Sunday, September 27, 2009

Moving into the 'Dollhouse'

'Dollhouse' Airs on FOXBy LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

I moved into the Dollhouse by accident last season.

Bored by the mid-season mess that was Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, I hung around to watch Dollhouse and suddenly found myself wanting to watch Echo instead of Cameron.

I liked what I saw.

From the start.

Maybe it's the former X-Phile in me who dug the idea there's this super-exclusive company that has "dolls" who are, essentially, people turned into memory-less human beings who can be imprinted with whatever personality one is willing to pay for. The "dolls" are seemingly troubled souls who are recruited into the company as a last resort to reclaim their life (which they get back after they serve their five year term; er, I should say they get back their "personality").

This is a premise you don't hear - or see - every day.

And it worked for me.

Call me easily entertained, but I didn't have the same issues others in television blogosphere had with the set-up, the stories, the dialogue, the acting, the whatever.

Maybe I just don't watch enough science fiction.

Or maybe I'm so bored with the overkill of police and legal procedurals on network TV that this show seemed like something shiny, new and different.

Whatever it was, I was really happy it bucked the trend and got itself renewed for a second season when all the so-called "experts" in the television world thought it was DOA.


Win one for the fans.

And the network for giving it a chance (even with lowly ratings).

Lowly ratings or not, the show comes to PTR this season, and the second season premiere was pretty darn good.

My ab-fab Special Agent Paul Ballard (played oh-so-well by the irresistible Tahmoh Penikett) is now working on the doll team as opposed to trying to tear it down. But turning him into Echo's handler is PERFECT. He was one of the highlights of the first season, so I'm thrilled to see him move into this role.

Eliza Dushku's Echo continues to evolve into an intriguing character - whether in her native active state (not imprinted with a personality) or engaged as an active (imprinted with a personality). I don't think she gets enough credit for having to take on so many different characters in such a short period of time all the while maintaining Echo's passive, non-active state.

But even with Dushku as the star, the show truly works as an ensemble.

Dichen Lachman's Sierra STOLE (and I do mean stole) several episodes last season. She has tremendous range to play almost any type of character and is my favorite doll.

Miracle Lurie's Mellie was the sentimental sweetheart last season as Paul Ballard's love interest. When I found out she WAS a doll, I dropped my Twitterberry. Although her character was set free from the dollhouse at the end of last season, we haven't seen the last of her.

Enver Gjokaj's Victor is the resident good guy doll. He, Echo, Sierra and Mellie make a good team. As do the actors.

Harry Lennix's Boyd Langton was Echo's handler last season, but promoted to head of security this season. I.Love.Him. If you don't like this guy, there's something wrong with you.

Amy Acker's Dr. Saunders was so quiet and gentle last season, scarred for life when the Alpha active went a little haywire (hey, it happens). While I loved her being so understated, she's poised to turn into something entirely different this season.

Olivia Williams' Adelle DeWitt couldn't be more perfect as the head honcho of the dollhouse. She seems to be mostly ice with a chance of thaw every so often on the horizon - llike a super-strict teacher that wants everything done her way, on her time, in her terms without being all bad.

And Fran Kranz's Topher Brink - the man behind all the imprints, the computers, the software, the everything that MAKES the dollhouse what it is - is quirky weird, yet totally likable. I think he has the BEST lines on the show.

Talk about revenge of the nerd.

Joss Whedon wouldn't have it any other way.

Now if only everyone else would start watching it.

New episodes of Dollhouse air Fridays at 9 p.m. on FOX. For the scoop on the series, head on over to the show's official site.


RichE said...

Glad to see you've added this one to the roster. I look forward to reading your reviews LK, though I'm glad you didn't go into detail on this one because I've not managed to squeeze it in yet.

Kathryn Morris UK

John said...

I also like the series, but I thought some of last season’s episodes were a little weak.

I agree the kick off episode of season two was very good. The assignment (bring down the arms dealer) was boring, but the Dollhouse stuff was an excellent set up to the new season.

I hope Amy Acker is just going for a spin at the end and not bolting the show.

I do disagree that Topher is likeable. I dislike him more than boss. He seems to really view the dolls as nothing more than bio-machines for him to play with. He is an interesting character and one I want in the show, but like him? No.