Well, boys and girls, the moment we’ve all been waiting for — the premiere of a new Joss Whedon TV show — has come and gone. Dollhouse has reared its not-at-all-ugly head; what do We think of it? Did the mindbending adventures of Echo (Eliza Dushku) tickle your geek fancy, or were you left as blank as an Active’s brain after an “engagement”?
You can read Ken Tucker’s official take here, but I’ve got a few SPOILERY thoughts of my own…after the jump.
1. It’s all pretty cool. Literally, there’s something very calm, very serene about the way Dollhouse unfolded. Despite the warm earth tones of the Dollhouse itself, “Ghost” was a sterile, emotion-lite episode. Much of that comes from the fact that we know that whatever Echo is experiencing isn’t “real” — yes, her breakdown when confronted with the kidnapper-rapist was heartfelt and moving, but it wasn’t Echo’s breakdown. It belonged to the personality she’d been imprinted with. Maybe as time goes on, and Echo herself registers as a character, I’ll become more invested.
2. Eliza Dushku sure is purty. In the words of my buddy Josh, so long as each adventure finds her in progressively fewer clothes, we’re all good. (And is it weird that Tahmoh Penikett was wearing less clothes, on average, than Dushku? Whedon is, apparently, an equal opportunity titilator.)
3. 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.
4. Fridays might be a blessing. It seemed like a curse, Dollhouse being scheduled on Friday night, usually the death zone for first-run TV. But perhaps the diminished expectations could do it a favor — ratings that would be a failure on any other night might be seen as victory on a Friday.
5. For all that, I can’t wait to see what happens next. Whedon is one of a handful of creators — like Ronald D. Moore, James Cameron, and Warren Ellis — whom I will trust to either get it right, or fail because their reach exceeding their grasp. Their mistakes are often as interesting as other people’s successes. So I’m in for the long haul.
What about you? Are you checking in to Dollhouse, or was this a very short stay?