Alright guys it’s that time of year again, you know that time when tiny Sci-Fi shows with minuscule, but passionate fan bases are in danger of being yanked off the air by evil business type folks who care about silly things like “ratings” and “money”.
Well logic be damned. They’ve taken too many of my shows already. Somewhere out there Bryan Fuller is weeping into a pie shaped pillow and that’s just not cool man. Tim Minear has apparently lost the will to create his own stuff and will probably open a souvenir shop in Niagara Falls any day now. And now they’re going after Joss. Again.
Dollhouse is not a great show. Yet. It’s not Buffy. It’s not Firefly. It’s not even Angel. It hasn’t completely found its footing, sometimes it stumbles around like a drunken collegiate at a frat party spouting half-cocked philosophical ideas in between Jello shots. That is to say it has big ideas, but sometimes it doesn’t execute them with what you would call elegance.
It frustrates me often. I spend large portions of most episodes imagining how much better the show would be if it was on HBO and they could actually explore the wrongness instead of sending Echo off to be a bodyguard/back-up dancer.
But (there’s always a but) sometimes it’s almost brilliant. “A Spy in the House of Love”, “Briar Rose”, the mythical “Man on the Street” episode…”Epitaph One”---this is the very best of Dollhouse. These episodes reveal a show that’s not afraid to ask the hard questions. It’s about human trafficking, it’s also about identity and humanity and responsibility. And sometimes it’s about inappropriate starches.
It also has one of the best casts on television (and yes I’m including Dushka in this because even when she fails, you know it’s not for lack of trying.) Fran Kranz needs to be on my television every week, preferably as Topher Brink. Olivia Williams’s Adelle Dewitt is the most impressive female character I’ve seen since Juliet Burke burnt her muffins. And if you haven’t seen what Enver Gjokaj can do yet, then my friends you are seriously missing out. Not to mention Alan Tudyk’s absolutely terrifyingly awesome turn as a raging sociopath.
What I’m saying is: this is not a perfect show. The big meanies in the expensive suits might have point this time. Dollhouse is not a misunderstood masterpiece, it’s a show with some serious narrative problems, it’s a show that doesn’t always know what it wants to be, it’s a show that may never be as good as the pedigree behind it, but it’s a complicated, thought-provoking, well-acted, well-written show with a truly original idea at its core. I would like to believe that in a world where Lost is about to go off the air leaving us with a network television landscape riddled with shows about doctors, lawyers, and various law enforcement agents that something this unique can still survive because I’m afraid the alternative looks a lot like The Jay Leno Show.
So I’m asking you this: watch the show one time. If you don’t like it, that’s cool, but give it a shot. Tell someone about it. “Hey man, I heard about this wacky new show on Fox…” I’m not asking anybody to write any letters because…well, I’m not going to write any letters. The thing is I’m tired of seeing creative programming cancelled or worse watered down because nobody’s watching. It sucks.
So I’m asking you to help. Even if you don’t care about this show, I know you’ve cared about a show like this before. It’s an old story and damnit I want a happy ending this time.
And come on, who doesn’t like to stick it to the man?
(Besides Joss Whedon would make a terrible fry cook. Let’s keep the man employed.)
More info about what you can do to help can be found here: