DOLLHOUSE: SEASON 2
MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Joss Whedon ushers in a second and final season of “Dollhouse,” a show about people that can be bought and sold for any purpose, so completely that they are imprinted with new personalities as needed for the role. Echo (Eliza Dushku) is seeing her original personality bleed though to her blank state, and she starts facing bigger problems than rich guys ordering high-priced hookers. There’s the dangerous original agent, Alpha, gunning for her. Also, a dark force behind the scenes is taking the imprinting technology farther and threatening to cause an apocalypse.
WHAT I LIKED
This season of “Dollhouse” has caught a stride faster than the first season did. It definitely helps having an outside force. The Alpha story is particularly interesting, not just because the fantastic Alan Tudyk plays the pivotal role, but also because it shows more depth in what the actives are. On this same note, the outside force fiddling with the imprinting technology actually starts to take the series where it could fully go, from a science fiction angle.
Finally, of course the eye candy factor in this show is great. Eliza Dushku looks great in her variety of outfits, as does Dichan Lachman (although she is a bit too thin for my tastes). There’s also some great development of the Amy Acker character, which offers her a chance to get into some sexy outfits. I may not be a fan of Joss Whedon, but he knows how to utilize hot actresses.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The biggest problems with “Dollhouse” is in its core conception. Whether it can be blamed on short-sightedness by Whedon and his team or meddling by Fox executives, the prostitute angle got in the way from the beginning. Were the Dollhouse a construct of the government or military, it would have made more sense and worked better in the spy story of the week. Without the albatross of the hooker backstory, this series could have been as exciting and interesting as “Alias.” Sadly, it spends too much time restructuring itself and never quite gets enough traction.
I also can’t stand the character of Topher, who is very much an element of Whedon’s work. I will say, though, that when Enver Gjokaj gets a chance to do a Topher impression, it was probably the highlight of the series.
The Blu-ray comes with deleted scenes and outtakes from the seasons, as well as commentaries on select episodes. There’s also a featurette “Defining Moments: A Retrospective with Joss Whedon,” in which the show’s creator looks back on the better moments of the show. There’s also a dinnertime roundtable (or rather, a square table) discussion about the series with Whedon and the cast called “Looking Back” after the show’s cancellation.
The best part of the Blu-ray is the inclusion of a mini comic book “Dollhouse: Epitaphs,” which offers the introduction to the alternate future and sure to be expanded in further graphic novel form, per Whedon’s formula. This is a neat little addition, and it would have been fantastic were it not a bit of a rip-off of Stephen King’s book “Cell.”
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Hard-core Whedon fans.