So Dollhouse is over. I watched it all online, ‘cause I couldn’t bare to wait for those belated English airdates; how I love the Internet. I realise I’m way behind seeing as it’s been over for over a week and I bet if any of you care you would have read loads of posts about the same thing elsewhere. But meh…. I’ll carry on.
Dollhouse is the latest piece of gold to come from the God that is Joss Whedon and (yet again) Fox didn’t give it the chance it deserved. Cancelled. Morons. With only two seasons to prove it’s worth, you may as well take the time to watch it all!
For non-sci-fi/Whedon fans out there who may not already know, I’ll fill you in. There is this evil corporation which the future-changing technology to be able to re-write a person’s brain. This corporation runs a load of underground ‘dollhouses’ across the globe (though we don’t know that part right away – obviously) full of ‘volunteers’ who have their brains wiped for 5 years. They are referred to as actives and work for the house. Their bodies are pretty much rented by very, very rich people who can pick and chose what qualities they want their doll to have. It’s like a really expensive pimp agency only, your doll doesn’t know they’re a doll and genuinely loves you. All the dolls are beautiful – because obviously us humans would never pay high dollar for an ugly bit on the side. But wait! They’re not just prostitutes, they can be ANYTHING you want… ninja, thief… whatever.
So season one sees Caroline, played by Eliza Dushku sign her life away to Adelle DeWitt (Olivia Williams). She is then wiped and becomes the wondrous Echo.
The initial premise may seem a little far fetched and season 1 was a little samey with the first 6 episodes just setting the scene, sending Echo off to do a variety of different things. It gave us all a chance to settle into the idea of what was going on before it started to hit us with the awesomeness. Unfortunately as amazing as it was, the show was never given a chance.
Dollhouse was at least given warning of the approaching end, given them enough to come up with an ending rather just leaving it in midair but this isn’t like it’s good enough. There are so many shows that just keep going and going until the writers have nothing left to say and they stop caring about their work – it’s just about the money now.
There is an awesome io9 article here which deserves your attention. She talks about the desire – fear paradigm going on through the show and the slow shift towards fear as time goes on.
Because Dollhouse was facing it’s cancellation some things felt a little forced and clumsy, as they sprinted to the end of the story in such a tiny space. If they were given more time, it wouldn’t have been such a sprint for the finish line. And the Boyd thing might have been a little less lame…
Dollhouse is a show that should have made it. It explored something different, but there we have our problem. By stepping away from what everyone else was doing and trying to be creative and explore new ideas the show was always going to be under threat.
Throughout the two seasons, Dollhouse has explored what it is to be human. It was an ambitious concept but I think they did it. Dollhouse takes a possible world (as opposed to a fantasy world) and builds on it. That is how science works; keeps trying to improve on itself and to make money. Science wants to move the world into the future and isn’t going to let a few ethical qualms get in it’s way. This is scary. Actually scary.
Dollhouse was probably too dark for Fox. But it’s filled with a whole bunch of upbeat themes that showed the light through the darkness. The hints for Fox to see and hold on to, like Anthony and Priya’s love being completely unbreakable and able to transcend the mind no matter who they were printed with.
As it turned out, Dollhouse wasn’t as dark as we all thought it was going to be. Joss gave us some optimism, this idea that even though all this is coming at us, we’re still going to come out the other end. Yeah the world is a shitty place, but we can get through it. Ok, I almost feel like that sounds a little cheesy – but maybe that’s ‘cause we feel like there are only two dots on the spectrum; cheese or misery.
It would have been nice to get to see the show run it’s course at a regular pace and smooth everything out a bit. I am a little angry that it was taken away from me! I don’t understand why there needs to be so much of the same crap on TV but as soon as something comes along exploring anything remotely deeper than a group of teenagers having sex or people trying to become pop-stars, then it is shut down. How dare anyone in the media industry try go against the same tired formular…?