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Old February 15 2009, 01:24 AM   #76
davejames
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

Hyperspace05 wrote: View Post
Peak,
Nonsense... Train job, although I disliked the SciFi/Western setting at the time, had interesting characters, plus that "hook" at the end. (pushing the guy into the engine)

This? Not so much.
Agreed. I was turned off by the Firefly setting at first too, but I still recognized there was a lot of imagination, witty writing, and cool characters in there-- which is why I gave it another chance once the DVD came out.

With Dollhouse, I just don't see hardly ANYTHING that's worth revisiting. The setting is uninspired, and the writing and characters don't have any spark to them either.
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Old February 15 2009, 01:50 AM   #77
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

I did have an interesting thought about one of the characters.

The agent who's trying to track down and prove there is a Dollhouse -- during his first scene where he was being chewed out, they kept cutting to flashbacks of him as a boxer. I had a major theory: what if these weren't flashbacks? What if he's a rouge, or planted Doll, who's memory -- much like Echo's will later -- has seaped back in and he's remembering who he was (a boxer; maybe he killed someone during a match and wanted to forget about it...) and also realizing memories about being a "Doll" and is trying to track down the Dollhouse and find out about himself.
I say plant for two reasons:

1. Perhaps he was put there to keep an eye out and be a first warning to the Dollhouse that they have been discovered.

or

2. Like suggested by another Whedon fan, the Dollhouse is realy the "bad guys" of the series (which we just don't know yet) and he's infiltrating the good guys.


Or maybe I'm just assuming the show will get deeper and complex later on like his other shows did.



And I imagine like the original BTVS pilot, the "Angel" promo pilot, and the BTVS animted series promo pilot, the original "Dollhouse" pilot will leak online.
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Last edited by TharpJingleport; February 15 2009 at 02:57 AM.
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Old February 15 2009, 02:40 AM   #78
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

"Train Job" is by far the weakest firefly episode, and deserved a tepid reaction.
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Old February 15 2009, 02:49 AM   #79
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

I don't think we will be getting any answers to any questions people might care about in the 13 and only 13 episodes that will be made.
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Old February 15 2009, 03:15 AM   #80
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

Hmm. Standard thriller fare with a mild sci-fi twist. Writing more on the show is difficult, because there is little more to write about, unless I missed an ocean of subtlety to pick apart.

Dushku in a business suit was hot, though.
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Old February 15 2009, 03:19 AM   #81
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

Lindley wrote: View Post
To be fair, on its own this is a pretty decent show. It's the elevated expectations due to Joss's name being attached to it which have caused most of the negativity, I think.
You know, this is an interesting point. I've thought about it quite a bit and I think the opposite is true. If Joss' name wasn't attached to this, I wouldn't have watched it or want to give it one more chance.

I agree with the comment about Firefly. The first episode was hard to get into, but once I did -- I was hooked.

Now a television series about Dr. Horrible ... sign me up!
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Old February 15 2009, 03:44 AM   #82
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

I got a Quantum Leap vibe from this episode. How she lived someone else's life, and gave that personality, though not the person itself, a chance to deal with her painful past.
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Old February 15 2009, 03:57 AM   #83
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

The difference between this and "Qauntum Leap" is that in "Qauntum Leap
Sam was in the body of the person (and that person in the Waiting Room in the fturure), while on the other hand of "Dollhouse", Echo isn't there at all; it's the real memories of another person(s). Sam had to figure out who he was, while Echo IS that person.
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Old February 15 2009, 04:15 AM   #84
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

Below average - ech, sleazy, distateful and pointless. It doesn't help that the premise rests on a blatant contrivance, that people can't be given mad skillz without wiping out their previous memories. Why? Because there would be no show otherwise. Stupid.

Why not invent a gizmo that adds skills to people without wiping their memories? Make someone the perfect date or hostage negotiator without taking anything away (why would anything need to be taken away?) Everyone would want that. It would be useful, fun and legal. And none of this supremely annoying oh poor me/pity the poor Dolls manipulative horseshit.

For that matter, what's illegal about a consenting adult asking to have their memories wiped out? Maybe it would be a question of medical ethics, assuming doctors are the one performing these procedures, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Without the AMA involved, who gives a fuck what people do with their own brains?

Why is the FBI even involved in this? Why is the Dollhouse a big, bad secret? They could stop engaging in literal prostitution and just become a high-powered consulting firm, sending out experts in completely legitimate fields of endeavor, and there would be no "victims" here at all.

But Whedon clearly wants to set up a show where there are "victims" for us to feel sorry for - and that's why it's all so distasteful.

With the catastrophically bad premiere ratings, this one won't be stinking up the airwaves for long.
As I was watching it, I just wondered if it would be more affordable to actually hire an escort/prostitute for a perfect date, or an actual hostage negotiator instead of hiring an active?
Now, now, you're not supposed to think that way. The real way a Memory Machine could make a superstar in any arena would be to keep injecting memories in a person without subtracting anything. A hostage negotiator who had the memories of a hostage taker, now that would be valuable. Or a hooker with the training of a professional acrobat. And a psychotherapist. And a schoolteacher, if you're into the whole Sarah Palin thing.

But wiping out and injecting memories doesn't seem like something that's going to result in people whose skills can bring in an income to match the probable expense of doing it in the first place. Why not just hire the frakkin' people who were used as the templates for the memory injection? Another basic, basic problem with the premise. This is a good example of a show that needed to be re-thought at the one-page-synopsis stage before going any further.
My guess is that when the mid season twist is coming, there will be a turnaround. But they will say it's "too late", and the series will be cancelled a few episodes after that.
There can't be a "mid-season" twist, since this debuted mid-season. It will be lucky to get a half-season run before cancellation, I'm not counting on even that. And Firefly at least had an intriguing premise that made me want to learn more, and characters I could give a damn about. This show has neither, in fact, it has absolutely nothing to convince me to tune in next week. Sayonara, life is too short to waste on bad TV.
Don't try to brush it off saying that fanboys just want to bash things.
Yeah. Fanboys do like to bash things. That doesn't mean some things don't deserve to be bashed.
Doesn't help that Helo, traitor to his race, is along for the ride.


He DESERVES to be stuck in this lousy show! I wish the ratings were thru the roof so he'd be stuck for years!

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Old February 15 2009, 05:09 AM   #85
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

I watched the first episode today on www.surfthechannel.com. I was a little disappointed, but I tried to keep in mind that this is Joss Whedon and nothing is as it appears. I hope this was a "set up" episode and I hope the future episodes will showcase his unique humor that we saw in Buffy and Firefly. I will stick with the show for a while just to see what happens.
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Old February 15 2009, 05:19 AM   #86
I am not Spock
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

This is Joss freaking Whedon, guys. I'm sure he'll give us a nice twist to the tale eventually. If FOX lets him get that far before they pull the plug.

I've loved every show he's done so far. I hope Dollhouse will at least reach some of its potential before they can its ass in, maybe, 12 weeks?

Should we start a betting thread? How long til Dollhouse gets the axe?
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Old February 15 2009, 05:59 AM   #87
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

With ratings that bad, I wonder if it'll get yanked before the end of the season. Definitely no S2. So whatever the master plan is, if there's one at all, it's moot.

Fox was right to relegate it to the Friday deathslot. No sense wasting a good timeslot on such a dog.
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Old February 15 2009, 06:53 AM   #88
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

She's hawt though.



Seriously don't see the reason for the hate; yes, some aspects seem half-baked or haphazardly thought through, but conceptually it could gel.

And pigs could fly.

At any rate, a few more viewings are in order before passing judgment.

Maybe I'll spot a nipple or two along the way.
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Old February 15 2009, 07:09 AM   #89
hyzmarca
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

DarKush wrote: View Post
As I was watching it, I just wondered if it would be more affordable to actually hire an escort/prostitute for a perfect date, or an actual hostage negotiator instead of hiring an active? Perhaps its a conceit of the show, but it just feels convoluted and contrived that people would go through all that much trouble when there are actual people/'experts' already that they could hire.
One premise in the cyberpunk genre is the idea of wealthy individuals and powerful corporations hiring non-persons to commit acts of dubious legality, because non-persons are plausibly deniable.

In most cyberpunk works that use the idea, these non-persons come from a large population of inner-city poor who are denied citizenship by a government that finds it more convenient to simply pretend that they do not exist than to fund comprehensive welfare programs. But the concern that the government would one day strip people of citizenship based solely on their income levels fell away along with the idea that 3D VR would be the most efficient and most common way of interacting with a computer.

Dollhouse provides a more efficient sort of deniability Not only are the Actives non-persons, but they have their memories erased after each engagement, meaning that the details of them are unlikely to ever leak out.

It's a similar concept to Philip K. Dick's Paycheck, though shorter term and possibly less voluntary.

The idea of "meat-puppets" with customized implanted personalities is also somewhat prominent in some cyberpunk works. When you can implant memories and alter personalities, it is logical that it will be used by some to customize individuals, and this can be dehumanizing to various degrees. At it's most benign, some individuals can have themselves implanted with personality traits that they desire. At it's logical extreme you have people kidnapped and modified against their will to be happy compliant slaves, with brothels stocked with people who have been modified both psychologically and surgically to be indistinguishable from popular celebrities being fairly common. Dollhouse doesn't have the surgical modification aspect that makes celebrity impersonation viable, but the idea of having a real experience with the person of your dreams is quite a bit more appealing than a mere financial transaction, even when it is only momentary. Better to hav eloved and lost, they say, to hav enever loved at all.


And there are some other very good reasons for using customized personalities rather than hiring someone off the streets, the most obvious being reliability, the other being speed. Let's say you have an important combat mission. You want to hire a sociopath to lead your team, for one very simple reason, combat units led by sociopaths tend to have hire success rates, higher kill counts, and are less likely to retreat. Putting a remorseless killer with little concern for his own safety in a position where his job is to kill remorselessly with little concern for his own safety inspires the men around him and under him to great acts of heroism themselves. But identifying someone with both the skills and experience to lead a combat unit and the personality traits to do it well without suffering from any crisis of conscience, particularly when engaging in illegal activity, is time consuming and difficult. It is far easier to program someone with that personality and the necessary skills, if the technology to do so exists. Both the Active who was involved in the raid at the end and the one who escaped seem to have been programed with sociopathic personalities for just this reason.

And, although they must use the memories, skills, and personality traits of real people, they mix and match as they see fit to create the best possible individual for the task at hand, rather than simply copying a single person.

I think that a great many complaints, other than those about Dushku's acting, are about genre conventions. It's a genre show. That genre is memory-maniuplation cyberpunk/post-cyberpunk. It isn't exactly a common genre on television, so viewers and reviewers might not be totally familiar with it, but complaining about why rich people would hire a meat-puppet is like complaining about why Riggs and Murtah are still cops after all of their hijinks. It's a genre convention. And the kidnapping mission, it's also a genre convention, as is the prostitution, though it is rare for combat missions and prostitution to be combined.

The question is can Whedon do the genre justice, because it is a heady philosphical genre about exploring the nature of the self that uses violent action adventure as a contextualizing and motivating device, rather than a mere violent action-adventure genre.

Maybe I'm just willing to give it more of the benefit of the doubt because I am familiar with the genre and enjoy it, but it seems that many of the complaints come from a simply dislike or misunderstanding of the genre, which is understandable given that the only real example of it on the screen is Total Recall.
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Old February 15 2009, 07:17 AM   #90
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Re: Dollhouse: "Ghost" 2/13 - Grading & Discussion

Just saw it. I wasn't blown away, but I couldn't get it out of my head that this was the exposition Whedon cobbled together at the last minute to explain everything to the Fox executives. I'm not going to judge it by this episode at all. I'll wait 'til next week.

About the set, it just screamed Wolfram & Hart to me. I was expecting to see Ilyria walk into the room, and just as that thought occurred to me, in walked Fred! I wouldn't be surprised if Whedon used a lot of the same crew, designers, and of course actors. If I had a good time making a show that got canceled early, I'd bring back as many people as possible for my next one. I wouldn't be surprised if that killer they barely showed turns out to be Wesley Wyndham Price.
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