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Tag: Dollhouse

Dollhouse Dismantled

by on Feb.01, 2010, under TV

The final chapter has been closed.  Joss Whedon’s latest attempt at television success came to a bittersweet close last Friday.  Clearly I’ve had my druthers with the handling of this show (see here, herehere, and here), but I will try to keep this post about the show’s ending and avoid the downward spiral of network reproach.

Joss Whedon, in a word, is a genius.  Though it wasn’t aired on television, he had capped last season with a shocking look at what the future could hold for the technology of the Dollhouse – what seemed morally questionable became innocent and tame by comparison to the potential abuses.  Then in the second season Joss showed us bit by bit how such a future could come to be – weaving the various “flashbacks” from the fast forward into the regular season and filling in the gaps of how the technology could progress as such.

While I am sad to see the show end, I think that having a defined end point allowed for one of the best series wrap-ups I can ever remember seeing on television.  Whedon and co. delivered one-two punches week after week with the twists and turns in the plot for the past few months.  Characters who seemed infallible would fall, characters who seemed incorrigible would be redeemed, and characters who seemed as transparent as glass would turn out to have unimaginable secrets.

In the final hour, we were returned to the 10-years forward view of things, where despite (or perhaps as a result of) our heroes’ efforts, chaos reigns.  But where the previous flash forward showed an isolated snapshot of the future mixed with glimpses of the road to it, this episode was a mission to set all things right in the world.  As is common with a Joss Whedon wrap-up (e.g., Wash, Anya, Wesley), there were casualties.  And as would be realistic, there were bumps in the road to redemption.  But all things said and done, I couldn’t imagine it ending any other way.

It is ashame that the show did not garner the success or the due that it deserved – if you asked people about the show, they would either love it or not know what you are talking about (unfortunately the latter would be the majority).  But I enjoyed it while it lasted, I can feel confident in the ending laid out, and look forward to Joss’ next project (hopefully in no way tied to FOX).

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Formally Offended (eXpletive-free version)

by on Nov.12, 2009, under TV

I understand that business is business.  Even in the business of entertainment, if you aren’t making more than you are spending on a project then you need to either find a way to turn it around or cut your losses.  I get that.  However, with entertainment properties there is more than a simple matter of supply and demand.  There are qualities of value and message that come into play, factors that lead to a fandom and critical acclaim despite, sometimes in spite of, the numbers on the board.

Every season brings a crop of new shows presenting new talent and new twists on old themes, occasionally some unique perspectives and ideas.  And with this annual crop, there are at least as many weeds as blossoms.  And there is always some level of shuffling things around to give every piece its due time in the sun.  But it seems that some people are too cautious of thorns to know a rose when they have one.

Yesterday, Fox officially announced that they are cancelling Dollhouse during production of this season’s episode 11.  So Joss Whedon now has 2 remaining episodes to tie up all of his loose ends and create a series finale for a show that shouldn’t need to be singing its swan song.  I have not gone looking for a response from Joss or the cadst, but I can only imagine that none of them are happy with the decision.  Given the Fox/Whedon track record, I wouldn’t be surprised if Whedon is turned off from television for a long while.

This situation was completely avoidable.  (a) Fox could have allowed season one to follow Joss’ plan instead of forcing him to change it (since their changes lead directly to depressed ratings during the first half of that season).  (b) Fox could have given it a fighting chance by putting it on a higher traffic night and/or giving it a better lead in.  A Dollhouse/Fringe pairing would have made more sense this season than exiling it to Friday nights nestled among doomed sitcoms.  (c) Joss could have started shopping for a new home for the show at the end of last season when the series was in danger of cancellation (sorry Joss – didn’t want to pin any of this on you, but this IS the third time Fox has screwed you).

As far as I’m concerned, this is a last straw for Fox.  I encourage anyone who feels similarly to consider the following:  Do watch the remainder of the episodes of Dollhouse – preferrably live.  If you don’t watch any other Fox shows, keep it that way.  If you do, DVR them or watch them in some other method where you can avoid watching the commercials (note – I’m not advocating illegal downloading).  Make a conscious effort to avoid Fox and its related properties – take this to the degree you prefer, but note that Fox is owned by the News Corporation which also owns Fox News, FX, FMC, the My Network, NatGeo, Speed, MySpace, Photobucket, IGN and many others.

Luckily I’m fairly liberal-minded and Tom is not my friend, so many aspects of such a boycott will be easy for me.  But I am a fan of a number of other Fox shows such as Bones, Lie to Me, House and 24.  So I will have to either divorce myself of some of these shows or follow my own advice on finding alternate ways of watching them (though I do already DVR pretty much everything I watch).  I hope to see Joss bounce back from this – perhaps get the show picked up elsewhere or work on some cool new project.  Only time will tell.  As sad as I will be to see Echo fade away, I will not forget where the stake through her heart came from.  I understand business, Fox, and this is bad business.

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Eureka!

by on May.18, 2009, under TV

Okay, the title reminds me that there is another show in limbo that I wish I knew the fate of.  That aside, there is good news in the world of television!  It seems that both Chuck and Dollhouse have been renewed!  So it seems that both NBC and Fox realized the value in some of their assets enough to give them another chance.

With NBC, my guess is that the prime reason that Chuck’s fate was questionable was the fact that they are opting to give Leno the 10-spot 5 days a week starting this fall which seriously hampers their drama line-up.  I’m not sure how much the Save Chuck campaigns factored into their decision, but thankfully they decided to squeeze it in.  I will highly be looking forward to seeing Chuck start kicking ass with his newfound intersect abilities.

As for Fox – they have earned a reprieve from any sort of boycott from me.  Granted I would have liked to see another season of Terminator over drawing out Fringe any longer (especially after their questionable finale showing off an alternate reality where the twin towers survived), Dollhouse was a more solid show and deserved the renewal.  I can’t wait to see how things progress with Ballard now a company man and Alpha’s schemes gone awry.  Plus I can never see too much of Echo in action – they couldn’t turn down that kind of eye candy on primetime television (I always had faith).

Finally, prompted by my choice in title I am happy to report that season 3.5 of Eureka will be starting up on SciFi in July.  So all is well in the world of TV … for now.  Well, aside from a half dozen other cancellations that have alerady happened and renewals that shouldn’t have … we must take what we can get.

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From the First to the Last

by on May.10, 2009, under TV

The end has come, and it was an amazing ending. I’m speaking about the season finale of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.  The episode was chock full of action, suspense, answers and resolutions – everything a season closer should have.  Before you continue reading I want to point out two things:  if you don’t watch the show, most of the rest of this will not make sense; if you do watch the show but haven’t watch the finale, then this may spoil some things for you.  So if you fall into either of the aforementioned categories, you best stop here.

Throughout the season, the story arc has been well orchestrated and has built a strong and believeable canon.  And by the penultimate episode, several elements were poised for a climactic conflict – the Dollhouse continued to operate unaware of its own flaws, both Paul Ballard and Alpha were poised to step forward and get what they were after, and Echo has subtlely been more than she is expected to be.  On Friday night, it all came to a head revealing several mysteries in the process (including some that we may not have realized were mysteries to begin with).

This finale was a perfect conclusion to the current arc (though hopefully not the series as a whole – see prior post).  And the action started before the episode even began.  Last weeks episode, “Briar Rose”, was an artful set to the thrilling spike that was “Omega” which continued nearly off the very heals of its predecessor.  Following prior Paul’s infiltration and the revelation that his agoraphobic accomplice is none other than the inconspicuous Alpha, the Dollhouse has to gain control of the chaos in their laps (including Victor’s medical status, Echo’s absence, and Paul’s presence).  Interwoven with the efforts to piece together the present puzzle, there are flashbacks to the confluence of events that led to Alpha’s original breakdown and escape.  And while Ballard is busy convincing Topher that there is more to a person than a map of their brain, Alpha attempts to make a Bonnie to his Clyde out of Echo (or as he put it the Omega to his Alpha – hence the title).

After Alpha’s plans backfire (sorry for the spoiler, but hey – you were warned … and you should have seen it coming anyway), the denouement includes Alpha being shelved, November being set free, Echo returning to the hen house, and Paul possibly finding an unlikely new place to roost.  Along the way we also discovered that Amy Acker’s Dr. Saunders is actually a doll version of the previous doctor (who happened to be played by George Frankly from MathNet), that Chrissy Seaver can hack it as an adult actress, and that serial killers shouldn’t be used as actives – especially in engagements fulfilling someone else’s serial killer fantasy.  I just hope that Fox sees the forest through the trees with this one and give the show another season to find its audience.  Otherwise this precipice to the next chapter is just an amazing ending.

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Senseless Acts of Apathy

by on Apr.22, 2009, under TV

As is probably evident to those who know me or read here often, I watch a lot of TV. And every year I must content with the fact that not all of the shows that I like end up getting carried forward. Sure, I will grumble and moan about these decisions, but usually I see the logic and take solace in some new material that fills the void. But today I was doing some research to see what changes I should anticipate, and I have to say that I’m not happy with what I’ve read. (continue reading…)

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