Friday, October 30, 2009

It's Not Me, It's You.

Dear Dollhouse,

I'm afraid the time has come. To be honest, I knew it was coming for quite a while. The fact that your last episode sat on my TiVo for a week, unwatched and barely remembered, was a pretty clear sign. But I figured I'd give you one last chance. Alas, fifteen minutes in, and I find myself having to face the truth: you are boring and unpleasant, and your very rare moments of coolness simply aren't enough to satisfy me. And the fact that the only thing that seems to please me about you any more is the occasional opportunity to watch the main characters suffer, not because their sufferings are interesting, but because I hate them and wish them ill... Well, it's just not healthy for either of us, really.

So, goodbye, Dollhouse. I wish you the best of luck, I really do. Who knows, maybe you'll change, and one day we can get together again and make it work. But I'm not holding my breath.

Don't try to come around any more. I've told the TiVo to stop letting you in. Trust me. It's better this way. If only because it improves the quality of my Friday nights.



  1. I thought the last episode was actually quite good. And while it's never going to be a perfect show, I'm almost definitely sticking with it to the end -- in no small part because that end's probably coming up very soon. (They might air all 13 episodes of this second season, but I don't think even Joss Whedon thinks they'll get any more.)

    I'm resigned to it being an occasionally brilliant mess. It will be tough to mourn for the show the way I did with, say, Firefly, but there is some really good work being done there.

    Now, for his next television project, Joss really needs to go to HBO or at least AMC, where he can have more creative control and not constantly have to redefine what his show's about. (And he should bring his brother Jed and Maurissa Tancharoen along with him.)

  2. Maybe the episode got better after I turned it off, but I suspect this show and I are just kind of a mis-match for each other. It doesn't help that it got off to what for me was a very bad start. I don't remember who or where it was now, but I remember reading someone saying recently that once you've lost your audience's interest and enthusiasm, it's nearly impossible to bring it back just with reasonably decent episodes -- ones they'd enjoy all right if they were part of a show they'd already decided they liked. (I think they were talking about Heroes.) And it's true. When you're in love with a show or a person, their flaws don't bother you so much. When you're already disillusioned and irritated with them, things that you might find charming or intriguing in a different context just... aren't. And Dollhouse and I have definitely reached that point.

    I'll still tune in for whatever Whedon's next project is. He's done enough stuff that I've really enjoyed that I'm more than willing to give him another chance. And I really do hope that, whatever it is, it's not on freaking Fox. But with Dollhouse, yeah, I don't think I'm going to regret not sticking it out until the almost inevitable cancellation.

    I'm glad it still has an audience, really. I'm just not it.

  3. It's previously been on a subscription channel over here in the UK, which I don't take, but it's now just started on a "free to air" channel. So far I've only seen the first episode. It's too soon to make any judgement on the show, apart from that the actress playing Echo seems to be impressively versatile.

  4. *laughs*

    I've seen the first season on DVD, and actually enjoyed it towards the end, but I've not heard much about the second season to make me want to chase up even what there eventually is of it....

  5. JH: I have to say, I wasn't terribly impressed by her versatility, myself. She's not a bad actor, and she does an adequate job, but it seems to me that that part really calls for somebody with more... I don't know. More something. Her performances seem technically decent to me, but they don't make me feel much of anything. There's just some kind of spark that seems lacking to me, and it's one that this show could desperately use, IMO.

    Anyway, conventional wisdom is not to judge the show until after the first six episodes or so, since it doesn't start doing what Whedon actually wanted it to do until then. Which I think is something that hurt it irreparably, as far as my own responses to it are concerned. Your mileage, of course, varies considerably.

    Paul: It did some cool stuff at the end of S1 which made me feel vaguely optimistic, but I think that just made what it's done in S2 so far seem even less interesting to me by comparison.

  6. Has that started up yet? I've seen the ads for it, but I didn't notice the date.

    I've been torn between thinking that might be kind of cool and having an, "Ugh, that does not need to be remade!" reaction.

  7. My opinion of the actress is very much an initial impression, of course, being based on only one episode. I might change my mind when I've seen more. Incidentally, do they ever explain why all the operatives (or whatever the appropriate word is) appear to be female?

    Even more incidentally, I've now seen five episodes (I think it is) of "Flashforward", and the enthusiasm that I felt after the first two is gradually ebbing away.

  8. Incidentally, do they ever explain why all the operatives (or whatever the appropriate word is) appear to be female?

    They're not all female. Though I believe most of them are, probably because there's a bigger market for female sex slaves than male ones, that being the most common thing they seem to be used for. (And one of the big reasons that show just makes me feel sort of... icky.)

    Even more incidentally, I've now seen five episodes (I think it is) of "Flashforward", and the enthusiasm that I felt after the first two is gradually ebbing away.

    You know, I was starting to feel that way, too, but I just now finished watching episode six, which aired this week here in the US, and my exact response once the credits started rolling was, "Hey, this is getting kind of good!" So I might suggest sticking with it for another week and seeing if you have the same reaction.

  9. I've just seen what I think was episode six - the Halloween one, anyway. It looks as though they are trying to stick to a 1:1 relationship between show time and real time. I agree that it was a better episode. But I'm still finding it hard to follow in places, partly because so much of the dialogue is hard to make out. And not just by Joseph Fiennes, though he is the worst offender. In particular, I wasn't too clear about what was going on with the blue hand thing. Of course, getting in a mention of Shrodinger's Cat within the first few minutes was a good start to the episode. :)

  10. I don't think the blue hand thing was meant to be entirely comprehensible, actually. (Although it's possible I was just distracted by the Firefly flashbacks it was giving me. :)) And I don't have a problem understanding the dialog, but then it's not in a foreign accent for me, which doubtless helps.

    I think the main reason I liked that particular episode is that the character dynamics finally started to interest me.

  11. Your ears are almost thirty years younger than mine, which I suspect has more to do with it than the accents. :)