Monday, February 1, 2010

I'm not broken

Welcome to the Dollhouse

To say I am heartbroken about the demise of Dollhouse is to say I am heartbroken by Sarah Mclachlan's ASPCA ads.

The problems with Dollhouse, in my highly biased opinion, didn't have so much to do with the show itself as with the outside factors. So let's begin.

It must be said that I would follow Joss Whedon to any project. Joss could produce and direct the next season of Who Wants To Be a Fat Sloppy Housewife and I would not only watch it, but would record it, blog about it, and talk obsessively via Twitter about it's merits.

The same could be said for Eliza Dushku. I will follow this woman to the ends of the earth. I paid full price for Soul Survivors the day it came out. I stuck through the first season of Tru Calling, and screamed with rage when the second season was canceled. She is truly the only woman I would completely renounce the penis for.

All of that being said, however? I would have watched Dollhouse without these two power players being at the helm.

A lot of people were not willing to give this show a chance after the first few episodes. While I don't blame them, I think this was a huge mistake, especially on the part of the already established Whedon fanbase. Looking back at Season 1 of Buffy, compared to the other seasons, even the one that followed directly after, it is far inferior. The storyline is good, as is the writing, but nowhere near the quality fans grew to expect from later seasons.

On the flip side of that coin is Angel, which started strong and slowly dragged itself down come seasons 3 and 4. But Angel started with a strong storyline from the gate, and unfortunately character growth also meant character death, at least personality wise, for some beloved characters.

Then you've got the Firefly fanbase. This is another animal alltogether. Some gave up on the first episode. This is because the first episode wasn't even the first episode, and it wasn't an especially good jump-off. However, those who stuck around until the very sad, very bloody abrupt ending were especially angry and destroyed. This was how the movie Serenity got going.

All of this being said, people should have stuck around for Dollhouse.

Thus we come to problem number two.

When the fans learned Joss was making a new show, the reaction was much squeeing and rejoicing. Then to find out Eliza would be the main star, it was joy of orgasmic proportions.

Then the shoe dropped. The show would be airing on Fox. The joy turned to shrieks of horror. After the abomination that was Joss' treatment at the hands of Fox five years prior, was he really thinking of going back to them? It's like returning to the husband that has just broken your nose and left you blind in one eye.

But we went with it. The Writer's Strike hit, and Joss stood out with his sign regarding Dollhouse, and we were ready for this show.

Which aired on Friday nights. At 8pm.

This is also called the SLOT OF DEATH.

Fox let this show flounder. And the only reason it didn't get cut off completely at the close of Season 1 is because Fox was terrified of the backlash from psychotic fans already ravenous for blood after Firefly.

They didn't give the show a chance, and that's the worst part of all. Because the plot was brilliant. The storylines were interesting. The beginning of the first season was slow going, but once it picked up speed, it really did keep you on the edge of your seat, shrieking with each new reveal.

And the cast was beyond amazing. Joss and co. have an absolutely uncanny knack for finding virtual unknowns (or almost unknowns) and making them shine.

Setting aside the already established Joss actors, let's discuss the new Whedon alumni.

Kiki Enver Gjokaj

Enver may be the greatest Joss find in awhile. From minute one on the screen, Enver became whatever character, whatever accent he was "imprinted" with. The man has rockstar good looks, and you find yourself skimming over that because his acting skills are so monumental. Whether he's Adelle's love puppy, Topher's body double, or booty shaking KiKi, he was up to every challenge. He was perfect cast in the role as Tony, the soldier. But I had no idea how that would end up in the final episodes. He's got an amazing career ahead of him.

Priya Dichen Lachman

Aside from the fact that she has an Australian accent, which makes me automatically want to be best friends with her, Dichen is an incredibly warm, full-on actress. Sadly, her scene-stealing scenes were few and far between, but when she was the focus of a scene, it didn't matter who else was with her, you were paying attention to her. Her face is so incredibly striking, and whether she was a nerdy fangirl, a hardass safe cracker, or a soft painter, you believed everything she was doing. Her final scenes were some of the most touching in the finale.

Man friend! Fran Kranz

I despised the character of Topher in the first season. But I adored Fran Kranz. That is what makes a good actor. He was so swarmy and morally ambiguous, but by the end of the season, it was so hard not to hurt when he hurt, and feel exactly what it was he was feeling. I see Joss has cast him in his new project, Cabin in the Woods, and that thrills me to no end. Here's looking forward to Fran being Joss's latest hat trick.

I could eat that word Olivia Williams

Arguably the most established bit player of the show. I discovered Saturday that she was the mother in the live action version of Peter Pan, a decidedly UN-Adelle role. Olivia was incredible in the role of Adelle. Super strong mega bitch who genuinely cares for those under her supervision, and always with the best shoes in the room. Her scenes with Fran Kranz are some of the best in the show.

I could keep going, but I really need to stop, because this is becoming a tl;dr (aka Teal Deer).

This show did not deserve the treatment it got. Neither from the Network, nor from the fans. Joss didn't deserve it. The ensemble cast didn't deserve it. And goddamit, the fans didn't deserve it either.

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