Is Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse" worth a visit?
This is the first new TV show from the "Buffy" mastermind since "Angel" was staked by UPN five years ago. Whedon's kept busy in the interim — writing comic books, working on the now defunct "Wonder Woman" feature, creating the wonderful Internet sensation "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" — but this return to his medium of choice is good news for his legions of fans.
So why aren't I more excited? For starters, the plot of "Dollhouse" is just plain bizarre. A group of beautiful young people get their memories and personalities erased by a shadowy, secret organization, then new personalities are uploaded into their brains according to the whims of the agency's uber-rich clients. One day a "doll" — such as series star Eliza Dushku as Echo — could be a hostage negotiator (as in tonight's pilot), the next she could be a high-priced escort. Why the clients don't just pay for REAL hostage negotiators or REAL escorts is anybody's guess.
But what's really getting me down about "Dollhouse" are the advance reviews. Not good. Says Variety's Brian Lowry: "Attempting to unravel this convoluted package suggests that by the time 'Dollhouse' finds itself, there won't be anybody but hard-core Whedon worshippers left to play with."
Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker gives the show a B-, and says he worries about the concept being able to support a weekly series. Yet he's still willing to give it a shot. "Given the artfully vague hints of an intriguingly desperate past for Echo, as well as Whedon's track record, we ought to cut the show some slack," Tucker writes.
So how about it, fellow Whedon fans? Are you going to give "Dollhouse" a chance? More importantly, will anybody else? My biggest worry, given the mind-bending plot and the Friday night timeslot, is that if I do start enjoying "Dollhouse," it's just going to get axed anyway.
"Dollhouse" airs tonight at 8 p.m. on Fox.
— Adam Reinhard, firstname.lastname@example.org