Dollhouse Season 1 & 2 (Review)

Alright, so generally TV series reviews aren't my cup of tea, but I couldn't resist doing a write-up on Joss Whedon's Dollhouse.  You may recognize Whedon's name as he was responsible for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series.  While Whedon has had other projects I've been less interested in, Dollhouse was a winner.

I actually got into Dollhouse thanks to Joe Loves Crappy Movies.  That comic sparked my interest, so I hunted it down online and promptly became addicted.  I fell off the bandwagon for a while thanks to essays and such, but when it was recently added to Netflix (Season 1 and 2!) I finished up the series and managed to get both my sister and her boyfriend hooked in the process (he likes to call it Robot Prostitutes).  But that really isn't my point.

Dollhouse's premise is that technology is invented which can manufacture and imprint personalities upon people, and this is used in a high-tech brothel/espionage company.  It sounds hokey on the page, but it plays out to be really interesting.  Because characters are so believably malleable, each episode can bring something entirely new, which means you don't have to endure the cliched "unexpected pregnancy" or "car accident" plot twists of less-inventive programs.  Besides a captivating plot, Dollhouse can boast that it is feminist-friendly: Joss Whedon is a well-known feminist, and while the story deals with prostitution it also deals with the attending ethical issues, it doesn't exploit the subject matter tastelessly, and it has many capable and powerful female characters.

But the series' real strength is its cast.  Dollhouse's only recognizable actor is Eliza Dushku, who you may remember from Bring It On, Tru Calling, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any other number of films or TV series.  The rest of the cast are mostly unknowns, but they have incredible talent.  Often it seems as though television actors are just Hollywood's cast-offs, but this is not the case with Dollhouse.  The clever writing is maximized through their commendable performances every episode.  I have to say the stand-out star has to be Enver Gjokaj.  While we don't see overmuch of him in season 1, in season 2 he has many more opportunities to showcase his considerable talent (Season 2 Episode 3 is particularly fantastic).  Not only is he irresistibly loveable but his ability to speak in a multitude of accents is really quite impressive and his comedic timing is perfect.

Unfortunately, like most great things Dollhouse didn't get the acclaim it deserved and so it ended after only two seasons.  Regardless, I enthusiastically recommend giving the series a try.  If you don't have Netflix you can also find Dollhouse free here.

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