Thursday, February 26, 2009

Slightly better than "Surviving the Game", Not as fun as "Gymkata"

I should probably admit that I'm not that huge a Joss Whedon fan, despite the fact that, in theory, he's everything I like wrapped in one geeky package. Comic book fan? Check. Innovative twists on sci-fi and horror, which acknowledge and update trappings and gender roles? Check. Weird sense of humor? Check.

But I've only seen a few episodes of "Firefly" (which I liked), no Buffy or Angel at all. I've never read his run on X-Men, and I haven't watched "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog". So keep that in mind when you get to the next part:

I think "Dollhouse" is okay. But I don't think it's going to be great as long as Eliza Dukshu's the lead.

The second episode just revealed the empress as naked, if you will. She's called upon to encounter different versions of herself during a drug-induced freakout. And my god, if it wasn't for the dialogue/costume cues, I wouldn't be able to tell which version was a mind-erased doll and which supposed to be a living being. Her only method for showing confusion is to walk in a weird stagger and shake her head from side to side.

I mean, I guess there might be some point to having someone as blank as Eliza Dushku play a character whose entire existence is projected onto her by other people. But I don't care about her plight or view her brainwashing as that bad a thing, which is incredibly problematic for this show.

And you know, when Harry Lennix is on screen, kicking butt and being morally troubled, or when Tahmoh Penikett's cute next door neighbor hits on him, or when the meta-plot is getting revealed, I'm engaged and enjoying myself.

But then Eliza Dushku is called upon to show some range and the show falls apart for me. My only hope is that Whedon has some master-stroke planned that is supposed to play off this. But so far, I'm a doubter.

I mean, when your "Most Dangerous Game" episode leaves me saying "eh", you should realize your show has a problem.