19.5.09

Dollhouse Pilot

Some notes:

Opening party sequence, a standard mislead, was also a ploy to grab attention by throwing sex and motors at the screen. It backfired. Pretty dull and pointless. Whedon should know better.

We should remember that another pilot was shot, which got rejected for being too 'dark' and 'confusing'. Remember Firefly? A brilliant pilot was shelved for the DVD, and a sunnier episode was moved to first place. Hate to blow the 'Whedon got screwed by the studio' fanboy horn. But in judging the pilot, we should be aware that the creator's original instincts led in a different direction. Perhaps one without motorbikes.

Introduction to Ballard character was amazing. Beefcake doesn't hurt, of course. This is why Joss Whedon is brilliant. Some might say the effect used was too heavy-handed. Personally, I dislike the equivocal style in shows like Mad Men, so for me it wasn't a problem.

Some interesting exchanges between Topher and Boyd, even if it is a little bit 'I'm gonna explain stuff to you that you should already know by now'. But hey, Shakespeare did it...

Dialogue didn't lack wit, but jokes are pretty low-key. Oh well...

I believe the hostage negotiator plot-line was carefully chosen, asking us to compare the activities and intentions of the kidnappers with that of the Dollhouse. Both Davina and Echo are taken against their will. Both are traded for cash. One of the kidnappers has 'unprofessional' motives, and perhaps that's true for the Dollhouse as well (Topher creeps me out). Both girls have men working on the outside to free them (Gabriel and Agent Ballard), who are somewhat useless. In the end, Echo frees Davina, her 'other half', suggesting that to gain her own freedom, she will have to rely on herself. All of this is clever stuff. I'm surprised Whedon didn't underline it more.

The plot itself was quite ridiculous. But so what? I can be pretty forgiving when it comes to the mechanics of telling a story, as long as that story is saying something. Buffy, wonderfully, could take the piss when it came to plotting, because of its story-as-metaphor setup. Dollhouse needs to be more disciplined, and I think it is. I mean, come on, look at 24, Lost, Prison Break...

On Eliza Dushku. I think she has the charisma to carry the show. And no, I'm not just being polite and using 'charisma' instead of something else...

On the caring about people with no personality front. I cared. I was with Echo every step of the way. We're watching her brain and body get hideously fucked with. The personality she was imprinted with also had its own pathos, which Dushku conveyed very well. So my sympathy neurons were firing at full blast.

In all, pretty solid. And from what I've heard, it only gets better.

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