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Dollhouse – Ghost (A review)

Joss Whedon (if you don’t know who that is, seriously. Come on. Wiki and enjoy the good TV :P) this week released his new television show on Fox, the same TV station that screwed him over with Firefly, believe it or not.

This evening I got my junk food, sat down and watched the pilot episode, and enjoyed it.

Yeah, I’m not a Joss nut. I enjoyed Firefly immensely, Buffy and Angel were fun but it’s not essential TV viewing for me. This show I’m not exactly too sure with yet.

Eliza Dushku plays a down on her luck girl who has obviously run into some trouble in her life. She finds the illegal and highly mysterious “Dollhouse” and offers to work for them for five years, where she becomes “Echo”. The catch? She exists in a simple, mind wiped state until she is needed – when they implant her with any personality the company needs her for. The rich and important hire her for a night out where she will genuinely fall in love with you, next day she’s a hostage negotiator. Everything she experiences is then wiped and she’s back to her clean slate for the next day. But can you really wipe a soul?

That’s the story that Joss is going for here. Slowly in her wiped state she begins to click, form bonds with the other actives. We don’t see much of that in the first episode, but we do discover that the memory implants aren’t exactly perfect – the negotiator profile of the real person who it was copied happened to have been tortured as a little girl and the kidnapper of the case she is working on happens to be the same man, so she has to deal with these brand new fears implanted into her.

While most police and the general public think that the Dollhouse is a myth, one cop disagrees and continues to hunt for these people, even interfering with proper police cases and getting himself into trouble.

Unlike most other Joss stories, there’s not a whole lot of mystery to start off with. In the opening episode of Firefly we were wondering who all these characters are and where do they come from (and still do today). Apart from Echo’s seedy past, there’s not much else to go with. I have faith that there’s more to this story, I’m guessing it will be a slow reveal. Let’s hope not too slow. And it’s not as humorous as Joss’s previous work. All of his other stuff has had some great moments you can’t help but giggle at, even though it’s not meant to be a comedy piece. Having Joss in this serious mode is a little unusual..

The acting is pretty good too. Eliza does a great job playing a different characters this week. One moment a happy go lucky 20 something to a serious “don’t mess with me” woman who sorts out hostage negotiations..

So far I like but not overly impressed. I’ll keep watching for the moment. Hopefully things will slowly unravel and I will be able to smile in acknowledgement as I rewatch it much later on down the track.

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