So two weeks into Joss Whedon's new sci-fi turn drama 'Dollhouse', what have we learnt exactly? Well we know that any amount of meddling on FOX's part in the creation process puts the show back a week (thanks to the ordered rescripting of the pilot), we know that a lone FBI agent is on the trail of the Dollhouse and we know that Eliza Dushku can really kick ass, although didn't we know that before?
Many fans of Joss remember the days of 'Buffy' and 'Angel' when between some decent vampire butt kicking there would be plenty of wit and punch from the fellow 'Scoobies'. But that doesn't seem to be the way of the 'Dollhouse'. Instead, some may view the show as an easy way for Dushku (who plays the heroine, Echo) to dress up each week in a different costume and a different character, seemingly wasting our time with lovely organised stories which may as well have been individualised to each episode.
There may, even, be very little reason to care for Echo and her predicament, along with the rest of the 'Dolls' but I was captured by the pilot (despite the bias of being a previous Joss fan) and thankfully episode two showed the beginning of a developing story, something which may in the end give back to the audience what they are craving for.
In recent seasons, the serial has taken a bad slapping across the face with a fish. Shows like Heroes have lost viewers and despite several attempts at starting again (after the disruptive WGA strike last year), it just hasn't returned to the former sci-fi royalty was it of Season One. Lost has returned with Season Five, bigger and better than ever but it wasn't until there was a definite ending that the writers pulled themselves together and finally started moulding a story which could, and I use the next word with both hands tied behind my back, easily! Although after recent episodes JJ Abrams and the gang seem to be moving away from sci-fi and more towards pure science.
So it lands upon Joss Whedon's door to return the sci-fi serial to the popularity it once was, hopefully after nearly a decade of vampireverse we would hope he had learnt something. 'Dollhouse' serves two sorts of audience, sci-fi friendly in regards to the history of the Dolls but also fans of action drama (think 24 mixed with Quantum Leap) with lots of guns, running and shouting.
Episode Two saw flashbacks starting to come back to Echo, what of her past and how did she get to the Dollhouse? But so many other questions arise in my mind, like how do they get the memories of those people they use as imprints, why did the Alpha goes on a rampage and who else knows about the Dollhouse? Cleverly Joss does the exact opposite to that of the pilot, where we saw emptiness in the character, Episode Two saw some emotion (when Echo tells Boyd to trust her), something behind the character and the repercussions that Echo is having throughout the company. So please, writers, lets have more of that.
Hopefully over the next few episodes, the charm of the Whedon program (especially 'Buffy' and the recent 'Dr Horrible' come to mind) comes to light and he will return to the top of the TV charts with a much needed, well missed, good quality sci-fi show.