Dollhouse: Season One

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Eliza Dushku as Echo
Harry Lennix as Boyd Langton
Fran Kranz as Topher Brink
Tahmoh Penikett as Paul Ballard
Enver Gjokaj as Victor
Dichen Lachman as Sierra
Olivia Williams as Adelle DeWitt
Amy Acker as Dr. Claire Saunders
Reed Diamond as Laurence Dominic
Miracle Laurie as Mellie

Special Features:
Disc One

o Ghost – (Commentary by Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku)
o The Target
o Stage Fright
o Gray Hour

Disc Two

o True Believer
o Man on the Street – (Commentary by Joss Whedon)
o Echoes
o Needs

Disc Three

o A Spy in the House…
o Haunted
o Briar Rose
o Omega

Disc Four

o Never-before-seen episode Epitaph One – (Commentary by writers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen)
o Original Unaired Pilot – Echo
o Deleted Scenes
o “Making Dollhouse” featurette
o “Coming Back Home” featurette
o “Finding Echo” featurette
o “Designing the Perfect Dollhouse” featurette
o “A Private Engagement” featurette

Other Info:
Widescreen
Spanish, French, and Portuguese Subtitles
Running Time: 694 Hours

The Movie:
The following is the official description of the film:

“From Joss Whedon, the creative mastermind behind ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Angel,’ comes the provocative ‘Dollhouse,’ a sexy, suspenseful thriller starring the stunningly talented Eliza Dushku. As an “Active,” the mysterious Echo (Dushku) serves as an unwitting agent of Dollhouse, an illegal underground organization that provides its elite clientele with programmable human beings. Actives receive personality imprints, allowing them to temporarily become anyone or anything—the perfect burglar, lover, spy, or assassin. Now, with the FBI and her own shadowy past closing in, Echo must face a rogue Active who will stop at nothing to bring Dollhouse down—forever.”

“Dollhouse: Season One” is not rated.

Mini-Review:
I was one of those people that never watched “Firefly” when it was on TV, but then fell in love with it on DVD. I fully intended to watch “Dollhouse” when it aired on TV, but I missed the first episode and didn’t want to play catch up the rest of the season. I waited for the DVD release. (Unfortunately, that probably contributed to its low ratings and near cancellation.) So is “Dollhouse” another Whedon hidden gem that’s going to find a second life on DVD? I’d say yes.

I really enjoyed watching “Dollhouse.” It’s kind of like “Quantum Leap,” but instead of jumping into the bodies of other people, the other people jump into the mind of Echo. It’s a great premise that has all sorts of potential. Whedon and his writing staff explore a lot of the cool aspects of this. What happens if the memories of a downloaded person surface during a mission? What happens if a personality isn’t totally erased? What happens if multiple personalities get downloaded at the same time? Who all on the staff is an “Active”? Every episode makes you say, “Now this is interesting.” It does have a creepy misogynistic/fetish undertone to some of it at first, but the more you delve into the world, the less that comes into play.

This show sinks or swims on the performance of Eliza Dushku as Echo. Fortunately, she does a good job. It’s a perfect role for an actress because every episode she gets to play someone new. One episode she’s a hostage negotiator, another she’s a blind person. Later she’s a psychopathic killer. It’s a real challenge to change her accent and body language, but she pulls it off. The rest of the cast is also quite strong. Olivia Williams plays Adelle DeWitt, the good/evil mastermind of the project. Harry Lennix is Boyd Langton , Echo’s handler and a former cop. Amy Acker also stands out as Dr. Claire Saunders, a woman with scars on her face and a mysterious history. Fans of “Battlestar Galactica” will be glad to see Tahmoh Penikett as Paul Ballard as well as a cameo by Mark Sheppard as Tanaka. “Firefly” fans will also be thrilled by a memorable performance by Alan Tudyk.

Overall, “Dollhouse” ends up being a great series that should get a strong following… eventually. Fans just need to discover it before the second season is cancelled. It’s a great mix of mystery, action, and espionage that will not only appeal to Joss Whedon fans but fans of “Battlestar Galactica,” “Heroes,” and “Lost.” (“Heroes” fans may want to jump ship and watch this instead!) Get caught up before the fall shows start off again.

I’d love to talk about the bonus features with you, but Fox elected not to send the disc that contained them. You can check out the listing above. “Epitaph One”, from what I hear, is what would have aired if the series was cancelled. It flashed forward 10 years and showed what happened to everyone. It certainly would have thrown a wrench in the works when plotting a second season.

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