I bet you half the people that posted about Dollhouse referenced Welcome to the Dollhouse in some way or another, so who am I to buck a trend? No one, that's who. Still, you can't deny that the expression rings true as the pilot episode is very much an introduction to the latest world created by Joss Whedon, the master of girl power television. While some might say that a show about women that are essentially kept as mind-controlled slaves sent to do the bidding of whatever client chooses to pay for their services is hardly the definition of girl power, I have no doubt that Whedon will take Echo down the hero's path as she eventually struggles to free herself and stand on her own. You know, that old chest nut. I'll try not to spoil too much after the read link.
I admit that I have my doubts about the show's premise and have since it was announced. The obvious creep factor of someone being brainwashed and pimped out to someone who doesn't know she's been brainwashed disturbs on multiple levels. Then I watch the pilot and they manage to take it a step further. It turns out that the new memories and personalities are grafted from real people. So not only do these girls think they are someone else; they think they are someone else who actually existed. Yea. Creepy. I respect Whedon's intentions here, because we are meant to dislike the organization pulling Echo's strings, but damn, the boy went all out on the sleeze factor, this time. Here's hoping I don't get so creeped out that I dread watching the show, each week. It's a thin line that Whedon will have a hard time treading.
Then we have Dushku. Yea, sure, she's smokin hot and all, but for what this show is intending to do, we are going to need some serious acting chops. After all, she will essentially be playing a completely different person, week in and week out. That's a big difference from the other show that people are going to instantly compare Dollhouse to, which is Alias. In Alias, Sidney was always Sidney. Different clothes, different assignment, but the same woman. Echo is a blank canvas with essentially no life experiences to draw from except the ones they give her. If all we get each week is the same old Dushku with a new outfit, this show is sunk. That said, I thought Eliza did an admirable job in the pilot. She sold me on the vulnerability of the character, as well as the intelligence and confidence. She didn't look and act like Faith in a suit and wasn't popping wise every other line. If she can do that, every time, I may be able to get behind Dollhouse.
Which brings me to the overall feel of the show for me. The staff at the Dollhouse are sufficiently slimy, which will work in Whedon's favor, since, as I said, we aren't supposed to like these people. That handler that cares too much was a tad more cliched than I would have liked, simply because these stories always have the handler that cares too much. I recognize that it's a tried and true plot device, but it tells me far too much far too soon about where this show is headed. I also like that they introduced Amy Acker's character with a nary a word about the numerous scars on her face. They just put them out there and left it to the viewer to decide if that was interesting, which it certainly was, for me. I won't even mention the last scene of the episode, but all I can say is it did exactly what the last shot of a pilot should do; it got me excited about seeing episode 2. Whether or not I will be along for the full ride remains to be seen, but they've got me for one more week, at the least. Bravo, Mr. Whedon. Bravo.