Dollhouse: Season 1 Review

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Joss Whedon does his own Toy Story...


Many people gave up on Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse early on, as it seemingly set in for procedural-of-the-week oblivion. That’s a shame, because in its second half the series explodes into life, exploring a world where the link between your body and your personality may not be immutable, and where the control over that link may lie in the hands of other people.The show is predicated on the existence of a future technology that can precisely map, remove and replace the human persona. An individual mind can be saved to disc, wiped completely clean and then replaced by an infinite parade of different personalities — still in the same body — for whatever task is required: whore, lover, criminal, expert... Between sessions, the wiped “Doll” remains a virtual automaton.

It’s a creepy concept that Whedon and company only just begin to explore in these 12 episodes as, for example, it’s implied that one character was made a Doll against her will by a rejected suitor who then repeatedly engages her services to, in essence, rape her. At the centre of all this is Eliza Dushku’s heroine, the well-named Echo, who is experiencing traces of previous imprints coming back to haunt her. It all starts slowly — but then again, so did Buffy, and on the evidence of the latter episodes here, the second season promises to be a belter.