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I haven't really been following the reaction to Dollhouse, but I read this review linked from then whedonesque feed yesterday, before I watched ep.4, and I thought what she said about the show's concept overburdening the narrative and and the difficulty of establishing an emotional connection to the characters - [...] but if he can make the concept resonate in the heart, it might just be genius. I hope for the time when watching Dollhouse gives me a visceral thrill, an emotional response, and a gut laugh—and not just an intellectual jungle gym. - was essentially true, even if for me personally the intellectual jungle gym was something I really appreciated about the show so far.

After ep. 4, however, I don't think it's true any longer that there's no emotional resonance, or at least it isn't for me. The characters are slowly starting to emerge and and unfold, reality is starting to infiltrate the perfect, controlled dollhouse world. And there were some very good emotional scenes in this episode: The mind-wiped Echo and the two guys locked in the vault was brilliantly done and very touching from start to finish with all the talk about broken-looking Picasso paintings and blue skies, to watch the bond between Echo and Sierra slowly forming and re-forming over the episodes despite the mind-wipes is fascinating, and the scene between Paul and Victor (And if your body turns up and tells a different story, well, that'll give me information, too. / Put on your mean face, act tough, but you will care, agent Ballard. That's your problem. Are people slashing them yet?) was chilling enough. No clear-cut good guys on this show. And I'm definitely starting to get attached to the characters.

And let's be fair here, that was only the fourth episode. With this specific premise the show needed this slow introduction and build up, it had to establish the impersonal atmosphere first, the (seemingly) perfectly controlled environment and routine, the claustrophobic, creepy wrongness of it all, for the viewer to fully appreciate how this is now falling apart, how things are starting to go wrong - or, maybe more precisely, finally, right. It needed to be shown to be inhuman, because it is inhuman, before it could become human.

It's certainly not Buffy II, or even Firefly II, but that's actually part of what I like about Dollhouse, that it's so radically different. Different is good. Different is interesting. I've just rewatched the whole of Buffy, and a thinly-veiled remake of that is really not what I'm looking for right now. Judging from the complicated premise and the careful, slow build-up and pacing, Dollhouse seems to be a more adult, thoughtful, and thought-through show, and so far I like that.

In conclusion, pretty please, show, don't get cancelled.

But then again I'm watching Torchwood for the plot, and stuck with Andromeda for three seasons because of the interesting philosophical premise, so maybe this should be taken with a couple of grains of salt.



solitary summer

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