Well, that was interesting. The premiere of Dollhouse on Friday was both ambitious and intriguing. I wasn’t sure what to expect, because advance reviews had been middling at best. But while I can’t say I love Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku‘s return to television just yet, I will definitely keep watching. I’ve also noticed that Eliza doesn’t wear a lot of clothing in it, so — um — how bad can it be?
The high-tech human trafficking drama debuted Friday night to decent numbers. With an audience of 4.7 million it actually beat its returning lead-in, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles by 1 million viewers. It also held onto almost everyone through its second half an hour and doubled its female viewership. Could it be that Eliza’s “lesbian-love fans” came through for her? Well, the suit sure helps.
And speaking of lesbian-love, I sense a future ‘ship in the form of Eliza’s Echo and Amy Acker‘s Dr. Claire Saunders. I can’t be the only one who caught a little chemistry when Claire asked Echo if she was ready for her massage.
Claire is also one of the show’s more interesting characters. As the doctor who takes care of the dolls, or “actives,” she seems to be struggling with the moral issues surrounding the operation. Also, the origins of her scars have yet to be revealed.
Also still secretive are more specifics about the Dollhouse. What we know is that the organization enlists people to become actives who have their identities erased. They then are programmed (down to memories, physical ability, mental capacity) to become whatever a client wants. After each “engagement” their memories are erased again and it starts over.
The pilot had to cover a lot of ground, so it felt very full while also leaving many questions unanswered. Like, why do they have to imprint the actives with actual people’s memories, complete with their flaws? I mean, if you’ve developed the technology this far, wouldn’t you be able to make them perfect? Also, I missed Joss’ signature wit. I know the show and its central topics — identity, brainwashing, perversion — are serious, but I find well-placed humor often enhances the drama.
Still, I’m going to keep watching. I trust Joss, I like Eliza. And if they keep putting her in tight-fitting tank tops each episode, well, like I said, how bad can it be?
So, what do you think so far? Are you sold? Are you skeptical? Discuss.