DOLLHOUSE: From the Imagination of Joss Whedon



Joss Whedon has entertained us with some wonderful worlds and characters, in movies, television, comic books, and on the Internet, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Angel, and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.  This Friday, FOX will air the second season premiere of his series, Dollhouse, starring one of my favorite actresses Eliza Dushku, and fans are eagerly anticipating its return.

It was a rough first season, and there was doubt that the series would come back at all.  But after a shaky start, due in large part to some network interference with the creative direction of the show, Dollhouse found its footing and the DVD release gave everyone hope for the potential of the show, especially with an exclusive episode called "Epitaph One" which was set in the future, revealing where this storyline could go.

Dollhouse follows a character named Caroline whose codename is Echo.  Her personality has been wiped by a secret organization and now she is used by them as an agent on missions in which new personalities and memories are imprinted in her.  It's a fascinating premise, but I confess, during the beginning of season one, it was a bit tough to get into.  I wasn't clear on the direction of the show and where it was going.  It was difficult to connect to the lead character since in every episode she was basically playing someone else -- it was like watching an anthology series, instead of an ongoing drama.  Only when the original personality of Caroline started peaking through, particularly in the later episodes, did I really start caring for this woman and what the puppetmasters in the Dollhouse facility were doing to her and her fellow "dolls."  Instead of it just being an "adventure of the week," suddenly, the mythology of the show started building, with excellent twists and turns, and intriguing character developments, keeping the audience on its toes about who were the good guys and who were the bad guys.

In a conference call last week, Joss Whedon spoke about the new season and also about the confidence that the network has expressed in his show by bringing it back for another season, and the loyalty of his fans: "The nature of the fanbase is they're in it for the long haul, and they're nurturing, and they're intense about it, and they will see it through.  They will stick with it and thet means years after it's cancelled.  Firefly still sells, Buffy still sells, and that's all a business thing for the studio.  They're in it for the long haul because they know the long haul is how my work pays off.  I don't make hit shows.  I make shows that stick around, that people come to long after they would have stopped generating revenue in the old system.  With the advent of DVD and the eventual monetization of Online, there's a market there that exists beyond your Nielsen numbers, and the fans showing up and DVRing, and buying a DVD, and proving on all my other projects that they don't do these things lightly, that it runs deep in them, means that the base doesn't have to be as broad for the studio to think it's worth it to try and eke out another season."

Dollhouse return on Friday, September 25, at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, on FOX.  Tune in and find out what happens next to Echo/Caroline.

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