A Crisis Of Faith

Get it? Faith? Eliza Dushku? BAM! ZING!
[Also, I should point out that Joel and Shepherd Eli are making a “W” sign on their chests in panel 3.]

I really hate to fan the flames here, but Dollhouse just isn’t doing anything for me. I feel torn between my need to support and trust Joss Whedon and my other need to be entertained by the TV shows I watch. I don’t want to get into specifics (no relatable characters, Eliza’s acting chops, etc etc) and I’m not ready to cast final judgment because all of the problems I see in Dollhouse have the stink of FOX all over them. And from what I’ve read, they’ve given up on screwing with the show and stopped interfering.

That means one of two things:

  1. They are through with the show, so they don’t care what happens to it between now and when the 13 episode commitment runs out
  2. they realize their decisions to put on Friday Night O’ Death, second guess Joss and air the episodes out of order are the real problems and their meddling isn’t improving the show or its ratings

In a recent interview, Eliza addressed the slow start and asked that we hold out until episode six. At that point, Whedon’s vision will become clear and we’ll all get the shiny feelings that we’ve been lacking so far. Honestly, I’ll be watching no matter what until it gets canceled. I feel like I owe Whedon that much.

If this is the last hurrah for Joss in the medium of television I won’t be too heartbroken. The next frontier of entertainment is high quality shows, shorts and movies produced for the internet (paging Dr. H.?) and I know he will be one of the pioneers if not the leader in that field.

If you are Whedon Zombie and currently watching Dollhouse, you are probably feeling the same confusion/frustration that I am. The pilot was weak and boring, the 2nd ep. was fun and quite entertaining but the 3rd went right back to blah and made me care LESS about everyone on the show.

Are you going to stick it out or are you too worried about falling in love only to be heartbroken by cancellation again? Care to add your own Whedon Scripture? COMMENT AWAY!

Tags: , , , , , ,

138 Comments

  1. I hate to admit just how much I agree with you on this one. But lo, my heart belongs to Whedon, and I will not falter. No matter how often I keep checking my watch during the ep.

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  2. I have a simple plan that will make you feel less bad about watching Dollhouse. FUCKING QUIT WATCHING SMALLVILLE, and use the time you *would* have spent watching that, watching Dollhouse instead. That way you wont feel you've wasted your time.

    Also, Dollhouse is nowhere near as bad as Heroes or Terminator:SCC was in their first season, so quit crying about it already, you watched those shows. Hell, Terminator even managed to quit sucking.

    Reply
    • Exactly my thoughts when I read the line "… and my other need to be entertained by the TV shows I watch."

      That should read "entertained or annoyed." If it's annoying enough, Joel'll watch it.

      Reply
  3. Hail Buffy Full of stakes, Wheadon is with thee. Blessed art thou among slayers, and blessed is the watcher of thy neck, Giles.

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  4. "Terminator even managed to quit sucking. " just in time to get cancelled. Whedon shows come with so much baggage. I dont care if Heroes gets canceled. I care very much if Joss Whedon gets to tell me the stories he wants to tell me.

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    • "I dont care if Heroes gets canceled."

      SINNER! THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!

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      • Classic beginner mistake. That's "The power of Sylar compels you".

        Heroes' fridge was nuked very early on in volume 3, possibly earlier. Which made me sad, but then I've shrugged and moved on. True story.

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      • Classic beginner mistake. That's "The power of Sylar compels you".

        Heroes' fridge was nuked very early on in volume 3, possibly earlier. Which made me sad, but then I shrugged and moved on. True story.

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      • I'm a Heroes fan too, but, I'll be honest: The show jumped the shark. Tim Kring apologized during season 2, so I promised myself I'd sit through season 3 and see if they turn things around. So far, they haven't compelled me to have any interest in season 4 (if one will even exist). Sorry, dude, the fans are abandoning the series. Only the nuthuggers remain.

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        • Well, consider me a nuthugger. I'll hug their nuts all night long. I just want them to get back to their first season glory, and I'll stick with 'em til the end.

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          • I'd rather watch the crappiest ep of Heroes or Terminator or Lost for that matter than CSI Dayton, OH or whatever stupid reality tv show is on. FAN BOY FOR LIFE!! *give the vulcan greeting*

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            • LOL @ CSI Dayton, OH. That could be a Reno 911 spin-off.

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          • you mean back to their FIRST HALF OF FIRST SEASON glory?

            I loved Heroes when it first started. When they took that winter break and came back with a chick who's power was wifi, they lost me. (still watched until the end of first season, though, but I saw the writing on the wall.)

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            • I have to agree.. since the writer's strike.. I've been somewhat confused half the time as to what was actually going on.. I'm slowly starting to pull things back together.. i think.. but hoping things clear up soon

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            • you long for the Power of WiFi. admit it!

              i do.

              but you're right. still didn't help the show.

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              • THE POWER OF WIFI COMPELS ME (to keep watching heroes?)

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                • nah. to walk through waves of porn and maybe the stray bank account number.

                  hopefully the power of security cracking is included.

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  5. GUYS! Please add more Whedon scripture to this thread. Anyone that wants to tackle all of JossPsalm 23?

    Reply
    • The WHEDON is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

      He makes me lie'eth down on the sofa,
      he leads me beside 2-liters of Dr.Pepper,

      he restores my soul.
      He guides me in paths of post-modernness
      for his canon's sake.

      Yea, though I walk
      through the valley of the shadow of FOX
      I will fear no cancellation,
      for you are with me;
      his writing staff,
      they comfort me.

      You prepare a season before me
      in the presence of my spouse.
      You anoint my mind with trivia;
      my blog overflows.

      Surely geekery and slash fiction will follow me
      all the days of my life,
      and I will dwell in the house of the WHEDON
      forever..after the Special Edition boxed set comes out.

      Reply
      • Aaaannnnd… Sign here for the Internet you just won…

        Reply
      • Wow, that was impressive. The interweb is awesome – this is why.

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      • Nice!

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      • I am FIGURATIVELY in tears with joy.

        *PS using "figuratively" correctly is the new using "literally" incorrectly.

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    • Our WHEDON who art in Hollywood, Hallowed by they words.
      Thy shows they come, Thy disks they run On CD as well as Blu-Ray.
      Give us this day our heroines and forgive us our fandom
      as we are the fans of shows before thee.
      And lead us not into teen angst and deliver us from mediocrity
      For thine is the action, the drama and the story
      Forever and ever. Gorram.

      Reply
      • "Forever and ever. Gorram. " is fantastic.

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    • I believe in Whedon the writer Almighty , Maker of Buffy and Angel

      And in Firefly his only sci-fi show; who was cancelled by the FOX, born of the Brilliant Mind of the Whedon, suffered under the ratings, was moved to fridays,cut-short , and cancelled ; it descended into hell; the third day he rose as Serenity; he ascended into the movies, and sitteth on the right hand of Buffy the Slayer Almighty; from thence he shall come to a sequel (…someday)

      I believe in his run on comics; the holy Astonishing X-Men; the Runaways; the forgiveness of Fandom; the creating of fan fics; and the future online projects. Gorran.

      Reply
    • 1. You shall have no other gods before Whedon

      2. You shall not make for yourself any carved image, cept those existing in thy Whedonverse. For I, the Lord your Whedon, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the FOX on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Buffy DVD box set.

      3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your Whedon in vain.

      4. Remember the scifi Friday, to keep it holy. Four days you shall labor and do all your work, but the fifith day is the Serenity of the Lord your Whedon. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates for they should all be watching thy boob toob. For in 4 days the Whedon made the Buffy and the Angel, the Serenity, and the Firefly all that is in it, and showed them on the fifth day and the fanboys said it was good. Therefore the Whedon blessed the friday and hallowed it.

      5. Honor your father and your mother with a dvd of Dr. Horrible, that your dvr days may be long upon the couch watching that which the Lord your Whedon is giving you.

      6. You shall not cancel Whedon's programming.

      7. You shall not commit adultery with other programming.

      8. You shall not pirate the Firefly.

      9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor for skipping work to go to a CON.

      10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s home entertainment center; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife dressed like princess Leia, nor his dvr, nor his Firefly dvds, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s. Especially the farm animals cause what are you going to do with a donkey anyway?"

      Reply
  6. "Y'all ain't gonna have NO other gods before me"
    –from the First Letter of Jayne to the Cantonians.

    I'm going to keep watching Dollhouse, no matter what. For now, it's still for entertainment value, but if the quality continues to drop, it will be mostly out of guilt for never having watched a Whedon show before its cancellation. In my opinion, the first episode was solid, but not great. The second was very good, and the third just plain sucked. The preview for Ep4 looks promising, so I don't feel TOO forced…yet.

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  7. And would "I am a leaf on the wind" belong in Proverbs or Psalms?

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  8. I think Joss just needs a better channel to assist him in all of his glory. Fox will fuck with any good show, because they don't want something to succeed that they didn't think of first.

    I trust Whedon. This will turn out alright. We just have to have Faith (both kinds).

    I am a fan of the dialogue this week, by the way. And Eli's dreds.

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  9. You have completely nailed how I feel about Dollhouse. Everyone is more entertaining than the main character. I guess it doesn't help that I never really liked Eliza Dushku, even on Buffy. I'm pretty much just watching for Tahmoh Penikett. Also, the gratuitous, FOX-induced sex scenes are driving me out of my head.

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    • I sorta agree, except that I'm uninterested in *any* of the characters.
      I just started going back to watch Buffy from Season 1 – and despite the fact that it's my least favourite season, despite the fact that I don't really 'count' it as part of the show, I was still grabbed. The effects were laughable, the action seems choreographed by…well, a teenage girl, the directing was corny and, shock horror, even some of the dialogue was bad.
      But the characters all interest you from the very start and most importantly there is, at the very least, a couple of them that you find actually likeable.

      Who are we supposed to like in this? The ex-cop/Echo's minder is maybe the closest to sympathetic, but he's a little bit dull. Helo/FBI agent isn't even likeable plus his neighbour comes across as creepy rather than sweet. Everyone else seems to have shady or evil motives, while the main character and centre of the show has, *intentionally*, got zero personality!

      Who knows, maybe in episode 6 we find out that the knife-wielding Alpha is actually the Joker, or a Cylon or even friggin' Veronica Mars, as nonsensical as that would be. Alpha's the only character left that might be worth watching. Maybe it'd be better to take that character from an interesting universe and out of Whedon's hands? Blasphemy!

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      • Is it just me, or am I supposed to hate the British harpy who runs the Dollhouse? I can't listen to a word she says without getting hit by her arrogance and smugness

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  10. I've only seen Firefly a few times. I'm more of a fan of Angel and Astonishing X-Men. I've seen a few episodes of Firefly and, while I appreciate the premise, it's not my cup of tea.

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  11. Haha, didn't think so. Eli's meant to be Shepard Book, a character from Firefly who sports cornrows…

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    • Apart from when he's scaring the bejesus out of River with his enormous 'fro. Love that bit!

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  12. Perfect comic. But you know what I am glad Joss is struggling on FOX AGAIN. Because he really needs to hit that interweb as the linked story hints at. TV as a medium is dying and Whedon has already proven he can succeed on the internet. Someone with juice needs to do it or Hollywood will just ignore it.

    More Doc Horribable plze.

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    • I second the motion. More Horrible plzkthxs!

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  13. But… but… end of ep3, they seem to recognize each other now in their tabula rasa state! This must mean something!

    Yeah, it's all a bit bland, innit.

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  14. I'll stick with Dollhouse but after last episode it's becoming painful.

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  15. I haven't watched a TV show on Friday night since… shit, I don't know… TGIF back in the day? Full House / Family Matters era? Somewhere around there. I can't even remember to DVR a show that airs on a Friday night, so Dollhouse really has no chance with me. Which is sad, because I like Whedon, but they could show free porn on Friday nights and I still wouldn't watch it.

    PS – Does Eli have cornrows?

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    • He's Book. Have you seen Firefly?

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  16. I think Joss just needs a better channel to assist him in all of his glory. Fox will fuck with any good show, because they don't want something to succeed that they didn't think of first.

    I trust Whedon. This will turn out alright. We just have to have Faith (both kinds). I'm afraid it will get canceled, though, because Fox is deliberately fucking with it like so much Firefly and Arrested Development.

    I am a fan of the dialogue this week, by the way. And Eli's dreds.

    Reply
    • I'm digging Father Eli's dreds. Forgive me if I didn't use the proper Whedon-speak, but I couldn't get into his earlier shows Buffy (super-powered high-school girl wanting to be normal -> unrelatable) and Angel (pretty-boy vampire with a conciense -> gay), but I honestly tried to get into Firefly. Blame FOX all you want for canceling it, but some of us are partially at fault by simply not watching it. I know because on Friday nights back in high school, I was dragged to my brother's football games. Why, WHY did I put family togetherness over my own need for sci-fi goodness?!
      But if Joss is running ANOTHER show on FOX, who premiered it on Friday night, doesn't that show his poor judgement?

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      • I'm sure he's contractually obligated to FOX in some way which is why he's stuck with them, otherwise I'd have to question why he stayed with them after what happened to Firefly – FOX don't have a stake in Mutant Enemy or something do they?

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        • Actually, it's Eliza that has the contract with Fox. The whole Ivy Lunch Incident was sparked by the fact that she wanted his advice on what sort of show / movies she should try to develop with them.

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          • i wondered why he'd willingly return to the hand that continues to SLAP his nose with rolled up paper.

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  17. Dollhouse SUCKS so much!!!!!!! Yuck, yuck..

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  18. Ok, I haven't seen any of this yet, not because I don't want to, but because I just couldn't be bothered. It's not on Aussie TV and I don't have a hulking Wheboner, I loved Firefly and I watched Buffy (but wouldn't go back to it over other shows) but I don't think he shits gold a pisses champagne and thus I'm not going to go to the effort of obtaining it. Honestly, if a show's bad you can't help it, if it's getting poor reviews from the people who are meant to like it, it sucks. Also, saying wait till episode six is fucking stupid for so many different reasons. Why start a show so slowly that it takes six full episodes to become enjoyable? If you're going to air it on fox, where Firefly was cancelled, you should have your shit together, no? Also, when is episode six going to be here? If they air them out of order like I thought they were doing then it could conceivably not even be seen until it has been cancelled. This show doesn't even seem that Whedon. When you think about it, part of the reason his shows have been successful is because they're so original. A show about Vampire Slayers and demon fighting? That was the first of it's kind in the 90's. A space western? We still haven't seen another one (don't mention Star Wars). Whereas a sci-fi series about an assassin just isn't original, even when I heard it announced I didn't have any interest and I think that's what the key demographic think as well…

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    • Too true. This is like playing on stage in a band, and playing dull, lifeless music that is making your audience leave the club, and then having the lead singer plead on mike, "Just wait 200 minutes more, there's a really good bit coming up!"

      Didn't mind Firefly, until the obsessive fans made me take a long, hard look at what was actually there under all the hype, and it came up wanting.

      Buffy and Angel eventually lost me by always being ready to sacrifice the believable truth of the characters for what were just basically gimmicks of the writers, until you ended up with everyone having either Died or Turned Evil just to get Shock Moments.

      All of this leads directly to 'Heroes'. Characters doing things that make no sense? Forgetting characterisation? Random Good / Evil changes? Shock deaths of the more likeable characters? Cheapening the deaths by having the characters come back anyway so there's no consequences of death to begin with? It's pure Son-Of-Whedon.

      Whedon also completely ruined Marvel Comic's 'Runaways' – 40 issues of reading and then a huge black hole of suck.

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  19. Airing episodes out of order… Interfering with the story line… Isn't this the same shit Fox pulled with Firefly? You would think that they would learn…

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    • You would think directors would put in a clause in their contract that to maintain the artists integrity the show at least has to be aired in the order intended.

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  20. And lo! The apostle Wash spoketh, and said "This is a fertile land, and we will thrive." and they did. They lived in peace until the traitorous carnivore broke the truce and attacked the stegosaurus. The Whedon taketh away their eden, and cast them down….

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  21. Wikipedia tells me that Alan Tudyk is playing Alpha… I hope to Go- sorry, Joss that the writers manage to get 'I am a leaf on the wind', or at least some semblance of it, into Alpha's dialogue if he is!

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      • I think i saw him on a TV ad the other day. I felt kind of bad for him. I guess he's got to pay the bills, but TV ads seemed beneath him… :(

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  22. After the rubbish pilot I thought episode 2 was okay. So you're telling me episode 3 (which IH haven't seen yet) sucks? Goddamit! I need something mindless (but watchable) to see until the next season of Reaper.

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    • I don't hold out much hope for Reaper….that show seems to have just fallen off the map.

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  23. When reading the reactions to Dollhouse on the internet I can't help but wonder: Is everyone watching the same show I am?
    So far, I thought the episodes were a lot of fun as stand alones. They were interesting plots and had plenty of wonderfully badass or screwed up moments. Most importantly though, despite the executive meddling, the Whedon-y plot development seems to be there. There's clear hints about a backstory for Echo and Boyd.

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    • There's of course the backstory about Alpha and Adelle DeWitt seems to have promise of a complex character in terms of motivation. There's more signs of Echo developing a conscious of her own than I had expected at this point. The ending of ep 3 was Very significant. And all this within what the creators refer to as 'the five pilots'.
      Sure, as a big Whedon fan I'm biased, but I think that only stretches so far as trusting that the elements that are already there will be followed through properly. So far, there have been simply 3 fifty minute episodes, which each entertained and intrigued me and left me wanting more at the end, to the extent that I'm genuinely puzzled by the negative reactions to the show.
      Is it possible that expectations were raised so high that they simply cant be met in only a few episodes?

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  24. Well, consider me a nuthugger. I'll hug their nuts all night long. I just want them to get back to their first season glory, but I'll stick with 'em til the end.

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  25. I think we should make Gorram our official amen >.>

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  26. I like it. It has got me excited about finding out whats going to happen in a show for the first time since Lost started. Sure, the Engagement-Of-The-Week plots have been hit and miss, but in fairness, Xander fell in love with a Praying Mantis in Buffy Season 1. The overall story has me hooked.

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    • BUffy gets a free pass until season 3 when it gets fantastic. Thems the rules.

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  27. I think that the Whedon Prayer deserves a t shirt.

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  28. I really liked all three episodes (loved the 2nd one). While they didn't knock my socks off I thought they made a solid base to build on. Sure none of the characters are relatable yet but isnt it unrealistic to expect to be immediately invested in a show?

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  29. BTW, am I the only one who has the feeling the science guy is trying to emulate Nathan Fillion?

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  30. I am enjoying Dollhouse!! I really don't get what all the "fans can't connect with Echo" crap is all about. You aren't SUPPOSE to connect with her.

    And, even though the "Whedon Scripture" is sacralige as all get out, it's FUNNY stuff!! I especially love the cartoon!

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        • pretty sure you guys are breaking a REAL commandment here, even if the prayers to the Whedon are hilarious (and they are!).

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          • If you hadn't noticed by now, most Whedonites are agnostic at best.

            Or at least believe that any Higher Power either doesn't care about individual actions, or has a sense of humor. Personally, I tend toward that last one. I mean, come on, s/he invented sex. What's funnier than sex? 😀

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  31. I just gotta point out that the first season of Angel was gorram near unwatchable; I didn't see them until a few years later, when I was unemployed and watching the show in daily syndication (good times!), but if I had had to watch it week to week during that weak sauce first season, I would have tuned out pretty quickly. Yes, Firefly arrived fully formed (and how awesome would it have gotten if it had continued?), but by now I'm used to Joss having to lay the groundwork for long-term coolness.

    Reply
    • UNEMPLOYMENT
      It's great for catching up on all the TV you've been missing.

      Reply
    • Early Angel did have its weak-points, I agree. On the other hand, it also had the bolstering of The WB Whedonverse Tuesday double-header for the first two years, so it had time to develop. Thus far, it's my least favorite of Joss's shows (not including Dollhouse because it's only three weeks old so I don't want to compare it yet), but I still like it a lot. And it's still way better than a lot of series that I wouldn't even watch once, let alone repeatedly.

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  32. I'm not getting all the episode 3 hate. A couple of very important things were revealed that will continue to impact the show. The most dramatic reveal was Victor. I was expecting Paul Ballard to be Bravo or something, but this was a nice twist. The more subtle reveal was about Echo having the ability to develop a course of action that exceeds her programming.

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    • Phew! I'm not alone. :)

      I actually like episode 3 much better than episode 2. Not least of all because I didn't know Eliza could sing like that. And I love the plot twist with Victor. It brings up so many more questions.

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  33. Dollhouse isn't about an assassin though. The actives can be anything they're programmed to be.

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  34. Dollhouse is the first Whedon tv show I don't hate. Firefly was redeemed slightly by a waaay better movie. Dr. Horrible was awesome. Dollhouse fits Whedon's writing style and Dushku's listless acting is matched with the listless character to create a perfect blank slate. Her "personas" are perfect parodies of the fake personalities that littered past Whedon shows.

    Reply
    • i respect your opinion but I bet you arent going to find too many others here that feel that same way.

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      • It was a bit of flame-bait, but I really think that Dollhouse has the potential to be Whedon's most mature show. And the more I think about it, my flippant remark about her "personas" being veiled self-parody of previous Whedon heroines has some defensibility. I also like the fact that only the "techie" character speaks in typical Whedon-sarcasm and most of the rest talk like adults instead of snarky teens.

        And I love HELO! Even if his character has yet to do anything that has anything to do with anything…

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  35. Here's another take on Dollhouse:

    The major problem I have so far is that I have no faith (small F) in the Dollhouse as a super-secret, ultra-special organisation. We've only had 3 episodes and in the first 2 something goes seriously wrong with the operation.

    **SPOILERS for those who've not seen it**

    In the pilot, a fundamental flaw is introduced in Echo's personality matrix in that one of the sample personalities has a history of abduction which, upon the billion-to-one chance that the abductor shows up, triggers a total emotional meltdown and blows out the entire operation. I know there's the whole concept of "perfection through flaw" they spouted which "justified" putting negative traits into the personality matrix, but the simple fact is the very first time we see a highly-skilled operation (i.e. not a girlfriend for hire) it goes horribly wrong.

    Result: I have no faith in Dollhouse technology and the people creating the personalities.

    In the second episode, the client turns out to be a nutfuck hunter-killer who bypassed Dollhouse's in-depth background checks. So what if he'd been doing it for a long time, the Dollhouse surely must be state-of-the-art and super-aware of everything in order to operate so secretly.

    Result: I have no faith in Dollhouse management and the people operating it

    Yet with these two GLARING mistakes by the organisation, Special Agent Helo has come up short for many years trying to find them?

    Result: I have no confidence in our FBI counter-balance being competent enough to be a risk.

    I simply cannot suspend disbelief enough to buy Dollhouse as super-secret and Paul Ballard as a threat based on what we've been presented with.

    Episode 3 makes things worse because Echo doesn't seem to have any ass-kicking programming to back up her "protect" parameter, yet seems to have free-will enough to adapt to her surroundings and information gathered to change how she enacts that parameter, and what purpose exactly did Sierra have other than really odd-looking eye-candy? You cannot tell me that positioning her as "#1 fan" and thereby focusing crazy fanboi's attention on her was intentional, and if it was that dear god the episode was so badly written I just did not catch that.

    However, I have a lot of hope for the show because I can see the good side – every episode has introduced important aspects of the setting and the people in it, leading up to the entire point of the show which, from what I've read, has always been Echo regains enough of her natural memories to try and work out where she is, what's going on and (maybe) how to get out, taking Sierra with her.

    How would Boyd react to this, given that he's the only handler that care about the "bigger picture" and not just watching his specific Active

    How will this inside investigation interact with Ballard's external investigation?

    How does Alpha fit into all this?

    There is enough going on and developing all the time to really lead to something good here, so unless things really go Flash Gordon levels of bad, I'll stick with it until the end.

    Reply
    • I thought the "Most Dangerous Game" guy was set up by Alpha, as it was his first Dollhouse "experience". Wasn't that the implication behind the cut up body?

      I want to see them program some more crazy personalities. Why not have someone request that Echo think she is Batgirl and he has to help her fight crime for a weekend.

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  36. My only 2 cents to add here…

    I love the referential play on words with the title "Crisis of Faith." Granted, it took me a few hours to realize your brilliance.

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  37. Alpha obviously has some serious interest or connection to Echo – he didn't cut her up when he went batshit yet he supplied Ballard with her image as a motivator.

    If Alpha did set up the hunt then it really was to test her resolve and determination to live – if he wanted her dead he would've sliced her up when he escaped.

    But yeah I agree – let's see some crazy shit for Echo, not some Alias-inspired series of "hard then sexy then hard n sexy" repetitive stuff.

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  38. Shakey's right. In the 3 eps we've seen so far, none of the actives have been an assassin yet. (Tho I don't doubt they might be in future eps.)

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    • Sierra was Special Ops so the Dollhouse has combat training on tap ("Echo's been at it for 10 hours straight. She's…a machine" – dear god no sunglasses and trenchcoats please Whedon unless you're taking the piss!)

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  39. Alan Tudyk [i]is[/i] playing Alpha. He announced it on his website.

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  40. I haven't watched ep 3 yet, so no comment about if it sucks or not. Anyway. Here's what I have to say about the whole Dollhouse ordeal:

    What lied at the heart of Buffy was female empowerment:There is this small, stylish, pretty simple-minded little girl who gets chosen as the saviour of mankind, has to fight the feircest battles against all odds and starts to kick ass, because she can, but also because she has to. Her friends lag a little behind, but soon become quite the warriors themselves, and apart from saving the world (a lot) also get around to almost destroying it. In Firefly, River has been brainwashed by the Government, and the Government seems to be run by the Blue Sun Corporation, again, an all-powerful enemy against people who don't even know anything about their potential. I stand in awe of all the places Firefly could have been taken, the grand revolutions that could have been happening in the Verse…

    This is what I can see happening (quite literally) in Dollhouse.

    Echo is the metaphor for all the women in this world, playing the roles everybody else expects them to play, aka Slut in the Bedroom, Levelled Businesswoman at the Investment Broker Firm, Angel in the Nursery and French Nouvelle Cuisine Chef in the Kitchen, and that are just the rolemodels / ideals I thought of at the top of my hat that I know I should probably be able to play convincingly by the time I get to thirty. In a way she is the perfect woman, because she can do all that, without one role contradicting with another, since all the memories and personality traits required are erased as soon as she's completed the task assigned to her.

    Or that is how it's supposed to work, because something has gone horribly wrong in the whole organisation (Alpha) apart from it being morally unjust, and in the usual episode, something in Echos assignment goes awry, and she has to rely on a part of her spirit, resourcefulness and strengh to resolve it all. At first you are thinking it's just the resourcefulness of the people's minds Echos personality has been stitched together of this week.

    That would be true, if her programming was perfect, which it isn't. I don't mean that there are flaws in the personality, but a basic imperfection in the imprinting process itself… It isn't perfect, as it is quite nicely demonstrated in Episode 2, when Echos Handler says the key-words that are supposed to make Echo relax and trust him to the end of the world, trust him to make it right. Those are the words that are supposed to take all responsibility from her, and put them on the shoulders of her handler and Dollhouse, her masters. But she doesn't let go of that responsibility. She has an out, she has the opportunity to just give up and let go of it all, let somebody else handle it, but she doesn't take it. She assumes charge of the situation, against her "most basic programming, which lies at the base of all the other programming", goes out, and kicks the bastard's ass, not because she wants to, but because she can and because she has to.

    You might argue that this was all just part of her programming, and nothing else. But I think that the point Whedon is trying to make is once again one of female empowerment. He's trying to tell a story of a little girl who has nothing but her most inner parts (Soul? Spirit? Those 21 grams that leave your body when you die? A part of your brain the imprinting and erasing can't touch? Whatever) to fall back on in a situation far more menacing and dangerous and greater than she or any of her peers can imagine. Blue Sun Corporation, anyone?

    I personally am looking forward to where Dollhouse is going as a show.
    But that's just me.

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    • Thank you for this post. I see the show having huge potential.

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      • Me too! Remember, FOX mucked with the first couple of episodes. I imgaine we're being told to wait for episode 6 because that's one of the first ones that's not messed with so much, and is all Jossian goodness.

        Just think how much "Train Job" failed to grab people as the Firefly opener. It was the FOX ordered rewrite of the pilot. It was an okay episode, but "Serenity" was so much better as a pilot. I suspect that's what's happening here. I'll give it more time to mature. And after a few episodes, FOX should loosen it's hold on the reins and let Joss start to build the broad story arc instead of staying so episodic and unthreatening.

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    • I agree with this. I see a lot of potential in this show and I'm really looking forward to seeing how it developes. Glad to see someone standing up for it against all this pessimism. Not all of the main plots have been terribly interesting so far but I really like the sub-plot that's developing. I'm definitely not giving up on the show anytime soon … or ever. To all ye blasphemers out there: trust in the Whedon.

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  41. Hail Buffy, full of stakes, the PtB are with thee. Blessed art thou among the Chosen and blessed is the fruit of thy work, dusties. Holy Buffy, mother of the Hellmouth, guard us Scoobies now until the hour of your death. Gorram.

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  42. Eliza is really really really awful. I give it til episode 6 to hook me or kill off her character.. otherwise I'll have to walk away from Joss on this one.. 😉

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    • Didn't know she had that singing voice though – there's trained for an episode and then there's actually able to singing.

      The girl's got the latter so roll on a super nemesis or sidekick for Dr. Horrible 2!

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  43. I thought they implied that Sierra was set up as a back-up to protect Echo. She probably had a similar set of programming, where her personality was "#1 fan" but her parameter was "protect Echo". At least that's what I assumed. As for her role in the larger plot, she was supposed to act as a trigger for Echo's base memory. Echo endangered her main objective in order to protect Sierra because Sierra is her friend. This showed Echo's burgeoning awareness. So all in all she was far more important than "odd-looking eye-candy".

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    • I'm going to rewatch ep3 I think to clarify in my head what Sierra's role was and what it was likely to be.

      Although I did get straight away that Echo's unusual actions at the end were the result of seeing Sierra in trouble, I don't think at this point she's capable of disregarding her built-in parameters of protecting Rayna, unless she had a Robocop moment and her parameter was erased the moment she found out Rayna was orchestrating her own murder: I need to protect Rayna, but if she doesn't want protecting then my parameter is null and void.

      It still, in my mind, doesn't explain my Sierra seemingly did NOTHING at all in that encounter – if she had a parameter to protect Echo then I would've thought she'd have put up a bit of a fight when kidnapped (then again Echo didn't seem to have any ass-kick ability to protect Rayna).

      Still, let's see what episode 4 brings…

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  44. Notice though he's wearing the Serenity Book hair; not the Firefly era type. This mean he gets to shoot down a Fox cruiser trying to cancel the show?

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  45. I agree that the acting and plot lines of these first few episodes is a bit lack-luster. But I am definitely a follower of Whedon, and I believe he has a higher purpose behind all he does. There have been hints of a larger plotline that, provided Joss gets the time he needs to tell the story, should be well worth the wait.

    I love LOVE the Joss Whedon Prayers!

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  46. It's like using "its" and "it's" correctly.

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    • It is?

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  47. I'd still be Catholic if church were like this.

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  48. Can Dollhouse somehow be Joss's revenge on FOX, in a Usual Suspects/House of Games/The Sting-style intricate, multi-twisting, triple-crossing, karmically just way?

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  49. So i've only watched the first episode and I was fairly impressed. But none of my friends were and then it hit me why. I don't watch much television, that watch heaps. So the whole secret agent chick thing has been done to death already apparently whereas for me it's all new and interesting.

    It is very very different to Joss's usually stuff and maybe we are all comparing it to those might giants just a bit too much. Just like Fox expected Buffy in space with Firefly we are probably expecting something from this series, which just hasn't happened yet.

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  50. Fox has a long history of screwing up good shows.. not just Joss's.. and it's sad that he is working with them again.. but.. I'm still hoping that this show will pull itself together.. I've seen all the episodes so far, and plan to watch the rest, in hopes of continuation.. but right now, at this point, if something were to come up to drag me away, I'm not sure how much I'd care.. hubby and I have both been fans of his shows in the past, but if this doesn't sort it self out, I'm not sure I'd be able to honestly tell my husband that it'd be worth him watching it when he gets back from deployment next year… (sorry hun..)
    really hoping it picks up.. though, hey, was cool to see a character with my name! :) never see anyone with my name.. heh…

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  51. To me Firefly was a huge disappointment. I'm a big sci-fi fan but wild west in space??
    The backstory was nice and fresh (no ftl, only one system, Reapers, etc). But in the end it boiled down to cowboys in space which could only be surpassed in lameness by pirates in space. Yes, I know you would like that, especially if Whedon did it :)
    The movie was better but still did not make me want to watch the series again.

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  52. Having browsed around a Dollhouse wiki for a bit (dollhouse.wikia.com I think) the "wait until episode 6" comment seems to mean that episode 6 is when FOX butted out and let Joss do it his way.

    From some of the quotes listed from actors in the character and episode listings, up until then, the studio dicked about with the order and what to show. Then one of the execs read the script for episode 6 and went "Joss Christ! This is fantastic! He actually knows what he's doing, where this is going and how to get there! We better back off telling him how to do his job".

    So apparently episode 6 through to 13 are done Joss's way at his pace and in his order.

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    • heehee "Joss Christ"!!!

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      • I thought it appropriate.

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  53. Re waiting until episode 6, I'm not sure I could take another 3 episodes (I've just seen two) without taking all the pills in the medicine cabinet and microwaving my head.

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    • Dude, it's not *that* bad surely…it's nowhere near as bad as Heroes Volume 3.

      On a related tangent, is it just me or is Volume 4 a little more promising? It's gone to a more methodical, deliberate pace, there's some genuine intrigue now with Noah's role in everything and his moral ambiguity is back (hurrah!), and that's now a theme running through all our characters (especially Mr straight-up "I fall in love as easily as a lonely stalker" Parkman).

      Plus I'm dying to see Nathan start to freak out more and more as he loses control of this monster he started – oooh the day they find out he has abilities too!

      I'm not saying I'm as gripped as I was for Volume 1, but things are looking promising again.

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  54. Having watched the latest episode (February 27th), I see new signs of possible hope. Cautiously. My predictions: the handler and Echo will be the main heroes eventually. The doctor who was cut up by Alpha will become their supporter.

    I see the show as very Wheedon, but my Mom was the one to point out a critical part in this. All Wheedon shows seem to have at least two elements: redemption, and a fondness for exploring and even intentionally confusing the definitions of good and evil. The whole Buffy franchise is filled with characters who are normally considered to be purely evil creatures, even demons, who experience feelings of kindness and redemptive desires to go good. Same for Firefly, you had exploration of prostitution that changed the power dynamic with Inara's blacklist ability, yet left us to answer what was right and what was wrong in it. Then you have the whole fact that the crew of Serenity are on the one hand sometimes heroes, and on the other hand petty thieves employed by criminals and sadists.

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    • In Dollhouse, we're challenged with an entity, the Dollhouse, that is guilty of kidnapping and slavery, in essence. Yet is in the central position normally occupied by the hero in a show. We have what ought to be the hero, the FBI agent, operating in ways that are not at all heroic or even legal. We have Alpha, whom we might could cheer for taking down this immoral and illegal entity, except for the fact that he's apparently a psychotic killer. We have the Handler, who appears to have genuine feelings of responsibility for Echo and some strong morals, yet not so strong that he would turn in the people who are kidnapping and enslaving people and operating in all points outside the law. The woman who operates the House is arrogant and smug, seeing no moral issues with what she does. The same is true of the technician, who is a brilliant genius with no moral compass to suggest that just because you *can* do something doesn't mean you *should*.

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      • And finally….

        I think there's no one to like at present because we don't have a definite good guy anywhere. We have an innocent victim, in Echo. I think there are hints there now, though, to suggest that we could turn the victim and her Handler into the heroes later.

        (silly comment length limits)

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        • I don't think you necessarily have to have a tried-and-true white hatted hero in order to empathize with the characters or be fascinated by the plots and the moral questions they raise. To me, characters seem more real if they have flaws and do stupid things based on emotional responses.

          The way I see it, Joss has been working toward this point for years. Buffy was virtuous by nature, Angel (and later Spike) were virtuous by choice, and the crew of Serenity (and Doctor Horrible) were virtuous according to their own codes (which sometimes aligned with the codes of society).

          Thus far in Dollhouse, we've seen a variety of characters who each have their own moral stances. Some of them are absolute like Ballard, some are situational like Langdon, and some are self-serving to the point of non-existence like Topher. I think the best, most interesting entertainment doesn't give you the answers; it just asks the questions.

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  55. Oh, I know, and he was a sinner then too. :)

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  56. i killed Heroes, (My Little) Terminator, and Chuck cause, I just wasn't that into them. (Terminator didn't feature enough Summer Glau to make me stay.)

    i've not watched the third Dollhouse. i don't watch American idol for a reason and yet he chose to attack me with that bs anyway. i will watch it. one day.

    i hear it's the 6th episode that'll kick some ass. i'm considering waiting til then to start back.

    anyway, 3 shows down means enough time for one 44 minute, fairly bland, Whedon show.

    everything comes down to math.

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  57. I think I just Raptured.

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  58. Since the Words of Whedon seem to be an almost universal tie to all the Fancy Bastards out there, I feel that I should opine, if for nothing less, to speak as a fan of the early Whedon works.

    The time slot of Dollhouse does make it extremely hard for me to watch it. The only part I got to see was the last end bit of episode 2. I must admit, though I wasn't compelled by it as I probably should be if I should consider myself a fan of Whedon's work (and I do), I WANT to be and I WANT to get in to the show. Fact: I had come in to Buffy incredibly early on, found it stupid (I swear, if I had a time machine, one of the things I'd go back and do is kick my ass for my initial deriding of the show). However, after a year or so, I came back to it and was hooked. Even now, I proudly list Buffy and Firefly as my favorite TV shows.

    But I agree, Joel. I think if Joss is not finding the usual fanbase on TV anymore, he really should go and make exclusively-online content. Dr. Horrible was a shining example of the wonders he can achieve.

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  59. I just read Higher Power as Harry Potter

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    • Is that you Josh posting under an alias 😛

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  60. There are comment length limits? Maybe if all my comments were longer than 7 words I would know that.

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  61. And came the writers to Whedon saying, there can be no series my lord, for truly the only plot elements were haveth are cowboys and spaceships.
    The Whedon didst then smile upon His writers and saying, "Give onto me that which you have." And he placed them within the series, and LO! the multitudes were entertained.
    Episodes chapter 3 verses 7 and 8

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    • *thbpbpbplt* cute.. very cute.. shouldn't you be asleep??

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  62. I read that as "LOL the multitudes…"

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  63. Ya know, it's disturbing that what's so sexy at mcstories.com (NSFW) is just creepy on TV.

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  64. I think what bothers me the most is that the show ISN'T that bad. The way people go on you'd think it was a waste of air space, but there is a really interesting concept here with a lot of potential. I personally thought episode 4 was pretty great and wish I could figure out why everyone keeps bitching about Duska's acting. Episode 4 (again) is a good example, because it demonstrates a number of personality changes (midwife to prostitute to hard ass safe cracker to helpless child to slightly less helpless child).

    I don't know…maybe I'm just crazy.

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  65. Well we are in Italy with the navy, and i have Downloaded (newsgroups) s01 and i am no sure having watched e01 and e02 so far i cant say it pops, its lames so whats that catch do i go ahead and watch to the end?

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    • actually, yes. See it through to the end. Around ep 06 its gets pretty great and the last 2 eps are fantastic. Season 2 should carry on more of the same.

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  66. May I just say, the cornrows just remind me that Book had cornrows in Serenity and it bothers the crap out of me. Considering in the show he talked about how he couldn't change his hairstyle (even if River was freaked out) because of his devotion to his faith… it just bothers me.

    Yes, it is sad that I had to rant about this.

    Also, I still haven't seen Dollhouse. I basically gave up watching any particular tv show religiously in the last few months because I've been so busy. I am going to try to catch up with season 1 and start watching 2 when it premieres.

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  67. I think you need to put the Whedon Prayer on a shirt or something, I love it!

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