DOLLHOUSE

Is Dollhouse any good?

POSTED BY: FREEBAGEL
UPDATED: Friday, August 21, 2009 19:54
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009 7:05 AM

FREEBAGEL


So, here I am, like the rest of you a huge Firefly fan still wishing to this day that we could get the show back on the air.

That said, like many Firefly fans, I was excited to hear that Joss was working on a new show. I watched the first couple episodes of Dollhouse and didn't really get into it. What's the verdict on Dollhouse from my fellow browncoats? Are Firefly fans pretty pleased with what it's become? Disappointed? Is it any good?

Also, I read on here that there is some unaired 13th episode out there. It looks like it got renewed for season 2, so why is one of the episodes unaired? I thought that was usually something that you found with canceled shows.


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Wednesday, July 29, 2009 7:34 AM

DEWRASTLER


Lot's of questions, I'll try my best to answer them.

First, IMHO Dollhouse is good. Not great, but it has potential (Epitaph One is a good demonstration of this, it's the unaired episode). The first 5 episodes were made to be stand alone episodes in order to ease the audience into the mythos of the show. They are by far the weakest part of the season. Around episode 6, "Man on the Street", it's starts to get much better and pretty much carries that through to the end of the season. It was a decent pilot season for a show and I have high hopes for season two. Simply put, I recommend it.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is how I remember it. The 13th episode, Epitaph One, is a product of the original pilot being scrapped and it's plot points being spread out throughout the season. FOX Broadcasting only ordered 13 episodes, which it counts as the unaired pilot and episodes 1-12. Fox Studios, on the other hand, funded 13 complete episodes. So they made Epitaph One for Fox Studios and Fox Broadcasting had the option of buying it, but passed. It is probably one of the best episodes of the show so far, in my opinion, and it is a great view into where the show will go in season 2.

Hope that helps.

________________________________
People who don't care about anything will never understand the people who do

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009 9:18 AM

DAVESHAYNE


Flashes of brilliance - particularly toward the end - with promise of greatness that hasn't quite manifested itself. Countered with the squicky premise that makes it hard to sympathize with the characters either because they are involved in pimping the dolls or because they are the dolls and have their personalities wiped after every episode. A good supporting cast helps to buoy Eliza through the tough assignment of trying to play more than the one character she plays reasonably well. If Joss can get FOX to accept the existential aspects of the show that they rather balked at in the first season this could get very good.

David

'Begone, sugar-free candy antichrist!' - Nathan Rabin.

'Geeks can't admit that anything worthwhile was invented before 1981. Soon, "making cocoa" will be called "milk hacking."' - Lore Sjoberg

http://xkcd.com/386/

"Don't worry. Captain Hammer will save us." - Penny.

I has myspace - http://www.myspace.com/daveshayneforpresident

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009 12:04 PM

ZEEK


Quote:

Originally posted by daveshayne:
Flashes of brilliance - particularly toward the end - with promise of greatness that hasn't quite manifested itself.


That's a good summary right there I think. There are like 3 good episodes out of 12 IMO. That's not much to go on.

It still has potential to be great but it hasn't reached its potential yet.

Do I recommend it? No. In fact I tell people I've introduced to Firefly that it's not worth it. So, my honest opinion is that there are better shows to watch or ways to spend your time.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009 12:26 PM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


I got Disc Four from Netflix today, so after I watch "Echo," the original unaired pilot, and "Epitaph One," also unaired but ordered by the studio to fill out the dvd set and foreign market syndication, I might have a different response to this question.

Based on the twelve episodes that did air, I'd have to agree that it had (and has) potential, but the execution was weak, but a lot of that can be attributed to network interference. I'll definitely be watching Season Two, but I'd hesitate to recommend it to everyone now.

It's no Firefly, and not even Buffy or Angel yet.



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Wednesday, July 29, 2009 12:47 PM

KWICKO

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)


Quote:


Flashes of brilliance - particularly toward the end - with promise of greatness that hasn't quite manifested itself.




That's the best summation I could ever hope for.

Put it this way: I love Joss's work. I love his cameo in Veronica Mars as the jerky rental-car manager. I love his directing on a couple of The Office episodes. I'm geeky over Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Serenity... I've even sat through Alien Resurrection.

That said, I wasn't going to shed a tear if Dollhouse wasn't renewed. In fact, I almost expected it to be cancelled. The first half of the season just wasn't doing ANYTHING for me. It wasn't pushing any of my geekiness buttons. It was, in fact, a bit annoying.

The second half of the season, things started to turn around. THIS was more like the show I'd been hoping for - and yet, it still wasn't, quite. I ended up intrigued, and I'll watch Season Two, of course, because I'm a geek for all things Jossy (did I mention that yet? I did? Well, I'll keep reminding you in case you forget). But it's not my favorite show, by any means. I don't know if I'll buy it on DVD, but I'm leaning towards NOT doing so.

So, Is it good? Well... it's good-ISH.

If it helps, I think it will get much better. 'Cause if it doesn't, it'll be gone.

Mike

Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day...
Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.


If it wasn't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college...

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009 3:25 PM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


I thought "Echo" was a better introduction to the series as Joss intended it to be, certainly better than "Ghost," but I can also see why the network didn't agree.

Select to view spoiler:


Adelle DeWitt was ruthlessly unsympathetic, Topher was arrogantly uncaring about the active's welfare, and they imprinted Echo to assassinate Paul Ballard. Of course, the mole inside altered that imprint so that she shot him but not fatally, but still the intention from those in charge was for her to kill him.



Not surprising at all that FOX did not want that one to be the first episode. A few scenes were used, either as is or re-shot/edited, for other episodes.



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Thursday, July 30, 2009 2:01 AM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


I've decided that the major problem with Dollhouse is Topher. Granted the actor is now 26, but the character acted more like a teenager, or at most a stoned college kid. All he seemed interested in was the tech and what he could do with it, making him even more culpable than DeWitt, who seemed to genuinely care for the actives.

And even at 24-25 (the age Kranz would have been during the majority of filming Season One), that is entirely too young for a covert organization like this to have trusted, no matter how smart he is. Plus, even though he was intended as the majority of the comic relief, he was nowhere as good as Xander or Wash at that part of the job.



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Thursday, July 30, 2009 2:35 AM

DEWRASTLER


Quote:

Originally posted by ecgordon:
I've decided that the major problem with Dollhouse is Topher. Granted the actor is now 26, but the character acted more like a teenager, or at most a stoned college kid. All he seemed interested in was the tech and what he could do with it, making him even more culpable than DeWitt, who seemed to genuinely care for the actives.




Think about how someone like Topher's life would have played out, and the way he acts makes sense. He's so smart, he probably skipped many grades in school. Graduated college at 18 and then went on to get his masters and phD. He never had a childhood, so he never actually grew up. And because he lived in this very controlled life of schooling, he never truly got a real sense of morals. His life was purely intellectual, so now he just buries himself in his work and hides behind jokes, because he doesn't know how to relate to people.

He's also great in Epitaph One. I'm not going to spoil anything but let's just say the consequences of his actions finally hits him.



________________________________
People who don't care about anything will never understand the people who do

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Thursday, July 30, 2009 3:40 AM

KWICKO

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)


Quote:

Plus, even though he was intended as the majority of the comic relief, he was nowhere as good as Xander or Wash at that part of the job.



And there's the rub. Topher's being used as a basic plug-in character - "insert geeky funny guy HERE" - as are too many other characters, which starts to give the show a bit of a "formulaic" feel. And even if it's a Whedon formula, it's still a formula.


Mike

Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day...
Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.


If it wasn't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college...

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Thursday, July 30, 2009 3:41 AM

KHAMBILO


I both agree and disagree with what's been posted here.


I agree that it's no Firefly, Buffy, or Angel. But this isn't a bad thing I like seeing Joss explore a new realm instead of giving us more of the same. This is i think where some loyal Whedon fans got put off, especially with Topher. Topher is NOT a Xander or Wash. He's funny, but his character has more to it than that (as demonstrated by Epitaph one).

I disagree that the first few episodes were bad. They are not as good as the others,but in the light of Epitaph One, these first episodes are better. You can even catch glimpses of foreshadowing to what happens in Epitaph One in the first few episodes (especially Gray Hour), which get lost in later episodes when the series progresses towards the Alpha issue.

Epitaph One is the key to the whole Dollhouse series I guess. It makes the entire series a lot better.

Also, don't consider Dollhouse as a vehicle for Eliza Dushku. I feel like people make this mistake when judging the show. The supporting cast is amazing as well.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009 4:38 AM

ZEEK


I really don't get the issues with Topher's character. I like his character. He's funny and goofy and reminds me of plenty of people I went to school with and work with. Trust me there are computer geeks who act that way at 26 and beyond. The episode that dealt with his birthday was cute and sorta sad at the same time. I have more trouble understanding Boyd and Ballard sometimes than I do Topher.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009 6:50 AM

DEWRASTLER


Quote:

Originally posted by khambilo:


I disagree that the first few episodes were bad. They are not as good as the others,but in the light of Epitaph One, these first episodes are better. You can even catch glimpses of foreshadowing to what happens in Epitaph One in the first few episodes (especially Gray Hour), which get lost in later episodes when the series progresses towards the Alpha issue.





After watching Epitaph One and the unaired pilot, I just starting watching the entire series again. I just finished Stage Fright and I must admit that I am enjoying these episodes much more this time around.

________________________________
People who don't care about anything will never understand the people who do

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Thursday, July 30, 2009 7:37 AM

KAREL

Flying on duct tape and a damaged registry.


MalsWay, my wife, chastised me repeatedly for watching it. I think her "reasoning" was that it was getting lukewarm reviews from Joss fans (at least early on), and it was a Joss show on Fox, meaning it would get canceled anyway.

She said that if it gets renewed, she'll give it a chance on DVD. Well... she's hooked.

Like me, she noticed the same 'ol Joss dialogue, Joss characters, and Joss devices; but is drawn in none the less.


"Whatever is wrong with you is so right for me." -- Marillion.

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Monday, August 3, 2009 2:08 PM

KINGEICHOLZ


Do you come in here to check peoples spelling to?

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Monday, August 3, 2009 2:21 PM

KINGEICHOLZ


It's jusy ok i've seen better and Eliza Dushku is not a very good actress the story lines drag sometimes i would give 5 out of 10.

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Monday, August 3, 2009 2:29 PM

KWICKO

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)


Quote:

Originally posted by KingEICHOLZ:
Do you come in here to check peoples spelling to?



You mean "to check peoples' spelling too"?

And of course, the answer is, only yours, dear. Only yours.


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Monday, August 3, 2009 4:03 PM

BIGRICHARD


aww, Kwicko, you've got yourself a stalker!


Anyway, my Dollhouse DVD is yet to arrive and so I haven't seen the original pilot or Epitaph One, but I'd agree that the first five episodes were weaker than the rest, and, while it intrigued me, I was only fully hooked once we hit episode 6.

And from all the positive things about Epitaph One getting said here, I can't wait to see it!

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Monday, August 3, 2009 4:20 PM

KWICKO

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)


Quote:

aww, Kwicko, you've got yourself a stalker!




Just the one? I must be slipping...




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Monday, August 3, 2009 4:40 PM

BIGRICHARD


everything's slipping awaaayy sooooo....go ahead! run away! say it was horrible!! spread the word, tell a friend, tell them the tale!!


anyway... yeah. maybe i should change that to
ANOTHER stalker! mind you, do virtual stalkers count?

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Monday, August 3, 2009 5:58 PM

KWICKO

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)


Quote:

mind you, do virtual stalkers count?


Only if I'm virtually scared...



As for slipping away, and Dollhouse, let's hope not.

While I'll freely admit that it was NOT my favorite show last season, I also absolutely won't be missing a single episode this season. I watch because it's Joss... BUT - I also watch because from what I've seen, Joss has a habit of starting kinda slow and building into simply amazing, astonishing second, third, and fourth seasons and beyond. So if S1 of Dollhouse was its "weak" season, we might be in for a hell of a ride.

And it definitely DID get much better as the episodes progressed.

And, ya know... It's JOSS! How can we NOT support him?!

Mike

Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day...
Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.


If it wasn't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college...

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Monday, August 3, 2009 6:49 PM

BIGRICHARD


and lets face it, the last two or three eps of the season were amazing. Mainly coz of Alan Tudyk.

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Monday, August 3, 2009 7:44 PM

SHINYGOODGUY


In regards to Topher:

He's also great in Epitaph One. I'm not going to spoil anything but let's just say the consequences of his actions finally hits him.
(Thanks Dewrastler)
---------------------------------------------

I agree with you EC in regards to him being annoying, but I think that Joss did this intentionally, because each of his characters, from Buffy to Firefly, go through an arc. It's Joss' story within a story 'modus operandi', he just loves giving you a character that starts out here but ends up way over there.

I believe we got a hint of that, specifically, in the final 2 eps where his actions were coming back to bite him in the butt. And then in E-One, as Dewrastler pointed out.

As for me, I'm in the "Flashes of Brilliance" camp on Dollhouse. Everytime I would watch and find my "geek" cup running over, the following week I would be disappointed. I'm on the fence about getting the DVD because DH was choppy (to say the least), but there were some eps that just rocked the house.

I'm going to rent it, if I can, to see the unaired eps. But I will be watching S2 without a doubt. The potential this show has cannot be ignored. Joss has to knock this one out of the park; I just hope Fux has enough sense to stand back and let Joss play with his toys. We will all get a thrill and Fux will be counting the large piles of cash - that should make them happy.

I believe it was Kwicko who said it's "goodish" and leaning toward the positive end of the scale.

"Goodish"----------------------------------------------------------Great.

It's got some ways to go.

SGG

Tawabawho?

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009 7:35 AM

MAINEAXE


Ok.. I bought the Dollhouse First season CD's, and I have to say I didn't give the TV show a fair shake when it aired. Im not a particular fan of Eliza Dushku, but I have to say in the later episodes she does turn in some spectacular performances. Mark Sheppard (AKA Badger) is true to type cast.. and a familiar face in the verse. At this time Iv only completed the first 2 CD's and will have more to comment on in the future.
It AINT Firefly/Serenity, but it aint half bad either.

~Maineaxe~ a shiny 3rdrockresident

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009 7:41 AM

KWICKO

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)


Quote:


I believe it was Kwicko who said it's "goodish" and leaning toward the positive end of the scale.

"Goodish"----------------------------------------------------------Great.



Thanks for that, SGG. And if it's any kind of vote of confidence, while I may not think the show has reached greatness yet, I think it may damn well be heading that way!

Four of five eps in, I was just about ready to give up on the show for good. Then it grabbed me. And while it had its ups and downs after that, it tended to be more ups than downs, which is a good thing.

And while Topher annoys me, I have to try to remember that Xander was annoying in Season One of Buffy, too. Like SGG pointed out, there's a growth arc in the characters, and I have to admit that we haven't seen anything really focusing on Topher yet, so he hasn't gotten to grow. Hell, even Andrew grew and evolved!

I wasn't crazy about the show, and was SURE it would get cancelled, but like I said once its renewal was announced, now that we've got a Season Two, I'm all in. I'm prepared to be blown away this season.

Mike

Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day...
Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.


If it wasn't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college...

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009 11:23 AM

KINGEICHOLZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Kwicko:
Quote:

Originally posted by KingEICHOLZ:
Do you come in here to check peoples spelling to?



You mean "to check peoples' spelling too"?

And of course, the answer is, only yours, dear. Only yours. kWICKO I HOPE YOU ARE FEMALE BECAUSE YOU JUST CALLED ME DEAR AND I DON'T LIKE BEING CALLED DEAR BY ANOTHER MAN.



REAL MAN

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009 11:37 AM

LWAVES


Being a Joss show I eagerly awaited the first showing of the pilot (the one that aired) as I am a Firefly, Buffy and Angel fan.
To say I was utterly disappointed is a major understatement, and I decided not to watch anymore. But because it was Joss's show I kept telling myself that I would come back to it later. Then I heard that the next few episodes weren't great either and I thought 'Should I bother?' After that I pretty much ignored anything about the show.

Of course then it was up against TSCC for the grand prize of cancellation and being a fan of that show I wanted Dollhouse to lose. We know the result of that but I read a thread on here that stated that Dollhouse actually got better towards the end and broke away from the early fomulaic episodes. Shortly after I saw a brief clip from Epitaph One on YouTube and my interest was peaked enough to revisit the show.

The end result being pretty much what everyone here has said. The first set of episodes are the weakest and had it carried on this way it would have become a really bad show. But it didn't and the later episodes got better and better, resulting in the rather good Epitaph One.

Overall I still can't say that it's a great show but it does have the potential that others above me have spoken of. And now I'm more settled into the way the show works I like the fact that Joss hasn't made the show in the same way as any of the others. Buffy and Angel were very similar, which is to be expected, but I felt Firefly was different to both of them in some ways. Dollhouse is different again, there is less humour but more emphasis on morals and crossing certain lines.

I look forward to season 2 in the hope that it can improve even further. And if Summer ends up being involved in the show then all the better. I hear Alexis Denisof is already on board (possibly working for Rossum?)



"I don't believe in suicide, but if you'd like to try it it might cheer me up to watch."

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009 11:58 AM

KWICKO

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)


Quote:

Originally posted by KingEICHOLZ:
Quote:

Originally posted by Kwicko:
Quote:

Originally posted by KingEICHOLZ:
Do you come in here to check peoples spelling to?



You mean "to check peoples' spelling too"?

And of course, the answer is, only yours, dear. Only yours. kWICKO I HOPE YOU ARE FEMALE BECAUSE YOU JUST CALLED ME DEAR AND I DON'T LIKE BEING CALLED DEAR BY ANOTHER MAN.



REAL MAN





BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH...

Let me guess, sweetie - you were "text-quoting"!

Typing > You


Oh, and I'm a man. Hope that doesn't cause you to lose sleep.

Mike

Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day...
Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.


If it wasn't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college...

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 3:47 AM

ASARIAN


Dollhouse, a typical case of "Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda." Indeed, it had its spurts of brilliance; but often these only painfully underlined what the rest was lacking. You could clearly see the hand of Joss. But, the odd occasion notwithstanding, like with "Man on the Street" and such, where you could tell the man really sat down to give it his best, the rest was still Joss, but like Joss in a hurry, drafting episodes he could have elevated to greatness if only he had taken the time to rewrite them a couple of times. Alas, he never did.

Of course, as observed before, the show's whole premiss worked against Joss. You cannot really sympathize with the main characters: they're pimps of the worst kind. Even a handler like Boyd, who's given to play a man of honor, still hops along for the ride. Of course, the show tries to come up with reasons for why they do what they do; but, overall, the rationalizations are trite and fail to convince. Topher is the example in the flesh. He's supposed to be so geeky as to be blissfully free of any moral considerations; but, in the way it works out, he just winds up being a walking characature of himself. There it surfaced again, that flash of brilliance, in the last aired episode, when Dr. Saunders says to Topher (quoting from memory here; don't shoot me): "You programmed me with better computer skills than needed for my job. But one thing I don't understand: why on earth did you program me to hate you so? ... That's weird." Beautiful wow! moment. DeWitt, who I couldn't stand at first, in the end actualy pulled off the internal moral struggle best throughout the show. And in "Epitaph One" her motherly instinct towards Topher was truly endearing. Brought a tear to my eye. So, oddly enough, of the main characters I now sympathize with her the most. I don't wanna give away nuthing, but Topher's performance, in "Epitaph One," was bordering on brilliance too.

So, Dollhouse any good? Not good enough for me to recommend, really; but good enough for me to be present again the next season. Sorry, can't make more of it. Only Joss can.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 10:58 AM

KINGEICHOLZ


NO Its doesn't cause me to lose sleepi'm just not gay if you are thats up tp you.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009 7:57 AM

SHINYGOODGUY


Joss is just beginning to tell his story. Topher, and others, have a long way to go. Here's hoping that we'll get to see this out to the end.

SGG

Tawabawho?

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Thursday, August 13, 2009 9:21 AM

KINGEICHOLZ


Eliza Dushku can't act.

REAL MAN

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Saturday, August 15, 2009 10:49 PM

PATCHIST


I say everyone should give every Joss Whedon series at least 2 full seasons for plot and character development. He's such a detail oriented writer that season one would just be full of the background and mythologies. Another season would give us character evolution that we could relate to.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:08 AM

SHINYGOODGUY


Agreed, she's not gifted. Had it not been for T:SCC Summer Glau would have been perfect for this role. She could do Echo in her sleep and be better than Eliza.

Of course, she's done that type of role before. Still I would prefer Summer any day.

SGG

Tawabawho?

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Monday, August 17, 2009 7:30 PM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by KingEICHOLZ:
Eliza Dushku can't act.

REAL MAN


She can act pretty well... but only 1 type of character. Which I guess is another way of saying she really can't act very well. :) But she's got a hot bod', and that covers a multitude of sins.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Friday, August 21, 2009 7:54 PM

TRAVELER


It is Paul Ballard, the FBI agent, that I don't like. He seems to be wearing blinders and not seeing the whole picture. He seems so one dimensional. I hope Joss will drop him down a manhole or get squashed by a falling piano.

And I agree that Topher did not have a childhood. The episode that has him celebrating his birthday shows him feeding his inner child. The candles on the Twinkie was a great touch. His immature behaviour is because of his lost childhood.

Now to answer the main question of this thread. I am into this show. It takes a while to build the characters and the true theme is just out of our reach as the series continues to drop clues that, to me, were not always so obvious. To fully enjoy this series I would recommend seeing every episode so you know how these people are really tied together.


http://www.imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=28764731
Traveler

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