>TV Round-Up: Dollhouse

>“Ghost” (Pilot Episode)
I’ve been excited about “Dollhouse” for a while now. Probably ever since I heard that Joss Whedon had been lured back to television, a playground that is far too empty without him. And to hear that he was teaming up with Eliza Dushku for a new series and was inviting a lot of his fellow Mutant Enemy friends to come and play in the sandbox…well, you can see why my expectation level was pretty high.

Maybe too high.

I say this because as I was watching this first episode, I found myself wanting to love “Dollhouse” a lot more than I did. It’s not to say it’s bad. Anything by Joss beats about 90% of everything else out there on TV, but as the episode closed, I still felt like something essentially Whedon-esque was missing here. And as I’ve thought about it, I think I’ve hit on it–the quotable dialogue.

So far, “Dollhouse” is a solid show with a good ensemble cast, an interesting premise and a long-term mystery storyline that could and should pay some real dividends. It’s got some nice questions about identity in it, it’s got the usual Whedon themes and it’s showing a step forward for Joss in terms of breaking out of his typical mold and trying to break new ground. But despite all of that, I still didn’t find the dialogue all that memorable or up to his usual standards. And that is one of the Whedon strengths. Also missing is the typcial way he makes you know and care about his characters quickly. We saw it with his three previous shows, but it was hard to connect with anyone here. But I think that may be part of the point here since Echo is reset each week. We’re supposed to see and experience this world through her eyes and ears, so if she resets each week, we may have a harder time connecting with these characters or getting to know them. At least right away….

It’s a Whedon show, so that means I will watch every episode. I have to recall that “Buffy” and “Angel” while they had solid starts, didn’t exactly launch out of the gate like gangbusters. Neither did “Firefly” for that matter, but I will admit I loved “Firefly” more after one episode than I love “Dollhouse.” Right now, “Dollhouse” is a show I really like and want to see more. Which I guess is what you want with a pilot.

I’m also willing to give the show a bit of a pass given how many times they had to tinker with the pilot. Hopefully the next few episodes will settle down and Joss can start to tell the stories he wants to in the way he wants to.

Until then, it’s just nice to have him back on TV. And I just hope Fox won’t pull the plug on this one after three episodes….

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