Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Media Review: Dollhouse Epitaph One

Okay, I know I promised last Sunday that I'd go TV Free, and for the most part I have. I admit that I fudged on Tuesday and watched Warehouse 13...but I didn't like it much so I won't be fudging this week. However I fudged one other time...but it was for a good cause.

It's no secret that I'm a Joss Whedon fan(atic). I was psyched when he returned to TV. Not so psyched that he returned to Fox. But that decision had more to do with his desire to work with Eliza Dushku than Fox. Anyway. The idea of Dollhouse intrigued me from the outset. Granted, the first five episodes were pretty crap. The ideas where there, but Fox meddled with the formula and demanded homogenized, easily digestible episodes. Finally at episode six, they gave up and let Joss be Joss. Episode six is where everyone universally agrees that the show hit its stride. Against the odds (and horrendous ratings) Fox renewed it for a second season. Yay for us.

Anyway, the main complaint I heard about Dollhouse was that they had this tech that allowed you to imprint people with personalities, and yet the were using it to essentially make high class prostitutes. They said that the tech was boring and had no real applications and just blah!

Well Joss made a 13th episode titled Epitaph One. It was made to fulfill his contract to produce 13 episodes, though Fox declined to air it. I was given a copy and I was blown away. The story takes place 10 years in the future. It's basically like someone said to Joss, "Hey, hookers are great, but what's the point of all this Dollhouse crap?" And Joss went, "Well the end of life as we know it, of course," 'cause Joss likes ending the world. Buffy ended it like 4 or five times. Angel sent it to hell. In Firefly he killed multiple planets.

The thing about season one of Dollhouse is that people didn't get what the stakes were. Epitaph One takes time out to show what's going to happen when the technology for imprinting personalities gets into the wrong hands. Enemy countries are going to use it to remotely turn whole sections of our population into killing machines, radios are going to be used to wipe anyone who hears their signals. Want to disable a city? Make a phone call. Want to live forever? Keep moving your imprint from one body to another....forever.

The episode was tense and dense and dark and freaky. The episode basically put up a signpost that says, "Hey, this is where I'm going. This is where this story is taking us. The ride's gonna be awesome, want to come along?" And yes. I do. I really, really do.

Unfortunately it's likely that Dollhouse won't see a third season. I'll watch it and buy the DVD's and support anything and everything Joss does, but I think the show just isn't for the general public. But if you watched the first couple of episodes and dropped out, get the DVD's and watch Epitaph One, then go back and watch the season. It casts EVERYTHING in a whole new light. It gives everything an urgency that freaks me the heck out. It would have been an amazing pilot.

And speaking of the pilot, I got a chance to view the original pilot "Echoes." The same pilot Fox Execs told Joss he needed to reshoot. All I'm going to say about it is that if Fox had kept their collective noses out of the show and let Joss do his thing, based on this original pilot, this show wouldn't have taken until episode six to really get started.

Next week I've got a buttload of music to review.

1 comment:

  1. I am a Joss Whedon freak too! Okay, well to be totally honest I lost interest in Angel after the first couple of seasons and I never really got on the Firefly bandwagon until Serenity hit the theatres (how did that movie not make more $$$$$ and get then get six thousand sequels!?!?), but anyway despite Dollhouse having a slow start the end (especially the last two episodes!) more than made up for it!

    How did you get a copy of Epitaph??? I am waiting for someone to leak it online. Sigh... I am very very jealous.


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