On the Grave of Dollhouse

June 2, 2010

So after watching the final episode of Dollhouse on Hulu.com and being plagued with zombie-dreams (for the first time, and never again I should hope), I figured I’d give my two cents on the series.

The idea behind this show was brilliant, but that was to be expected from Joss Whedon’s credits in Buffy, Firefly, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, among other works. As with most of his work you know that is was carefully planned for years before it aired. But as always, his work is plagued by a selective fan audience that most definitely is not on Fox.

My own fan-girl crush on Joss Whedon aside, I can’t help but feel like both Fox and the creator himself are at fault for the disastrous ending of this series. With Sci-Fi and Firefly, I can come up with several explanations of the show getting cut, if for no other reason than to make myself feel better. At least with that show, the plot was more complicated and the idea more specific for even some science fiction fans. But Dollhouse, while well-executed was simple, and made sense to even those who weren’t hard-core fans of science-fiction. The idea of the dolls, being imprinted, losing 5 years of your life to serve other people’s fantasies and pleasures with the helpful aid of technology is chilling and terribly compelling.

How in the world Fox decided to pick this up is beyond me, and how Joss would be okay with it is another question entirely. With a fan base like he has (myself included. Did I mention that already?), he could have easily waited for the right opportunity and the right channel to make this a success from beginning to end. But instead, what started strong and could have lasted an easy 6 seasons burned up and died a horrible death by way of –zombie apocalypse?

This is what gave me weird nightmares last night, and it doesn’t make sense, unless I was subconsciously that distraught by the ending of the show. It might have something to do with the fact that “Epitaph 2” makes no sense without “Epitaph 1”, which was never aired. So while it does make me all the more inclined to go out and by Season 1 on DVD, I don’t think I could get myself to buy Season 2 because the ending was positively awful.

The TV world is crazy business, and I don’t claim to understand all its intricacies (yet. I’m getting there), but it saddens me to see writers cop out on projects because they feel backed into a corner by the station. As a writer I could see more than a couple ways to end that story without the happily-ever-after solution, with Adelle leading the sheep into the light, Topher going out of his mind and Paul dying an unromantic, uneventful death (let’s face it, the only person that really liked him was Echo, and a fat lot of good that did her).

So lets raise our glasses to when TV goes terribly wrong. I can only hope Fox learns how not to put it’s foot in its mouth and Joss learns to give his work the credit it deserves. Rumors about talking to another station? Perhaps Dollhouse could make a comeback, or he’s already 5 years ahead of us on another project. I’ve got to love Joss for his mad ingenuity, but I will not be watching the episode of Glee he writes.

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