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December 08 2009

Time's Top 10 TV Episodes of 2009. Click to see which episode of Dollhouse made the list.

Time Magazine ranks Briar Rose as #4 in their list of the top 10 TV episodes of 2009.

That wouldn't have been my first choice but that's still awesome.
"dollhouse failed better than most shows succeed." nice.
That episode definitely made me fall in love with Dollhouse more, but it pales in comparison to how much I've been blown away by the it since.
I would have put A Spy in the House of Love, but Briar Rose would be my second choice. I'm surprised it wasn't Epitaph One, but then, didn't air on television.
Actually I think that episode tends to get a little underrated. But if people love other episodes, I don't figure it's worth bringing up.

Easily the best reveal of the series, at least to anyone who didn't know what was going on ahead of time. I think it had the misfortune of being too anticipated by fans because of Tudyk, where if you weren't an avid watcher it was probably a lot better and a lot more shocking.
Yeah, I wish the initial casting news for Alan (later rescinded) hadn't said that he played a psycho with multiple personalities. Kinda gave the twist away for me.
Choosing between this and "Omega" is like choosing between "Becoming" Part One and Two for me, but I guess if they have to pick a single best . . . I'd go with "Man on the Street."
I thought Omega, outside some wonderful Topher/Saunders stuff, was fairly disappointing.
I agree Pointy. Man on the Street is still my favorite S1 ep that aired.
Agreed Dark Shape.

As for the pick, Spy, Epitaph and Belonging are much stronger episodes if not the strongest ones to date. I'd say the same for Left hand too.
Hmm, not the way I would have gone, but a great big WOO to being on the list at all, and among the smallish number of network shows listed. I think Belonging, or maybe even Spy in the House might be my favs that aired, but Epitaph One should really be on there. Air date be damned!

They also had the Glee pilot on the list, which I can't get behind, and I really like that show. I think Preggars was a much better episode.

Edited to include season 2. Duh. For some reason I measure my time in seasons of television, not these Gregorian "years" I keep hearing about...

[ edited by GoldDust12 on 2009-12-09 03:45 ]
I agree with everything Rhodey said, but Briar Rose is still a great episode. I really wish, like most, that I didn't read the spoilers beforehand though.
Dollhouse failed better than most shows succeed.

That should be the series' epitaph.
Agreed Brewbunny!!
This whole list is excellent. I think I loved Briar Rose the most as well, and I love that he included Party Down. Glee, I can't get behind, but his writing and his overall choices are top notch.
I liked this list, although virtually every pick surprised me. My Old Kentucky Home over The Gypsy and the Hobo or Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency or the finale? Stress Relief over the wedding ep, or one of the Michael Scott Paper Company eps? And of course Briar Rose over some of the more obvious picks. But all their selections are wonderful in their own way (well, the ones that I've seen) and it's great to see my three favourite 2009 shows (er, see above :P) all making the list.
Briar Rose definitely was the best episode of (the episodes that aired) in S1, followed by A Spy in the House of Love and Needs. I don't even know if I'd put Man on the Street in the top 4 or 5, honestly. Good episode, but not Dollhouse's best.
For me, a couple head-scratchers on the list (like their pick for The Office that WilliamTheB mentioned), but I see eye to eye with Time on a few. The pick for Big Love was excellent (almost all of Season 3--the show's strongest season so far--was great though). Nurse Jackie, but you could pick almost any of its twelve episodes in Season 1 and not get much argument from other viewers/fans. Nurse Jackie was easily my favorite newcomer of 2009.
I don't get it? Dollhouse probably one of the best shows on TV, yet it is the only show that keeps getting the failed show label. I mean, even Heroes doesn’t get the failed show label as much as Dollhouse.
Heroes isn't cancelled. Dollhouse is. Hence, failed.
When they say "failed", they seem to mean it from a business perspective (some columnists use it in a mean way, even though the quality of the show should matter more to them and their readers than how ratings-successful it was/how happy it made the network--I think in this article's case, they're just pointing out the obvious, not being TV-critic-bitchy about it). I suppose in network-TV-land, if a show doesn't make it to the magic syndication number of 5 seasons (though I dunno if that'd work for Dollhouse, with its shorter seasons), or get amazing ratings for at least its first season or two, or something along those lines (who knows what the criteria is, it could change from columnist to columnist), it's considered a failure by many.

Even length-wise, two seasons is still less of a failure than a whole lot of other shows. It succeeded (in terms of survivability) better than Firefly, Wonderfalls, Drive, that David E. Kelley show with Kathleen Robertson that the network stopped airing after only two episodes back in 2002 (ah, looked it up, it was Girls Club). Different climate and different exec attitudes and whatnot helped it along possibly, maybe giving it an advantage over those other shows, but still, it got two seasons.

Heroes will have been canceled after 4 seasons, making it only two seasons older than Dollhouse (sure, the networks might bring it back, but the word is that things aren't looking good). Seasons were longer than Dollhouse's though (except for Heroes' strike-abbreviated second season). Ratings and commercially (tie-in merchandise) it's way more successful than Dollhouse, even in its fourth season, but Dollhouse has a hell of a lot more meat on its bones and will at least come out looking more creatively successful (to those that remember it/had a chance to see it/gave it a shot). Heroes, like a certain other superhero series, for the most part squandered its potential.
I think they mean commercially as well as in the sense of not entirely meeting its potential since they start out saying

"The magnificent experiment that was Dollhouse was an example of a show whose parts sometimes hinted at how spectacular the whole could have been. Joss Whedon's series had a difficult premise (a secret organization that rented out mind-wiped "actives" to take on any personality a client desired), a star (Eliza Dushku) not quite versatile enough for the role's requirements, and a case of network jitters that for the first few episodes tried to turn the series into an action-adventure show it never really was."

Which is fine. None of those criticisms are in any way new, they've become par for the course over the last 6 months (i.e. since 'Dollhouse' became the sickening stag at the edge of the herd and the critical wolves started circling).

But they also clearly think it worked really well at least once (unless they were struggling to think of ten great TV episodes from 2009 and thought they'd throw in one that'd bring guaranteed hits ;). 'Briar Rose' is a fair choice IMO though i'd say 'Vows' still has the best scene (Topher/Saunders) and would probably put 'Belonging' as best complete episode of 'Dollhouse' so far myself. And all of those (plus 'A Spy in the House of Love') over 'Epitaph One' which I wasn't quite as keen on as many seem to be (didn't dislike it but it's not the best episode, nor even top 3 or 4 IMO).

ETA: Oh and i'd probably swap out one of theirs and stick an episode of 'Community' in its place. Maybe 'Introduction to Statistics' (the Halloween episode).

[ edited by Saje on 2009-12-09 15:48 ]
I think Briar Rose was a good choice. It had humor (Alpha getting caught off guard by that "organic" coffee and spitting it out). It ramped up the tension (Ballard infiltrating the Dollhouse). It had unexpected acting chops (Enver nailing the way Reed Diamond would have played that character). Last but not least, it had the style of writing by Mutant Enemy that I loved but had not seen that often up to that point: telling the audience what is going to happen, but in a way that is only obvious in hindsight. (Besides the hands grabbing from the stairs, the fairy tale that Echo tells.)
To me the show has moved past its original flaws and has become more than what it was. Sure it's not perfect but to continue describe it as a failed series (cancelation aside) is kind of an insult the very intelligent writing on the show. I would even go as far as saying that writing on Dollhouse is superior to any other show currently on commercial TV (not that, that would be difficult). Can anyone tell me a show on commercial TV that has more intelligent writing and is more interesting than Dollhouse? Anyone?
It was nice to see an episode of Dollhouse making the list.
Can anyone tell me a show on commercial TV that has more intelligent writing and is more interesting than Dollhouse? Anyone?
Zoic_Fan | December 09, 18:53 CET

Not me. which made me think, what network show would I pick as anywhere nearly as good as DH? My answer is, none.

Having watched every ep at least twice now, I think I have to go with A Spy In the House Of Love as my favorite. It's where I really made the emotional connections that so many people seem to think are so hard to make.
Next would be Briar Rose, Belonging and Omega.

E1 was excellent but for me, suffered from being too disconnected from all the regular characters. Go ahead and throw stuff, but I'm not a big Felicia Day fan.

Also loved Vows. It certainly had it's weaknesses, but the Topher/Saunders scenes raised it several notches. Also Jamie Bamber, who is just perfection. (And a really fine actor, as well.) ;)
Can anyone tell me a show on commercial TV that has more intelligent writing and is more interesting than Dollhouse? Anyone?

Being Erica?

Oh, you may have meant US network TV.
In my opinion, Dollhouse failed to deliver the goods in the first 6 eps of season 1, and the first 2 eps of season 2, apart from that, it's been great... so 8 failed episodes, 11 successful episodes.

I thought 'Vows' was pretty weak personally...
And, this is probably because I haven't seen Battlestar, but Jamie Barber didn't impress me at all. He seemed to be playing a fairly stock-standard bad guy, in a fairly stock-standard way.

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