Sunday, May 17, 2009

So, what does more Dollhouse mean?

It means sci-fi and Whedon fans will have something to watch on Fridays now that Battlestar Galactica is gone.

We also know that Joss, Eliza and their minions will have to cut costs. None of that fancy "turning Echo into a blind girl who's really a camera with legs". Maybe it's time to look at the staff, aside from the technology and the ethics behind it.

For one thing, we still don't know why Paul Ballard thinks bringing down the Dollhouse is so important. At one point on the show, even he admits he doesn't know. In "Ghost", he says he was given the job to look for the Dollhouse, but not why. He's also obsessed with Echo/Caroline Farrell. Why her? Did someone ask him to find her. Did he consider her the "poster child" for the mission? It seems this is the time to tell us.

Back stories are also a good thing. How did Boyd Langton, former police detective (we suspect), become a handler, and later head of security? How did Adelle DeWitt go from stem cell research to programmable people? Where did they find Topher?

There's one other story they may never tell: what happens when a person finds out he isn't real? Remember that Dr. Claire Saunders discovered that she used to be an Active called Whiskey, and that she's been given the imprint of the old Dr. Saunders. It's the ultimate in recycling. While she says "I know who I am", we wonder if she really does, and how this will affect her other relationships within the Dollhouse. Now that Amy Acker may be headed to another drama on ABC next fall, will this mean Dr. Saunders will be put in another body? If so, they have the Body Formerly Known as Laurence Dominic that they can use.

I also wonder if they will "layoff" some Actives. How do you do that? It would be equally interesting to see a former Active want to "re-enlist", which might be a first--or not. Maybe a few Actives are in a Witness Protection program? We already know at least one may have joined to avoid criminal charges, aside from, we think, Echo.

Another issue is whether the show should take turns with the Actives rather than just have Echo as the lead Active. Enver and Dachen have become very popular, and a story about Topher, Adelle or even Paul could be interesting.

It's very possible to make compelling low-tech sci-fi that beats the zillion-dollar-blockbusters every time. Fox can do this by giving Dollhouse every chance. They just have to let Joss be Joss, Tim Minear to be Tim, etc. They also have to believe that as long as people watch the show, either live, DVR or on the internet, it counts as actual TV viewing. After that, the other networks will have to admit it, too.

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