DollHouse #! Ghost Season 1/2009

Truth Seeker



Writers:Joss Whedon

Director:Joss Whedon

Stars:Eliza Dushku (Echo)
Tahmoh Penikett (Paul Ballard)
Olivia Williams (Adelle DeWitt)
Fran Kranz (Topher Brink)
Harry J. Lennix (Boyd Langton)
Enver Gjokaj (Lubov)
Dichen Lachman (Sierra)

Recurring Role:Amy Acker (Dr. Claire Saunders)
Guest Star:Reed Diamond (Laurence Dominic)
Brett Claywell (Matt)
Kurt Caceres (Gabriel Crestejo)
Haley Pullos (Davina Crestejo)
Oscar Orlando-Torres (Chui)
David Doty (Dir. Sam Zimmerman)
Vincent Laresca (Mr. Sunshine)
Tim Kelleher (Detmer)

Echo is one of the "Actives" in the elite and illegal Dollhouse. Through different personality downloads, she plays the role of a lovestruck girl on a romantic weekend, and then a ruthlessly efficient kidnapping negotiator.

Meanwhile, FBI Agent Paul Ballard is struggling with his assignment to uncover information on the Dollhouse. The chase has destroyed his marriage and is wrecking his career, and it doesn't seem that he'll stop until he uncovers the truth.
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First Post
I liked it!! :D

I'm with you. I am facinated by it actually. Its like a show within the show. the real show is this whole mystery of exactly what dollhouse is and hat's with all the regimen stuff... then there's the whole crazy guy at the end... and not to mention the business seems scrupilous. That fits right in line with my campaigns. I always like to put good people in bad situations.


I found it cringe-worthy creepy in places. Which is not to say that's a bad thing...if you're not questioning the morality of what's going on then the show's not doing its' job. It's SUPPOSED to make you uncomfortable.

That said, the cringiest part of the show for me was the running commentary from Eliza Dushku and Summer Glau during the commercial was too "Hi, watch me, I'm hot!". Using your attractive actresses to shill for a show about attractive women being exploited...a little self-referentially creepy.

Half-serious, moralistic hand-wringing aside, it was a great show, and I'll be watching it.

Could the FBI Agent guy be any more like Nathan Fillion, without being some kind of clone? ;)


The Laughing One
The series shows promise. Initially the general thought is that Dollhouse = Whorehouse, but then they start supplying negotiators and combat specialists.

One of my first thoughts on the series is why they are motivated to join the Dollhouse to become 'Actives'. Have they commited some serious crime and this is a way out, have they some horrible memory, is it money? Is it one of the above, all of the above, or none of the above?

The thing thats quickly obvious is that Dollhouse is there to provide a service for the ultra rich. But as the episode progresses, it suddenly starts to dawn on me that Dollhouse might not be there for the living, but as a service to the dead... I'm curious if other episodes will continue to show this.

Cor Azer

First Post
First thought: Joss Whedon is really getting higher production values... you know, except for the Mutant Enemy logo :)

Second thought: Very intriguing. I liked it.

I think the kidnapping negotiator was exactly the sort of imprint they needed to showcase first. Yes, they flirted with the rich kid having a wild (sexual?) time with Echo around the teaser, but given that 1. the hype about the show was that the Active's could be "anyone" and do "anything", and 2. Joss likes him some ass kickin' women - he really did need to show what other sorts of services the company provides right away, so that the show doesn't start off as "Ninja Whorehouse".

Upon Echo/Mrs Penn's panic flash to the download station/table upon recognizing her kidnapper, I sort of got the feeling that the Mrs. Penn personality blacked out, and Echo's re-emerged for just a moment. That traumatizing event is what sets up the recuring idea that Echo begins sort of recalling what's going on (which is my understanding of the main hook behind the show).


Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
[cross-post from CM]

In my opinion Eliza Dushku is not a good actress. I know that is not going to fit well with some Buffy and Angel fans. But, it's my strong opinion.

She's soap-opera level. 90210 level. She exaggerates lines because she seems to think that is "acting". She makes for a fine supporting character, because she is pretty and can hold down a character actor role good enough to get by. In fact, she can make a pretty good one-dimensional actor if there is enough smart alec in there to distract from the fact that she cannot portray more than one personality. But she cannot play the lead in this kind of show that calls for depth of personality, and have the show be good. And she isn't going to get any better - because she has enough experience to have had that development happen already, and it did not.

And because she is not a good actress, or good enough for this kind of role at least, I think the show will fail.

Others will of course disagree. I suspect most who disagree come from a background of already liking her from Angel and Buffy. Some respectable sources seem to agree with me on this one.

For example, the San Francisco Chronicle said:

But "Dollhouse" doesn't work, on numerous levels - starting with Dushku. She's not a sufficiently compelling actress to pull off the various personas she's given. What's worse, "Dollhouse" wants the "dolls" to be childlike and unencumbered by thought when they're not on assignment. This doe-eyed, vacant state does not suit Dushku. She mainly walks around bemusedly, looking wan.


The Dushku factor: Hey, look! It's Eliza Dushku in a micro-mini! Hey, look, it's Eliza Dushku with her hair in a bun and a skirt-suit! How versatile! I don't want to be too dismissive of her. I think there are certain things she does very, very well, most of which (sass alternated with vulnerability) Joss Whedon showcased nicely in "Buffy" season three. But she's not the chameleon actress that this role requires, and when she puts on the glasses and the skirt-suit, she doesn't seem like a different person, but like Faith trying to bluff her way through a crisis. The other two episodes I've seen have the imprinted roles falling very much in Dushku's wheelhouse, which is better for plausibility's sake but not so helpful for the larger idea that she starts over from scratch as a new person each week.


But I'm not sure she's got the tools for the job. As I watched the premiere, I couldn't help but wonder, What would an actress like Naomi Watts do with this role? Super-confident and tough-as-nails are right in Dushku's wheelhouse, but when Whedon asks her to play brittle, or overwhelmed, or sheepish, or do an accent, things might not go as smoothly.

Waterloo Record (Canada):

My guess is that Dollhouse -- despite creator Whedon's reputation as a studio-bucking maverick who delights in tweaking convention -- won't be the show to crack the barrier and gain traction with mainstream viewers, not only because the convoluted nature of its premise makes it hard to follow, but because his modelesque lead actress comes off as more of a tortured mannequin (and unwitting prostitute) than a woman of depth and substance.

Wide-eyed and innocent, she toddles around the dollhouse looking vaguely perplexed -- say, didn't I used to be someone else? -- until her smart-aleck handlers fry her brainwaves and mould her into yet another one-dimensional archetype.

There are a dozen other actresses with the right look, and better acting ability, available to play this role. I fear Joss falling for Eliza, on a personal level, has blinded him to her lack of acting depth sufficient to play this role.

And because she is also a producer, I think there is no way out. She is stuck with the role, he wrote the role for her, bent over backwards for her by going with Fox (where she is obligated under contract), and he gave her a truck load of cash and a percentage through production rights. So, the show fails or succeeds with her, and I think it fails because of her. And this time, she may take Joss down with her.


First Post
[cross-post from CM]

In my opinion Eliza Dushku is not a good actress.

While I agree that there are better actresses out there, Joss Whedon's track record is simply too good. He'll get the most out of Dushku, while surrounding her with outstanding talent and good scripts. I'm not prepared to write this one off yet.


Getting lost in fantasy maps
Mistwell, I agree completely. I had a fun time with the show, and I'm willing to give the show a handful of more episodes before writing it off because of her.

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