Sunday, January 31, 2010

Broken Dolls & Empty Chairs

The run of Dollhouse has concluded. Props and costumes are being auctioned off and the imprinting chair will never be used again. I stayed spoiler-free, but I've since read some of the reactions from critics and fans alike and I have to say that I fall firmly on the side of the "meh" crowd. I wasn't impressed, and that hurts to write. I've been so pro-Whedon for so long now that it's an onerous chore to be one of the ones saying that this one didn't work, it never felt like a labor of love, and no, it's not Fox's fault. Yes, it was a terrible time slot, but something has to go there. (And it's worth pointing out that The X-Files did just dandy in that slot way back when.)

I don't want to nitpick over minutiae and there's no need to. There were major problems here. The dialogue was clunky, the plot line felt rushed, and there were holes in the plot you could have driven that truck-taken-from-Mad Max through. (I actually have a theory that most of "Epitaph Two" had its origin in one too many late-night writing sessions fueled by cheap red wine and post-apocalypse movies.) Tech has ruined the world, unleashed Reaver-style madness upon the earth, yet the roads are clear? And ex-Dolls have volunteered to have yet more tech implanted into their very skin? Sure. I'll buy Adelle as the Earth Mother growing strawberries first. Oh, wait - that was in there.

Really, this just wasn't very good. I say it's Whedon abandoning his tried-and-true approach of "don't give them what they want, give them what they need." I didn't want this (nor for that matter, did I need this.) Further, I may be alone in thinking the Echo/Paul mindmeld was just beyond Hallmark schmaltz; plenty of other viewers put it as the Best. Ending. Ever., right up there with Angel's "Not Fade Away."

I, on the other hand, do not.

The problem, I think, started back with "Epitaph One," which I had problems with at the get-go. Once that existed, it either had to be regarded as canon, or it was off the cliff into "it was just a dream" land. So how do we get there? Well . . . not too well. Gamma radiation? A shiny-clean Dollhouse run by nice-guy Alpha? Character traits on thumb drives?


All that said, I'll still be at the front of the line to watch whatever comes next. Even the shiniest of brilliant minds misfire from time to time and I won't be a fair-weather fan.

But I'll remember this. Unlike a Doll, my mind can't be wiped.

1 comment:

Bree said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comments on the Whedonverse, as always. I feel similarly about Dollhouse, on the whole, and you're definitely not the only one who thought the Echo/Ballard mindmeld was shite. I really wanted to love the show, and there were lots of moments and stand-alone episodes I really did love, but the writing just didn't deliver the concepts, ultimately. I'll be there with ya for newer projects in the 'Verse, for sure. BTW, are you reading the Buffy Season 8 comics...?