Sunday, January 30, 2011

Review: Dollhouse Season 2

My complaints about the first season of dollhouse was due to how slow the plot was, and how nobody had ever seemed to have heard of off-site backups. One thing about Joss Whedon, at least he's consistent in his plot holes.

The second season starts out far more promising. The story accelerates, and we get development of the main character, Echo, as well as an understanding of where Rossum's technology is leading. After all, if you did invent a machine that could wipe people clean and then reprogram them to be whatever you wanted to be, the natural thought wouldn't be to start a high class prostitution ring: you'd go after bigger targets.

Unfortunately, after that story point was resolved, we get deep inside Rossum's past, and the entire plot at that point develops holes you can drive an armored 18-wheeler through. The villains were smart enough to discover the neuroscience behind the dollhouse, but stupid enough to come up with a complex series of schemes that required that they put themselves in harm's way to get what they wanted, rather than pursue their goals directly. The net result of this was a plot that required characters to do incredibly unreasonable things. The penultimate episode was really dumb, in the "Oh, we'll blow up entire buildings to remove this dangerous technology" fashion. At least we know that doesn't work (thanks to the ending of Season One). However, we have to suspend our disbelief that the smart, intelligent characters in this show did believe that this would work! The post-apocalyptic section of the story doesn't make sense as well. Wouldn't the masters of the universe rather keep a high tech world intact so they could live in luxury?

The last episode was even more inane. One of the smart characters designed a device to restore the world, but isn't smart enough to put together a timed trigger. Even worse, the "leader" character in the story doesn't think to herself, "If anything goes wrong we need this guy to fix it, we can't let him blow himself up!"

Ok, good things about the series: it's got the best depiction of nerd love I've seen, very sweet and almost believable. Some of the exploitation of the technology seen in the last episode stems directly from the premise. It would be fun to explore that aspect of the world. Unfortunately, I'm afraid I cannot recommend this series to anyone, even fans of Joss Whedon. I'm afraid my opinion of his work dropped dramatically after watching this series. I'm starting to think
that Buffy was a fluke, and he's been coasting on his reputation since. Not Recommended.
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