Occasionally I offend even myself, which is why I haven’t published anything about the much-awaited pilot of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. I made many attempts, to be sure, and none of them came close to the kind of straightforward summary that I can finally achieve:
It was okay.
I feel like a traitor. I don’t know what else to say; it was just alright. It felt like a pilot episode, which is to say: it felt grossly overworked and expository, and sadly I can think of recent television pilots that engaged me more (Lie to Me was instantly entertaining to me, for example, despite having similar flaws). While watching, I distinctly remember thinking, “This is good,” and then immediately afterwards thinking, “Except, kind of not.” Days later, I’m still in that headspace: it appealed to me in parts, and turned me off in others.
One of my thoughts was regarding the genre of shows where a large, rich clandestine operation exists wholly outside of the public eye. And my inability to submerge myself into these stories. My suspicious, conspiracy theorist side knows that in fact the great bulk of governments and corporations are totally occluded from the public eye (for each Enron scandal that makes CNN, how many go their quiet way?) but while watching Dollhouse I still mentally groused “What is stopping these millionares from spilling the beans about the Dollhouse when they’re drunk? When they want attention?” The whole scenario felt precarious and fragile, and I am already tired of the constant ‘will they be exposed – find out in the next episode of Dollhouse!’ plotline that is bound to follow.
Oh, these? There’s no real story. I tripped, there was an electric fan, you can see where this is going.
There are characters I expected to like and didn’t – in fact, I didn’t connect with anyone. For example, I like Amy Acker as much as the next Angel fan, but her acting/character was weird. Was that supposed to be sexual tension between her and Echo? Because it also felt like she couldn’t remember her lines, which seems unlikely. Between her gloomy, drifty whispering and the facial scars, I really would have preferred to enter the scene and announce, “Hi, I’m Dr. Mysterious – I mean Saunders, haha, Saunders.”
The question now lingers: did I end up being influenced by the pervasive online negativity? Who knows. The important part is that I’m wasting precious mental resources on it.