In case you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, the premier of Joss Whedon’s much anticipated new series, Dollhouse, occurred this past Friday night. After months of hype, studio issues and re-shoots, is Dollhouse set to take the world by storm?
In a word: No.
Now, I’m not a Whedon fanboy. I’ve never seen any Buffy or Angel episodes, but I was hooked on Firefly from the very first time I saw it (on DVD, not during its run on Fox). I didn’t get the excitement or interest level from Dollhouse that I did from Firefly. Maybe it’s because I love space-based SF (especially on TV) than I do current or near future SF. However, I do like the idea behind Dollhouse, but the execution left a lot to be desired.
I was expecting the same level of wit and by play in the conversations as we get in Firefly. We didn’t get that. I was expecting interesting characters and situations. We didn’t get that. In fact, there is no character at all that I found to be even mildly interesting. I thought Echo was dull and Topher Brink (WTF kind of name is that?) to be insufferable and oily. The rest of the cast was even less engaging, and every time Tamoh Penikett was onscreen, I kept expecting to see him in his flightsuit. Maybe with a bit more backstory to come the characters will become more interesting. Maybe.
I thought the acting was rather sub-par as well. Eliza Dushku just didn’t do anything for me at all with her ‘acting’ abilities. It always seemed that she was trying to act, instead of just acting. And Fran Kanz seemed like he was reciting his lines instead of actually talking to people. The only person I felt did a decent job with his role was Harry Lennix, although his character seems to to be the ‘conscience of the corporation’.
Even the story wasn’t all that exciting. It felt rushed and ham-handed, probably a result of only having an hour to tell the story). Maybe the series will even out as it goes along, but I think we can see why the execs at Fox wanted to work on the show before it aired. Even so, I think this is a mediocre offering. We know Joss can do wonders, just look at Dr. Horrible, but apparently he left the ‘wonder’ part at home.
If you’re a fan of the show, you have to be very concerned about the ratings. Even for being placed in the Friday night ‘death slot’, Dollhouse fared very poorly, being seen by a paltry 4.7 million viewers and with a 2(!) rating in 18-49 year olds, with a 6 share. These are not good numbers. I’d say that without drastic improvement and quick, Dollhouse will be put out of its misery and buried faster than you can say Firefly. I’ll probably give it two more weeks before pulling the plug. After that, it’ll be a poor replacement for Psych as that show ends its latest season. I’m very disappointed by what I saw.
Could it be possible that the execs at Fox actually knew what they were doing by putting Dollhouse on Fridays?
If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it below: