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Dollhouse season 1 — bring it back!

Haven’t written here at all yet about Dollhouse, but I just finished watching the first season over the weekend, just a day after it finished airing. And while there is supposed to be one more episode, that’s it for now in airing, and there’s been no announcement yet about it’s renewal or cancellation.

Let me just say to TV land people… please renew it and give it a second season. It’s Joss Whedon for crying out loud! This show doesn’t deserve the fate of Firefly (well, the years of cult fandom is fine, but a popular and successful show is better!) Well written, acted, made and a premise with so much interesting conflict, potential and depth that we have to see more. I know the ratings have been mixed, but Dollhouse needs a second season and a new date and time!

I’ve realised as the season has gone on, just how heavily into science fiction territory the show actually is. The whole mental wipe/personality implant thing is in the territory of frontline modern science fiction prose, people like Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross, and it’s definitely the first major pop culture film/TV outing for these ideas. Concepts with serious moral and emotional depth, that are seriously conflicted and complicated, do come up too often in television.

And of course, it’s a concept full of action, adventure and sexy women as well, which should help in the audience stakes 🙂 Eliza Dushku is a talent, but it also helps that she’s a seriously hot talent as well… same goes for Dichen Lachman, another Aussie on American TV, who I’d seen briefly on Neighbours, but really excels on Dollhouse. Will be great if we can see more of her on the show.

Does it have flaws? I thought they’d always risked a less that ideal heroine if Echo is a blank slate that gets wiped at the end of every story, but they’ve established that Echo can’t really be wiped completely, and neither can any of the Actives. I really hope that the ultra-aware Echo-of-38-personalities at the end of episode 12 isn’t fully wiped though, as she seemed the most intense role that Dushku had in the entire series so far.

The other actors work well in their roles… Harry Lennix as the conflicted and honest ex cop Langton, Tahmoh Penikett (would love to know the origins of that name) as obsessive hero Ballard, now in an uneasy truce with the Dollhouse, Fran Kranz as boy genius Topher, who I thought was annoying as hell at first, but is now quite interesting (and seriously screwed up), Olivia Williams as the slightly odd, cold and creepy, but also sad and sympathetic, boss of the Dollhouse, DeWitt, and Angel-alumnus Amy Acker as Dr Saunders, who we now know is a (former?) active imprinted to be the new Doctor since she was disfigured by mad bastard Alpha. And if there’s any justice, Alan Tudyk should be up for a guest actor in a drama Emmy this year — his work as the mythical turned real Alpha was emotive, creepy and extremely compelling. The way he switched from shut-in geek to psycho assassin was more compelling than most any two actors could have done with the role.

So we’re left at the end of the season with Ballard in an uneasy “contract” role with the Dollhouse, seeing he can’t bring them down for now, but happy to be in charge of tracking down Alpha (and having proven to be right about Alpha’s true motivations), Langton showing more second-thoughts than ever about the whole place, Dr Saunders discovering the truth about herself, DeWitt being under siege from all quarters (I imagine we’ll see the people who run the worldwide Dollhouse network above her soon enough), poor Victor (Enver Gjorkaj) coping with the fact that he’s now disfigured (will he be imprinted to be Saunders’ assistant maybe? or Langton’s security assistant with his military background?) and most importantly, Echo, becoming more self-aware every mission. Her final word in the episode… “Caroline”, indicates her self awareness is nearly complete, and points the direction for the series going forward.

So let’s make sure it goes forward. We need a Joss Whedon series on TV for the long term again, so let’s hope it happens. Dollhouse isn’t perfect, but it has so much potential and gets 8/10 at least. Let’s see it renewed (and can we see episode 13 ASAP???)

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