Thursday, November 12, 2009

The House Is Closed

It was a good run and a valiant effort. I "hmmed" a good bit when the news came out no episodes of Dollhouse would air in November - it's sweeps time, after all and that's when all-important advertising rates are set. But now it's official - Dollhouse will finish its run (the finale will most likely air in late January) but it's gone to the scrap heap of canceled shows.

Whedon has assured fans that we'll know about his next project by the time the final episode airs and we'll see what direction he'll be going in.

Many fans are understandably upset about this, but no one is particularly surprised. Friday night is the "death slot" for network television and Dollhouse never attained stellar ratings. As I've posted here, I found the show to have flashes of nigh-brilliance, but also some anvil-heavy storylines, characterizations, and direction.

Back in 2003, Whedon said in the New York Times interview that his "favorite fictions . . . are about the getting of strength and that's probably the most important theme in any of my work" and Dollhouse wanted very much to be going in that direction. Alas, the path through the woods has been barred by a Fox, but I can't much blame the Fox for acting according to his nature.

Maybe this frees Whedon up a little - they're in the process of filming Episode 11, meaning there are still two to film - plenty of time to jazz things up, especially now that there's no worry about Pleasing the Network Masters. Amazing how freeing that can be. Let's go out with a bang - or at least a loudly slamming door.

Then again, I've always been a sucker for the idea of toys (Dolls, if you will) becoming real - a concept Whedon must have a liking for as well, considering his writing credit for Toy Story and certainly one he's been working with here. So let's end with this from the classic for children of all ages, Margery Williams' The Velveteen Rabbit:

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.

But the Skin Horse only smiled.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Watching with Scholars

The conference wraps up today - I'll post final thoughts later. Wilmington has been good to us - and it's been a good conference. One of the delights of a popular culture conference is how interdisciplinary it is. Rather than just going to media studies panels, I have choices from panels discussing Shakespeare, the material culture, technology, and so on. The hard part is choosing!

Of course, another key of conferences is having a chance to get feedback on your own work and see what's going on in the field. My panel (which was yesterday) was a very strong one. We had all worked independently, but had bridges for the other speakers, so it felt very organic and unified. Not all panels have that - especially when the speakers haven't met and are preparing in a vacuum, as it were. And (naturally) many presentations are of works in progress - mine changed a good bit from the proposal to the presentation, due to time. But I had one nugget of information that seems to be my shiny new unique contribution to the readings of Dollhouse and I've been asked to develop that further for publication, which is always a kick. There are some other bits of news, but I need to scurry to catch the final two panels today, so it'll have to wait.

Anyway, a gang of us (what's the collective noun for a group of academics? A dissertation? A theory? Hmm.) gathered after the closing reception and dinner (in the hotel - hardly ever anything to write home about, yet a substantial hit on the credit card. And you wonder why I cook at home most nights) to watch Friday's episode of Dollhouse.


I hate to say it, but it felt phoned in. There were cliches galore and they weren't being used as ironic commentary. (Lightning storm? Spilled milk? Shiny butcher knife? Really, was all of that necessary?) The core concept was interesting - the maternal instinct is just too strong to be "wiped," even if it was implanted in the first place - but it just didn't hang together for me.

I want to like this show; I really do. And there are glimmers, but so far, they seem more like foxfire luring me deeper into the swamp than glittering Truth. I'll stick with it, but I will continue to point out when the emperor appears to be nekkid.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Coast with the Most!

For the next few days, I'll be posting from Wilmington, NC where the annual Popular Culture/American Culture Associations in the South conference is being held. I've attended this conference before and it's always a lot of fun. Academics - full-time eggheads, eager grad students, and dewy-eyed undergrads - we're all here and we're all presenting on the subjects that get us fired up to go in front of yet another classroom of maybe-not-totally enthused students. I have a chance to hear papers on subjects ranging from religion & culture to the Age of Obama to television studies to teaching Shakespeare.

My particular paper is up tomorrow afternoon - it's the one I've been working on tying Whedon's Dollhouse back to its Roman roots in Ovid's Metamorphoses. It's been an interesting vein to mine and I'm hoping for some positive feedback on the angle I'm using. It's not a complete paper - reading time here (as at most conferences) is limited to only 20 minutes, so some very interesting material had to be cut. But I plan to put it back in for publication when I expand the work.

We - I'm traveling with FryDaddy, who you may know from my more general blog - arrived late, late, LATE last night - there's just no short way to get here from home, since we have yet to master wormhole technology. And since this trip is totally out of my pocket (the school has always been very generous in supporting my conference presentations, but the economic meltdown and budget logjam brought that lovely perk to a screeching halt last year), I'm not worrying about attending every single session.

Still, there are some very interesting presentations happening and I'll be telling you about them, as well as some tidbits about presenters, conference life and Wilmington in general.

For now, though, I go in search of fresh coffee. More later!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dollhouse, Take Two!

The Dollhouse is back. That creepy, hi-tech, Zen-like spa environment that exists to provide the super-rich with whatever their fantasy might be (Tempura Joe? That pushes the envelope on ewww!) returned last night on Fox.

We're entering a very important few weeks in Whedon-land. Ratings were less than stellar last year and the show had an uneven beginning that never really managed to widen the circle of viewership beyond the Already Converted. So here's the test - can Whedon make Dollhouse sing to those who aren't already in the choir loft? Well - let's see how we started.

Last night's episode was titled "Vows." The title referred to a number of vows taken by characters - we see Echo getting married as part of a convoluted engagement (Ha! "Engagement" has a whole new meaning here that I didn't see until I started writing that sentence!), Paul is cruel to be kind in keeping his vow to protect Echo, and so on. The episode (which you can view for free here) was sharply written ("What if she goes over your head?" "I'm very tall."), fast-paced and overall continued the upward trajectory of the end of last season.

By the way, the Whiskey/Topher dynamic was easily the most interesting aspect of the show last night and I want to see more there! One of Whedon's strengths is his ability to craft strong ensembles and this is the time to let his stars shine. Dollhouse has tremendous potential to ask hard questions about identity, freedom, and our ability to compromise our principles while telling ourselves that we haven't and I want to see him explore all of that.

So I really don't want it to turn into "Who's Echo this week?"

And welcome to the world, Charlotte Grace Prinze!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


For those of you who are fans of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (and really, who isn't?), there is great joy in seeing the good Doctor and crew win the Emmy award for "Outstanding Special Class: Short-Form Live Action Entertainment Program." (Wow - even the title's quite a mouthful!) This being Whedon, there's irony in the win - Dr. Horrible won a television award despite the fact that it's never been shown on television; it was an Internet-driven sensation. Well, you take the win however you can get it, I suppose. And it's good to be able to post a picture like the one on the right. Not only because I'm a Nathan fan, but - let's face it - Captain Hammer would so totally smooch his Superhero of the Year Award, probably between choruses of a power ballad.

So there's that news. Aside from that, I'm trying to both gear up for the Sept. 25 Season 2 premier of Dollhouse and finish preparing my "classical Echo compared with Whedon's Echo" paper for its early October outing in Wilmington, NC. That's the location of the Popular & American Culture Associations in the South conference this year. It's always a fun time and I'm very much looking forward to going. Here's the conference link, if you're interested in the sorts of things you can see at such a thing. From that link, there's a link to the "almost final" conference schedule.

See you there!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Box Set!

So I recently obtained the Dollhouse box set and sat down to watch the much-heralded "Epitaph One" as well as the unaired pilot "Echo." Spoilers, of course, follow - but I think I can manage to keep major plot details to myself.

Beginning with the end, "Epitaph One" had been regarded as the Holy Grail of Dollhouse and fans were hurt and angry at Fox's decision to not air the episode. That worked out this way - Fox saw it as an "extra" episode beyond the 13 they had paid for - 12 episodes aired; the unaired (but already shot) pilot "Echo" was counted as the 13th. I hate to side with Fox (really) but in my opinion, they were right to keep this one in the box set only.

That's not because "Epitaph One" is a sticky mess; it's not. In fact, it has some extremely intriguing developments and what may be my favorite scene involving Topher in the entire run. But setting an episode ten years in the future and counting it as canon leaves you only a little wiggle room - I know, I know; it's counterintuitive. Overall, the episode has the feel of "I'm not letting them pull another Firefly on me; I'm tying up loose ends in case we're not back in September."

But they are back in September (and yay! I'd like to say), so let's not assume that 2019 is how things will be, nor that the future is anything but mutable. Nothing in the show has indicated that time is less than linear, so don't tell me that what I saw is where things inevitably wind up. (As Fred once said on Angel, "Nothing is inevitable as long as you can look at it and say, 'You're evitable.'" I always enjoyed that line.)

On the other hand, "Echo" was a much stronger narrative opener than "Ghost" was. It had issues - it felt rushed and probably gave away too much in one episode, for example - but it had fast-paced humor (a Whedon trademark that was woefully missing from much of the first five or so episodes) and I cared far more about what was going on. I can understand why Fox wanted parts of it re-shot and you'll find "Echo" scattered throughout the first season, but of the two "missing episodes" on the box set - this is the one that should have hit the air.

Of course, I'm not a Fox executive, so it's easy to armchair quarterback. And we do get another season (beginning Sept. 25; mark your calendars!), so there's that. But Dollhouse has to deliver this year, which means pulling in viewers that aren't already Whedon fans. It's a delicate balance figuring out how to continue with a complicated story arc and not lose newbies. It can be done (24 springs to mind, although I must confess that I don't watch it), but the time slot of Dollhouse might be working against it.

Then again, things are never what they seem, are they? That's why we keep watching.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Season One Re-Visited

OK - I'm caught up and back home for a little while, so I finally have time to comment. Overall, I think Dollhouse found its footing and I'm very glad Fox made a show of good faith in renewing the show. That said, I think the show has some problems to overcome in Season Two.

Let's see . . .

1. The show became far stronger once it moved away from the "who's Echo this week?" idea. That stands to reason; a common focus of Whedon's work is the formation of chosen families, which is a concept that lends itself to strong ensemble shows. Heck, even Season One of Buffy had to get past the "monster of the week" model. Once it did, the show blossomed, as Dollhouse did.
2. I like the murkiness of the show. Not all of the clients are nasty-bad people, which gave us some interesting explorations of what motivates the customers of the Dollhouses. (Sidebar: I recently saw the Liam Neeson thriller Taken as was repulsed by the subject matter, even as I enjoyed the action/adventure side. There, the bad guys were definitely one-dimensional bad guys. I not only didn't mind them being handed ugly death, I was rooting for it. I'm not exactly a sweetness-and-light sort with some topics, including human trafficking.) Whedon doesn't let me off so easily.
3. It's common for writer/directors to develop their own cadre of actors they work with over and over again. Whedon has done this so often that fans delight in naming the "hat tricks" who have appeared in multiple Whedon shows. Casting Alan Tudyk and Amy Acker in their respective roles was a stroke of brilliance. Just as Cary Grant was born to wear a well-tailored dark suit, Tudyk seems to have been placed on this earth to wear Hawaiian print. Then to make that quirky personality the Big Bad - wow! And Amy Acker had no trace of either Fred or Illyria, but instead brought something new to this role. Not to mention, the two of them together - well. That was something entirely else.

In short, Dollhouse has tremedous potential. Audiences have shown their willingness to enjoy (not just put up with) complex story lines with the success of shows such as The X Files and Lost, so it is not beyond possibility that Dollhouse will find an enthusiastic audience that goes beyond Whedon's fanatically loyal fanbase (and I'm including myself in there. In fact, I'm writing about Echo and the classical Greek Echo for an upcoming conference). But placement is everything and ratings are the sword that a show lives or dies by. It's not enough to be innovative and thought-provoking - eyes have to be glued to the screen on a regular basis.

So watch already!

In other news, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is available on DVD now from major retailers, such as Best Buy. If you don't have a copy of this, really - you should consider it. Not only is the story a lovely twist on the usual triangle of hero/girlfriend/villian, but it's a musical. With a musical commentary. For about ten bucks. Really.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Caught Up!


I'll post in more detail in a few days (I'm headed out to my college reunion today [no, I won't tell you how many years it's been] and I'm not packed yet), but suffice it to say that I believe Dollhouse overcame a questionable start to finish strong. Many questions were answered, but several were also raised that I want to see explored in Season Two.

What about you? Was Fox right to renew the show? Does Dollhouse have legs, in other words? Or is it doomed to be a niche show that never really reaches beyond the already-converted?

I'll let you know what I think once I return from a weekend reliving my youth and being glad I made it out of there!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I'm still catching up, so there's not much to report - I'm waiting until I've seen everything to post, so expect a little more in a few days.

But the network decided to renew the show, so there's that cause for celebration!

Read more here.

And - just for kicks - here's one version of the story of the original Echo.

I'll be back soon - promise!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sorry for the Delay . . .

I'm in the midst of the "crazy days" that mark the end of every semester. On top of that, there are a few other irons in the fire, so to speak.

I'll be back soon. Really.

In the meantime, keep up with Dollhouse. I'm hoping for a second season, but it's not a lock just yet. Here it looks good (and here), but here the news is less rosy. It's all about numbers, and DVR numbers matter. As does viewing online, although that's less persuasive to Fox.

I'm not going to get on my high horse about this - I think the show started slow, it's in a "death slot" when fewer people are watching on a good night, and Fox is a profit-making enterprise, so what will be, will be.

But I want more. Even if I'm behind just now.

So - please?

Monday, March 30, 2009

He's Baaa-ack!

And about blooming time, I'd say!

I just finished watching episode 6 of Dollhouse - this one had been hailed as the "game changer." Let's see where things go, but yes, yes, yes!! At one point, I actually said out loud, "I. Love. This. Show." Some very typical Whedon points - especially with funny lines that mask Truth and a certain amount of misdirection. And a client who doesn't seem like all that much of a bad guy. (And names!! C'mon, the Internet mogul is just a "Minor" character, right?) And the interviews on the street - what would you do if you could have your deepest fantasy with no consequences? That veneer of civilization gets awfully thin, doesn't it?

No one is what they appear to be. No one. And that makes sides very difficult things to choose.

Another lesson of the Dollhouse: Beware quiet women. Like Mellie. Or River Tam. (All together now: "Fruity oaty bar . . . the third flower is green.") I've noticed "safe words" in this show; phrases that are repeated as a Doll is brought back to consciousness after an engagement and as a Doll is removed from an engagement. It makes me think of River being triggered and Simon's "safe word" to stop her by making her fall asleep.

Or is Echo waking up?

Quick side note: I'd have to re-watch a bit to be positive, but I do believe that the doctor who is so easily dismissed by Topher (whose creep-factor continues to grow) is wearing the same flamingo pin as Badger wears in the "Shindig" episode of Whedon's Firefly. I'm not sure, but close enough to sure that I'll mention it. And both shows use Shawna Trpcic as the costume designer and also Mark Sheppard (who played Badger) appears in this episode, so maybe . . .

"It's not finished," says Echo about her childish painting. (Or maybe about something totally else.) The painting which includes a couple with no faces. They could be anybody.

Or everybody.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"I See Perfectly"

I predicted back with the first aired episode of Dollhouse that eyes and vision would be a recurring theme. (See my post from February 17th.) It appears the fifth episode, "True Believer," proved me right. Ahhh - doomsday cults always provide such fertile storytelling ground, don't they?

Let's see - Echo is made blind in order to be a sort of high-tech spy camera. When knocked violently to the ground by the Big Bad (named "Jonas Sparrow" - we'll get back to him) the camera-thingie goes skittering loose and Echo regains her sight in what is taken for a miracle. (Echo's name in this one, by the way, is the overtly Biblical "Esther Carpenter." Esther is an Old Testament queen who sticks her neck out in order to save her people - it works and we get the festival of Purim to boot. And yes, the world is saved by a carpenter in this one.) She is betrayed by one of the Dollhouse flunkies, but rescued by another. She's wiped, but she's beginning to seriously remember things, as she replies to the question, "How's your eyesight?" by noting the man who slugged her with a gun butt and saying, "I see perfectly."

Indeed, our girl just may be telling the truth. That seems to be underscored by the fact that she sees the need to conceal her knowledge about that little run-in.

Finally. It's shaping up. And I hear that episode six (which I plan on watching tomorrow) is the real game-changer.

Oh - "Jonas Sparrow." Well, "Jonas" is a Latinized form of "Jonah" (he of the whale detour to Nineveh). Ironically, "Jonas" is translated as "dove." This particular "dove" was lining his nest with high-powered rifles. And "Sparrow" - well, God's eye is always on the sparrow, isn't it? See Matthew 10:29 - 31 - "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father . . . So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." This sentiment is also part of a lovely spiritual titled "Eyes on the Sparrow."It's a gorgeous song that reminds listeners of the comfort and care of the Divine.

But whose eyes are on Echo?


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Report from the Trenches!

Okay, I don't think Gardner-Webb University counts as the trenches, but it sounds more dramatic than "report from the nicely appointed auditorium populated by helpful and friendly people," doesn't it?

What am I blathering about, you ask? Good question - let me answer it by directing you to here. Despite it being a dark and (even) stormy night, turnout was quite gratifying for this talk. The organizer thought so, and that's probably a better gauge than I am. After all, I'm willing to stand on a milk crate in the town square to pontificate about Whedon. Having people sit and listen (occasionally even taking notes!) is a candle on the cake!

Seriously, the talk was well-received and I met some wonderful people - both fans and scholars. I so enjoy getting to do this sort of thing and it proves that yes, you can turn your passion into a vocation. Or at least an avocation. (Probably not an avocado, though. Lines simply must be drawn somewhere.)

Now that the talk's done, it's time to catch up on some Dollhouse viewing! I had several people tell me, "Hang on - watch episode six." And it's waiting for me.

Back soon with thoughts.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We Interrupt This Blog . . .

I'm behind on my Dollhouse viewing. I plan to catch up and blog about both episodes 5 and 6 by the end of the weekend. (Episode 6 is rumored to be a real game-changer! If you don't mind spoilers, see here. And here!) Already a few academics (not just fans, although I'm one of those too, so don't gripe at me) have weighed in on the show - if you want to get a taste of that point of view, try here! (My friend Alyson has a specialty in French feminism and she's one heck of a Whedonian, so here's a long overdue shout-out.)

Until I can get caught up myself, please consider the following:

I'll be speaking at Gardner-Webb University next Wednesday (March 25). My talk is part of the Joyce Compton Brown Lecture Series and I'm very pleased to be associated with this. The presentation (notice how I'm avoiding the word "lecture"?) will begin at 7 pm in the Blanton Auditorium. (That's #56 on this map.) I'll discuss popular culture as a subject for serious study and touch on what the character of Faith (now there's a named drenched in irony for you!) has in common with the Prodigal Son. And Hansel & Gretel.

Should be a blast!

Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 2, 2009

At Home in the Dollhouse

Thank heaven for snow days! I was finally able to catch up on the last two episodes of Dollhouse. I'm not exactly sure why or how I got behind, but thanks to DVR technology, I'm caught up now.

And I'm happy for a variety of reasons.

1. The wry, snap-kick fast humor I associate with Whedon was back. As you recall, that was one of my concerns from the pilot. Only I hear that wasn't the pilot. Ah, Fox. You change, yet you remain the same.

2. Echo is developing nicely. Now, I understand that for many people, Dollhouse is proving problematic. And I'm with the whole "how can Joss Whedon, male feminist icon galore, have a girl be hunted through the woods?" Well, let me explain something here, Drake. It's good to set up expectations before you start knocking them down. And just maybe Whedon wanted to do something a little different here. We've come to expect strong female characters from him. This is true, but we never saw how Buffy got that way; she just always was strong and definite and wise-cracking. (Sure, there were cracks in that from time to time and we loved her vulnerability, in part because we knew that deep down, she was strong. See? Knocking over expectations.) Here, we're going to have the delight of seeing Echo become strong.

3. The attention to detail is a marvel to watch. As I've said before, pay attention to the names. The pop singer was Rayna, which is a derivative of "queen." (She even wears royal purple in one scene.) She's a bird in a gilded cage, literally. And, oh yeah - her costuming for her opening number bears a striking resemblance to a jingly chastity belt. This queen is trapped by her own image and is willing to go to extreme lengths to get out.

I was of the "meh" school with the first episode. Now, I'm on board. And I really want to know what worn-out toys are up in the Attic. I'm beginning to think they may have a Skin Horse up there.

You remember the Skin Horse, don't you? Go re-read The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. The Skin Horse knows a thing or two about the difference between just being a toy and being Real:

"You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Welcome to the Dollhouse

It's been quite a while since I've posted here - I devote this blog strictly to Whedon issues and primarily use it as an update site for my classes. Since I haven't had a Whedon class in a while (blasted global economic meltdown!), I've been focusing my energies elsewhere.

But now there's a new show. Have you checked out Dollhouse yet? If you missed the first episode, you can see the whole thing on Hulu for free. Just click here.

What do I think? Actually, the jury's still out on this one. I want to love it. Really, I do. It warmed my heart to see the stick-monster lurch across the screen and hear "Grr. Arrgh." again. (By the way, Dollhouse premiered five years to the day that the announcement broke that Angel had been cancelled. I'm just sayin'.)

The show has a fine cast and crew (look at the credits carefully - there are a host of producers [DeKnight, Fain, Craft, etc.] who have Whedon connections) - it's got quite the pedigree. Yet I must admit to being a wee bit disappointed at the ratio of dark action to quippy dialogue. Then again, it's a first episode, and much must be set up for later. I can be patient.

Names are always important and so far we have Echo, who has allowed herself to waste away from being a real person to a mere projected fantasy. Interestingly enough, the first "engagement" we see her on involves a self-centered rich boy who bought her as a "perfect date" for his party but is fine with her having to go; he has enough else to entertain him. Narcissus, party of one. Your table's ready. We also have Paul, who is apparently the only one who sees things as they truly are. No scales on this boy's eyes!

And watch for more references to eyes and vision. "Things are never what they appear to be." "That's because you're only seeing part of it." "Ms. Penn" being near-sighted. Nothing wanders into a Whedon-written script by happenstance and this could easily be a recurring theme.

This is a show that has great potential. I'll also admit to being troubled by parts of it. The "Actives" have apparently agreed to a five-year "term" with the Dollhouse, so it's not slavery. Yet what else can you reasonably call it when your memories and personality is stripped away and you are re-programmed to be someone else's fantasy? All sorts of interesting places to go here - identity is only one. There are also power issues to be explored - the Dollhouse is run by a woman; I thought of the Guild rule laid down in Whedon's Firefly that only women could run a House. Is prostitution better if it's female-led? If it's high-class and expensive? What will this show say about choice? Exploitation? And consequences? And it's just eerie to see the "dolls" being put up after everyone's done playing with them for the day.

So we'll have to see.

And please, make with the funny!