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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"This house will fall"
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January 14 2010

'Dollhouse has become a thing of beauty'. Interesting article about the show's early flaws and the show's current brilliance.

This article seems to mirror my Dollhouse viewing experience.
Mine, too, bloodflowers.
Yep, that article captures my emotional relationship to the show, as well.
It seems to be designed to pull in those who gave up in the beginning but are now really missing out on something. Good premise.
The identical pictures of Eliza in different roles is a tad unfair, but it reminded me of the Far Side cartoon the moods of a Red Setter.
A good read! Personally, I did like Dollhouse from the beginning, but I agree that without someone to truly identify with and root for it was harder to really love this show early on than, say, Buffy the series. Not to mention that Whedon shows are at their best when there's a whole cast of more or less likeable characters (I didn't love the first season of Angel either; it needed a spice of Wesley, Gunn, Lorne and Fred added). Without my by now 100% trust in Joss I might have let Dollhouse go, which would have been a real shame. It's been said before, but Whedon shows really belong on cable or public-service television like BBC (or why not Swedish television; there's a thought...). I mean, look at Dexter. A show asking us to root for a serial killer? And after a while, we do...
Is it odd reading an article like this and thinking: 'This sounds like me!'?

A good read, and I agree with it.
Yep, spot on for me too!
You do have to wonder however if season 2 is as good as it is because they have had to throw everything they wanted to do on screen in a very small number of episodes. I do now love the show but I wonder if that would have been the case if it was 5 seasons long and all that story was diluted.

[ edited by cdm22 on 2010-01-15 11:36 ]
Great read! I hope the folks who left do a 180 and come back and see just how AWESOME Joss is. I love it, too bad it was on Fox, also the world does not seem to 'get' Joss, he takes a little time to get going sometimes, and everything can't be "NOW". You have to wait for the good stuff.
As cruel as Fox has been-- let alone the fact that Dushku's deal with them cemented that home-- I hardly get the feeling that this show could have been on any other network. I mean even that production company/20th Century stuff aside, something dark and vaguely sexy with human trafficking undertones does not exactly seem like the most ABC of things (despite Lost/V), CBS I always thought of as pretty conservative even as CSI is all about blood and semen stains on things, and maybe NBC could have been desperate enough to take a chance on this but they seem more concerned with the bottom line and this is something they could ship out to other Sheinhardt Wig subsidiaries like Syfy.

Fox the network has had a pretty big portion of beloved shows that were relatively "out there" and in a lot of cases I sort of imagined that even getting canceled four episodes is better than no shot at all. (Though yeah, one reason why they keep putting out so many cool things is the high turnover rate in their scheduling. Hacking down pretty much anything that isn't performing to expectations could range from the brilliant, like Wonderfalls/Firefly/Andy Richter Controls the Universe, to the stuff maybe they should have reconsidered in the first place like that Human Tetris thing.)
Yep, mirrors my viewing experience quite nicely as well (apart from a detail here or there). I know there's those who were fans of Dollhouse from day one (and many of those are active posters right here on the black), but I can't escape the feeling that this is what the majority of people would've experienced, if they'd stuck with the show. Too bad most of them signed out before they could fall in love with it.
Hello, everyone! I'm the writer responsible for this article, and I just wanted to thank Donnie for linking to it and let you all know how gratified I am that it resonated with so many of you.

After I turned it in, I had some pangs of regret. Reading over it, it sounded a bit harsh in the beginning especially. But it was definitely an accurate representation of the emotional journey Dollhouse took me on.

Couple things:

I really love Eliza Dushku. I freely admit that the identical pictures graphic was unfair. I think that came out of misplaced frustration with the first handful of stand-alone episodes. The entire narrative burden fell on her shoulders in them, but I don't really think it was her fault that those episodes didn't work well for me.

orangewaxlion has the truth of it RE: FOX. As much as I love to gripe about Fox for canceling more great shows than average, I think that is due to them giving more atypical shows a chance in the first place. As frustrating as that is.

Ronald_SF & GVH- several people have told me they decided to give it a go after reading the article. Not that it will do much good for the show since it's already a goner, but it's something. Maybe spreading the word will help generate support for his next project. *sigh*

Thanks again, folks! I'm pleased you enjoyed it, more or less, and the link here seems to have given our fledgling girl-geek-power website a real boost. ;) I'm awash in gratitude -- Whedonesque rocks!

[ edited by Olivet on 2010-01-15 15:31 ]
It's also not only Eliza/Echo that was given "props" to help the viewer identify them, Victor as Topher was dressed as Topher for example.

Some actors have a really strong image, and whoever they try to play we still see "Them". Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery seem to have done okay. Did Connery even try to change his accent in Red October?

But overall a very good read. My thought, which I think I posted a while ago, was that it would have been great if Joss, Eliza and Fox had never even hinted at the mindwipe stuff and sold the show as "Hot spy does cool stuff". Then maybe in episode two hint that something isn't quite right. Maybe have Echo on a mission not know how to do something we saw her do in Episode 1. Then spring the doll state on the viewers in ep 4 or 5, after viewers are hooked.

Be honest, if Lost had started out with "We're going to do time travel and people coming back to life!" from day one how many people would have said "A SciFi show? That's not for me". By the time they got to the really weird stuff they were already hooked.

Dollhouse was sold on the weird stuff, but then spent the first five episodes doing the "Spy of the week" stuff and then started really exploring the weird stuff.
You know, that might have been really cool. It's high concept, but I could see it working. Though it's much easier to dissect stories that don't work than to construct stories that do, so what do I know. ;)

The 'props' thing... I was mostly thinking of those first few episodes, when she was pretty much the only doll we saw much of (at least that we knew was a doll) so there was the bit with the glasses and asthma inhaler, different hairdos -- stuff like that. She does have a very distinct look, which makes it more challenging to have her look 'different' every week. Plus, the others had less screen time, so they were never set as challenging a task as she was. I think her distinctive look is a strength, though it poses certain challenges. (I'm the opposite. I'm a reasonably attractive brunette, and I always get comments like, "You look just like [insert brunette actress here]!" It's always someone I would never be said to resemble if we were both bald. I have a very generic face. ED does not. No one is going to mistake her for Anne Hathaway or Rachel McAdams. She's Eliza Dushku. You can't buy that kind of branding.)
Hi Olivet! I read it (and loved it), wondering "Who reads my stuff...?"
Heya, Chris! I am a faithful follower. :D Actually, several of the writers at GeekaChicas are fans of yours, too. Small world, ne?

I'm glad you liked the article. I have you and my friend Michelle (who shared Dollhouse files with me while we were moving to New Orleans and essentially unable to watch TV for months) to thank for the Dollhouse goodness. Without you two, I'd have let it go well before it got good, and that would have been a pity.
We got some strenuous disagreement in the mail after the Dollhouse article, so I thought in the interest of fair play I'd pass that link along, too.

From the Mailbag: A Dissenting Opinion on Dollhouse by a Buffy fan who really, really dislikes Dollhouse.

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