Joss Whedon is a household name now thanks to hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and, most recently, the blockbuster The Avengers. He has surpassed his ‘for people in the know’ status which gained him a cult following amongst us geeky types, with top sci-fi series like Firefly and web musical Dr Horrible’s Sing a-long Blog starring How I Met Your Mother’s Neil Patrick Harris, web star Felicia Day and (also from Firefly and Buffy) Nathan Fillion.
While he’s managed to create some hugely successful TV and films, he’s also made some great shows that didn’t make it as long as the fans hoped. Notably, Firefly and Dollhouse. While both have gained a carry-on in graphic novel form, they started as excellent TV viewing.
Though Dollhouse ran for only two seasons – twenty-six episodes in total – it accomplished a lot in the short time it was given. Set in a present modern time (think 2010ish), this story follows the life, or rather the new life, of Echo. Echo is brought to life by Buffy alum Eliza Dushku, who flexes her acting muscles episode after episode bringing life to a character who plays a number of other characters. Sounds confusing but wait…
The Dollhouse is an organisation that lays claim to creating the perfect personality for anyone, at the right price of course. They do this by using the most advanced technologies, carefully crafted by resident tech and sarcastic know it all Topher. He’s loveable in a nerdy way, and ‘imprinting’ each person or Doll with a person that they fully believe themselves to be, then erased when their task has been completed.
The Dolls are beautiful men and women who’ve become part of the Dollhouse system, which seems voluntarily. They have their memories and personalities wiped so that they can become the lover, assassin, specialist or friend that the buyer wants or needs. The Dollhouse operates out of an underground facility run by the calm, decisive and firm Adelle Dewitt (Olivia Williams).
The Dollhouse has recently faced a rogue Doll, an event that seems to have created a domino effect on the other Dolls. The mystery about what happened with this doll, Alpha, and how it changes Echo unravels across the two seasons. Outside threats create drama, action and humour in classic Whedon style episode after episode.
A fantastic show that wraps up nicely after two seasons, so you don’t have to worry about it not having a fair conclusion. For Whedonites it’s a must. If you like real world sci-fi that has a bit of thought, there’s an overarching theme of morality, or if you just like Eliza Dushku (who doesn’t?!) then try an episode.
Available on DVD and Netflix now.