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January 05 2010

'I loved guesting on Dollhouse' says Jamie Bamber. He tells Digital Spy "I was really fascinated to work with Joss Whedon and see how he does things, and also to work with Tahmoh because he's a great friend and I really enjoyed playing the character".

It seems strange to me to guest star on a series you've never watched. I'd think that an actor would at least check out an episode before hand to see what they are getting into. But I'm not an actor. I've heard many actors don't even watch the shows they act on, so what do I know.
Yeah, when I first read that, I thought it was a little... I don't know, disrespectful? But then again, I'm not an actor, and I'm sure that for some people being behind-the-scenes of a show can destroy its mystery when you're actually watching it (thinking, "oh, I remember this set," or, "I spoke to the person who wrote that line", or whatever). Whether or not that's the case here, I have no idea.

And, all said, I think Jamie Bamber's awesome, and I'm glad we got to see him on Dollhouse.
I think for many actors it's just a job, and they aren't that interested in seeing the final product. I dunno. I would be.
I think most guest stars don't watch the shows they guest on. There are tons of character actors jumping from show to show, and I doubt most of them spend much time watching the shows they're in. It's a job for them.
I get the impression many actors don't watch much TV full stop, let alone a show that (in the UK at least) takes a bit of seeking out. And i'd imagine he does a fair bit of flitting around, must be hard to keep up with shows when you're on the move a lot.

Thought he was good in it anyway.
Well if you need a business reason not to watch, if you're attempting to simply guest star then you're creating a character from scratch who most likely wouldn't be too aware of everything that's going on. So honestly, staying "ignorant" probably makes acting many guest roles easier. There are exceptions to that, but I could see where knowing too much would make the acting trickier and not easier. It's easy to act shocked when you don't know.

And to be fair, it's not like most directors (in movies) or showrunners consume every show or movie of every actor they cast. It works both ways. The respect is in hiring someone and the job they do for you.

And Bamber was great. I think that episode was more maligned than it should have been, but he was just fine.
Not only was 'Vows' a fairly decent episode in its own right, i'm struggling to imagine just how bad it would have to be to not be at least partly redeemed by that scene between Topher and Saunders. Strong contender for scene of the series so far IMO.
I kinda wanna do a re-watch of the first four eps of Season 2 and that "Vows" scene is a big reason why. All the new eps from December (from the Perrin two-parter in eps 5 & 6 through "The Attic"/ep 10) are still available OnDemand here and are pretty fresh in my mind.

I don't get the "Vows"-bashing either. It's one of Joss' strongest season openers, IMO.
I really liked Vows, as well - not least because of Jamie Bamber, who I thought made an excellent, genuinely menacing villain. Couldn't get much farther from Lee Adama, than that character.

I watched a video interview with him, at the beginning of season four of BSG, and his insights into his character were really impressive. So I'm guessing that his lack of Dollhouse familiarity has more to do with the one-off nature of the gig, than anything else, along with the heavy work load of once again staring in a hour-long weekly series (the U.K. Law and Order).
I like "Vows" from the perspective of a Dollhouse fan and I think it's a strong episode. But when it aired, I watched it with two people who had never seen Dollhouse before and they both said they would never consider watching the show again. And I could understand why. For all of its interesting questions, "Vows" was also a really difficult episode as a season premiere. I think it loses a lot of its resonance, when you have no freaking clue what's going on.
True. But that brings up the age-old question (okay, it's only as old as scripted television) of whether the writer/showrunner is responsible for gently welcoming potential new viewers after the show's already good and started up.

From a business perspective, I suppose you could make every ep a new-viewer-friendly procedural (and there are definitely cookie-cutter sci-fi procedurals, although few genre shows stay that way for every season of their run, when they last more than a few seasons, at least not most genre shows within the past decade) and possibly have more success ratings-wise. But if every writer stuck to that, we'd have no good continuity-heavy, arc-focused storylines (although viewers have occasionally shown that they'll stay on board for that kind of storytelling too--witness the crazy success of 24 and Lost).

I know what it feels like when I'm trying to introduce a friend or family member to a series, really hoping the show comes through for them (heh, they begin to question your taste afterward if it doesn't), but I'm not sure that I've ever tried to get someone into a show with post-Season 1 episodes (I tried with a few comedies, actually, but never drama). Too afraid they'll be lost or that anything great character-wise will have little to no emotional resonance for viewers who've just met them.
For me the second season of a serialised show shouldn't worry too much about a "gentle welcome", there comes a point when you should unashamedly cater to the people that are watching even at the expense of those that might. Particularly when, let's be honest, they surely had to suspect their card was marked from the outset.

(and I personally would've felt quite hard done by if, after the great reveals in 'Omega' about Saunders, we'd just had a straight standalone missing any significant resonance with the previous season)
I remember Joss getting boo'ed at Comic-Con for saying he hasn't seen Lost.

There's two modes. Making TV, or watching TV.
No kidding, gossi. Still find it funny when fans are surprised and/or complain about actors not watching their own shows/not watching any TV--these people are freakin' busy and, in many cases, they're in great shape. Their time is likely spent on the set, memorizing their lines, in the gym/enjoying some form of physical activity, and living their lives/raising kids on top of that.

But to be fair, Joss finds the time and TV-on-DVD has opened up the possibilities for catch-ups, when these folks find some time/if they're interested. Off the top of my head, he went fanboy for Veronica Mars, BSG, I dunno if he kept watching The Office (U.S.), Glee, the odd reality show or two (didn't I see mention of So You Think You Can Dance in his "What I'm Thankful For" post?)...he seems to watch at least two shows per season. His business is making television, it helps to know what else is already being made/being said (and said well) before you embark on more TV creation adventures/write your next ep (heh, that's happened a few times in my life--seeing two episode maybe a week or two apart that're about the exact same thing/very similar in tone & character development). Writers can't be watching/reading/listening to every entertainment venue while also having time for their jobs, though, I get that.

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