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Talk Back: Series Premiere of FOX's "Dollhouse" ("Ghost")

"Did I fall asleep?"

By now, you've read my advance review of three of the first four episodes of Joss Whedon's new drama Dollhouse on FOX, as well as my interviews with series creator Joss Whedon and Dollhouse's Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), who plays the Dollhouse's operative Echo, who seems to be growing slowly more self-aware.

But, now that the series premiere of Dollhouse ("Ghost") has aired, I'm curious to see what you thought of the episode and the series' potential.

Were you entranced by Dollhouse's overarching concepts of identity and self-awareness? What did you think of the series' cast of characters? Did you think that this episode was a good introduction to the world of Dollhouse... or did its story of Echo negotiating the return of a kidnapped girl leave you feeling empty? (Did you accept why the millionaire would hire a mind-wiped doll rather than actual hostage negotiator?) And most importantly: will you tune in again next week to continue watching? Talk back here.

Next week on Dollhouse ("The Target"), Echo is imprinted with the personality of a female thrill-seeker as the companion to a millionaire outdoorsman but quickly finds herself being hunted; Paul Ballard discovers a clue to Echo's real identity; Boyd remembers his introduction to the Dollhouse. (To read my advance review of the first few episodes of Dollhouse, click here.)

Comments

Anonymous said…
I thought that the elements were all there but, somehow, it didn't come together on the plate. (Sorry...been watching too much Top Chef.) It wasn't bad but it wasn't exceptional either. I'll definitely be tuning in next week but only in the hopes that it will get better and not because I was impressed by what I saw tonight.
Anonymous said…
Grrr...Argh. Should have been so much better. Hopefully, it will pick up in the next few eps.
Anonymous said…
Wow this was bad. Didn't read any press/reviews so went in cold and was expecting something great but was disappointed. Definitely not the Joss I know and love. Will NOT be watching again.
Mazza said…
It was OK. Not great but not bad. Just OK. I'll watch next week to see if it is better but I thought it was a pretty lousy first episode to get people invested in Echo. Didn't like the asthma AT ALL and thought that was a pretty stupid thing to imprint her with. Didn't think Echo was all that great since SHE GOT HER CLIENT ALMOST KILLED. Not sure why the millionaire guy would hire her instead of a real professional since he could afford it and still didn't need to go to the police. Maybe it he wanted the girl and the money back but he didn't seem shady or anything so it was just weird that he would pay a fortune to the dollhouse to get Echo to be imprinted like that. Doesn't add up at all. Liked Amy Acker. The girl playing the other Active who saves Echo was great.
Anonymous said…
Your people are crazy. It was fucking awesome! Eliza was hot and kicked ass. is the best show on T.V. this year!
Anonymous said…
Liked it but didn't love it. Will watch next week before making up my mind. Glad I had read your review before hand so I wasn't totally disappointed.
Anonymous said…
@anonymous: You seem like a real good judge of quality television. Idiot.

It was half-way decent. Not the best first ep but not the worst. The motorcycle stuff at the beginning was ridiculously over the top and inane. Dushku is not the best actress out there. She seemed sort of retarded when she was just Echo. And the scene with her and Adelle (sp?) was way too expositional. Yawn.
Skitty.jann said…
It's all about expectation. I had read a few early reviews that were lukewarm, so I set my expectation level downward. And it was better than I expected so I was relatively pleased, with the hope that future episodes will be better. So it was not Firefly or Buffy, but it was intriguing and hopefully it will reel us all in within the next several weeks.
Anonymous said…
I liked it much more than I was expecting too.
Anonymous said…
Halfway done so far. Not impressed sadly. Should have been much better.
Anonymous said…
FoX NEVER renews shows that move to or premiere on Fridays...
Anonymous said…
...And it's doomed. Sorry Dollhouse but I doubt you'll make it through the season.
Amy said…
Having read your review, I had pretty low expectations. While not the best thing I've ever seen, I have hopes that it could grow into something better given the chance. The idea is strong, the execution just needs some help.
Anonymous said…
@Amy I agree but wonder if people will really stick around long enough for the show to find its groove and for Fox to keep it on the air. Wonder how the ratings did and if they'll drop next week. These days tv shows don't get too long to fine tune the execution.

@Jace How did it compare to the original pilot episode itself?
Anonymous said…
It reminds me of an anime series I saw a bunch of years ago. Can't remember the name. Meh.
Anonymous said…
I just finished watching the first episode and I was a little disappointed. I still believe that this is can be a very good show and I have much faith in Joss Whedon. Im looking forward to what they do in the next episode. Joss Whedon shows usually take a little bit of patience before they get great. For those of you who missed it on TV, check it out online here..

http://watchdollhouse.com

There’s been some mixed opinions about this show so watch it and see what you think.
Anonymous said…
I liked it. I can definitely see the series getting better though...all of Whedon's shows have had more mediocre pilots I think, in comparison to what they become.
Anonymous said…
Intrigued enough to watch more. The episode seemed muted compared to other Whedon works. Where is the snappy dialogue? The biggest sin - no humour.

As easy as Eliza is on the eyes her acting chops to handle the assumed vast array of personalities afforded must be questioned.
Jennifer said…
There were a lot of things that didn't work but I'm intrigued enough to keep tuning in. Although kind of like on Terminator I found myself completely uninterested in the FBI part of the story. But I'm hoping as we learn more things make more sense. I have faith in Joss, though maybe not in FOX...
Jon88 said…
The premise is shaky. I mean, why does Christian Slater need to have separate personalities? (Oh, wait...)
Anonymous said…
Potential is there but was lacking real direction. And will make me unpopular but I blame Joss. Didn't really see his genius vision at work here. First half was boring, 2nd half had me scratching my head.
Page48 said…
Where was the ten million dollar pilot a la "Fringe"? I suppose if you reshoot often enough, it might add up to ten million.

It was less than spectacular. Way less. Echo's assignments were a bore. The idea that her imprinted personality could actually have personal experience with the kidnapper/molester and knew that the girl was folded up in the fridge didn't strike me as unbelievable at all. Sheeeeesh! Even for science fiction, that's a stretch.

None of the old "Firefly" charm evident here. Just a boring young hottie on boring missions. It will take exponential improvement to get renewed beyond the original 13 episodes.
Anonymous said…
OK, people, in the face of all your nay saying, I wanna quote Eliza herself here:

"I mean Joss is really a novelist and you have to give him chapters to tell the story..."

Joss works best once he finds his feet with a story. Go watch the first episodes of Buffy, or Angel. They're incredibly clunky and stilted. But how kick ass did those shows turn out to be? Even Firefly, to a lesser extent, wasn't stunning in it's first episode.

The difference with a Joss show compared to a lot of other shows out there, is I truly believe he'll develop all the little areas of potential and explore the interesting questions that we can see in the pilot.

I get so sick of shows that show glimpses of real potential, and then never have the balls/ambition/skill/vision to go there. Joss goes there.

So in summary, quit your nay saying people!
Anonymous said…
@ben Sheesh. How about you quit your blind devotion to Whedon and see the GLARING writing on the wall? Fox is NOT going to let this show run its course in order to give Joss the time to give him many "chapters" to develop his story. This is network T.V. in 2009 not a netlet like the WB in the late 90s. There isn't time to let a show run for years if it's not getting ratings or viewers.
Anonymous said…
Considering there isn't anything else on Friday nights I'll probably watch the show, until something better comes along.
The whole negotiator plot was weak. The guy who wipes the minds and implants the personalities is way creepy like he get some sick pleasure out of it.
Overall I thought it was a boring episode for a primere of an anticipated show.
Anonymous said…
I have to agree with Skitty. It's about expectations. I had such low expectations because of you and many others, so I have to say...I didn't hate it. Damning with faint praise? Totally. I found myself involved the whole time, but incredibly frustrated at the missed potential. I also agree with Ben as far as letting Joss unfold a story, but FOX is notorious for not letting that happen.

Also, it was totally missing the funny. That's what makes Joss so great - finding levity in dramatic situations. This show could use some of that.
CL said…
@Ben:

I was always of a mind that Firefly was stunning from the start. Joss has always said that Firefly was the easiest to write. But I agree with you about Buffy and Angel. It obviously took Joss a while to find his groove for them.

I have faith in Joss. He hasn't let me down yet. I'm sure Dollhouse will reach the same level of awesomeness as all his other works. The only thing that worries me is his lack of involvement this time around. From what I hear, he was way more involved in the goings-on for his other shows than he is with Dollhouse.
Anonymous said…
I am so disappointed. It was truly watching paint dry. I love Joss and I love Eliza but the hour was so painful. I loved Fringe's opener and through ups and downs, it's still the best new show of the year. I'm not given up on Dollhouse but colour me skeptic for now.
Anonymous said…
Joss seems as involved with DH as he was during Buffy season 6. That ain't good. Fans who want to wank Whedon off will stick around and watch. Not gonna be one of them.
Anonymous said…
I now really understand your more negative review. The original pilot script was so much better and more interesting. "Ghost" juggled too many things at once. I think there shouldn't have been a big case of the week, as it took screen-time which they would have needed to properly introduce the characters. After watching the pilot I feel like I barely know anything about the supporting players, while the original pilot script really gave us something about them. Too bad Joss din't know from the beginning that FOX would put them on a Friday night, because then he might have stuck to the serialized storytelling-style that he used in the original pilot.

Anyway, I will continue to watch and hope it gets better. There are still the right elements, they just have to be put in order.
Jon88 said…
I wish I were as articulate as my friend Eric (with whom I agree): http://ericberlin.com/?p=2444
Anonymous said…
As for the novelist bit, if your first chapters always suck, you won't sell many books or keep readers... I also don't buy that Joss always has to warm up -- he was brilliant with Dr. Horrible... short form, compact, fantastic.

Like Jace mentioned, why didn't this guy just hire his own negotiator? Also, why did the father seem to know everything about the operation, what an active is, etc? That just seemed stupid (and another contrived way to tell the audience what's going on, ie. don't mess with the active, she'll get confused...), especially since they are supposedly under investigation, but they are letting out all of their secrets to whoever hires them? Wouldn't they want to kill people who find out about them? And the whole morally ambiguous bit of "we do good work" but we kidnap women and wipe their minds... hmmm.

I did like the FBI guy. Who was the weird dude watching TV naked? Did I imagine that?

That aside, I agree with the general mindset, I was way less than impressed.

It's on the TiVo, so we'll probably watch a few more. Frankly I think it's a rotten sin that My Own Worst Enemy (which executed a similar concept)was canceled and this is getting so much attention...

Sam
Anonymous said…
Who were the guys dead on the floor at the end, and who was the killer sitting on the table who is searching for Echo?

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