tussled on the staircase")

Not that I blame him. I cut-and-pasted the "actor who plays Ballard" because I knew that was the only way to avoid a typo.
It's also interesting James Poniewozik pointed out Fox's need to make the show more of a procedural, and that it really got more interesting when it left the "who is Echo this week" pattern, and took other paths. Even though Eliza has delivered as Echo, many of the other cast members have been great, especially Dichen and Enver (mainly because their roles have had more variety). If we get a second season, full or limited, it should be more of an ensemble drama.
I don't think it deserved its own thread, but Hercules at AICN posted (under the Sweeps ratings):

I watched “Omega” last night and I’m here to tell you it is funny, crazy and, as Paris Hilton might point out, huuuuuuuuuuge.
Are there screeners going around? And a conference call? Could it be they really try to promote the season finale to the press?
I think the writer is on to something with his spoiler-plot-twist theory. There might be limits, but not a bad general rule.

ETA: anyone got an opinion on the strength of big critical shifts of momentum on a show's renewal? This is like the 5th or 6th major outlet critic who has written something on the same model as this guy: "I was underwhelmed, but now it's the show I most want to see renewed!" Yeah, I know, critical favorites often fail, but It is interesting how large the shift from "meh" to "awesome" has become among big name critics regarding dollhouse.

[ edited by doubtful guest on 2009-05-04 17:23 ]
I love the idea of this being more of an ensemble show. While I do love Eliza, Joss writes best when writing ensemble, imo.

About the whole Saunders as a active, I just don't buy it. We flashed back to the day she got sliced and she was a doctor then too. But you never know...
wilder: I think the theory is that the real Dr. Saunders was killed by Alpha and they imprinted Whiskey (aka the new Dr. Saunders) with her personality. This makes sense because Whiskey wouldn't be much use as a regular doll after getting her face sliced up, and they would need a replacement doctor to tend to the wounded immediately with the loss of their old doc.
wilder: I think the theory is that the real Dr. Saunders was killed by Alpha and they imprinted Whiskey (aka the new Dr. Saunders) with her personality. This makes sense because Whiskey wouldn't be much use as a regular doll after getting her face sliced up, and they would need a replacement doctor to tend to the wounded immediately with the loss of their old doc.
snakebyte | May 04, 17:44 CET


I was wondering about that Whiskey thing.

I'm not saying I think she's Whiskey, but I was like that means something more than him just yelling about wanting a drink. XD

That's a really interesting idea. :D I think I like it. XD
The only flaw with "They imprinted Whiskey as the Doctor to treat everyone" is that she herself was badly injured. She'd need treatment herself.
They could have imprinted another Doll as a doctor, who treated Whiskey, and then afterwards decided to make Whiskey the Doctor because she couldn't do missions any more.
I prefer to think that Saunders is no longer an active, but once was. Not wanting others to know (for whatever reason), she quickly deflects when he calls her Whiskey.

Given her absence in Echoes, though, I'm guessing it won't go that way. :(
wilder, snakebyte and Jobo -- there's been discussion on the episode thread about Claire as Doll vs. Ex-Doll, including the scenarios you discuss. I have already chimed in saying essentially what Jobo said, but Snakebyte's scenario did just trigger a thought for me, which I will post to the episode thread here if you are interested.
I thought it was a solid episode as well. And am really glad that Dollhouse is finally getting good reviews.

I do hope that they go back to little Susan. Leaving an abused, traumatized girl hanging is bad news.
Pointy, that was an excellent review analysis. I was nodding along the entire way. You expressed all my jumbled up thoughts in a wonderfully coherent way and tied it all together. I couldn't agree more that Echo is being set up to save herself.
In related news, Maureen Ryan ponders which sandwich we should buy to save Dollhouse.
Not sandwiches: we should be buying inappropriate starches.

Edited because inappropriate 'staches are funny, but not entirely relevant.

[ edited by JMaloney on 2009-05-04 20:31 ]
I'm gonna echo (hah!) Emmie's review of your stuff, Pointy. I hadn't thought of any of that stuff, though, so you were just blowin' my mind with each sentence.

I should start my pre-finale Dollhouse marathon. I'm curious about how I'll feel about the standalones--Ghost in particular--with the rest of the series backing it up now.
Thnq kindly, Emmie & Jobo!
I didn't have a chance to read the article because of its length, but I just read that "Fringe" has been picked up, and I know less about that show than I do about "Dollhouse."
I wish I had any hope for the show, but I don't. So I'm just going to sit back and enjoy it while I can. And hey, according to Dollverse, "Omega" is supposed to the best episode of the season, so I have something to look forward to!

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