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Primetime Show Reviews

Dollhouse' Eliza Dushku and Fran Kranz

"Dollhouse" Series Premiere Review by Suzanne

Dollhouse is an intriguing scifi show. You may know that it was created in part by Joss Whedon, who also created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly (Serenity). Eliza Dushku, who stars in Dollhouse and was also Faith in those first two shows, co-created the show.

If you are expecting the show to be as good as those other Whedon shows, you may be disappointed. It is not a show that immediately grabs you or changes your life. It is definitely good, and better than most other TV shows. Once you get into the show, though, you will be hooked. It has excellent writing, acting, and tons of action, and it makes you think as well.

The Dollhouse is a secret organization. People who want to leave their pasts behind sign up to be "Dolls", which means the organization erases their personality and uses them on various excursions. They can put a new personality profile in to give them whatever skills or knowledge they need to get the job done. Of course that's the science fiction part.

The ethics of the Dollhouse are questionable because they do get the dolls' consent in writing before they make them into dolls. They sign up for five years to be dolls and get paid well in return. The jobs they send them on, however, are often risky and not always legal. Also, the technology is new and untested, so the dolls could be hurting themselves.

Eliza Dushku plays Echo (formerly Caroline), a college student who gets into trouble when she and some friends break into a lab to find out what this corporation is doing. Her boyfriend gets killed, and she gets caught, so she signs up with the dollhouse to get out of trouble (the same corporation that she was investigating runs the dollhouse). We learn all of this from various episodes. There are other dolls, too, that we learn about, like November, Sierra, and Victor. There is a doctor, played by Amy Acker (Fred in Angel), some scientists, and other characters, all cast very well. You get to know them all gradually. The writing keeps you guessing and takes lots of twists and turns.

The main hero of the show, besides Echo, is an FBI agent named Paul, played by Taminoh Penikett (Helo on Battlestar Galactica). He has learned bits of information about the Dollhouse and wants to stop them, which is very difficult because no one else believes they exist. Another hero is Echo's handler, Boyd (Harry J. Lennix), who was in law enforcement and clearly has trouble with the dollhouse in many ways.

It's a complex show in many ways, but it's not hard to follow. There is plenty of action, especially when the dolls are kicking butt. You will be entertained. Some episodes are better than others. It's definitely worth watching. It has made a good pairing with Terminator: Sarah Connor chronicles up till now. Both air on Fridays on FOX.


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Updated 4/12/09 

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