We finished the first season of Dollhouse last night, with the vaguely legendary Epitaph One episode that inexplicably wasn’t aired in the States and was only shown over there on the DVD release. Thankfully Virgin here in the UK showed the whole lot.
My concluding thoughts were that it’s now developed into a very watchable, very entertaining show and one with a huge amount of promise if they’re allowed to develop it further – regardless of the Epitaph One revelations. It’s not The Wire good, but then nothing even comes close to that. I look forward to the second season and hope it continues to improve.
Having said that, the first half of the first season is fairly god awful. I mean really, genuinely terrible in places. The only reason we kept watching was because of Joss Whedon’s involvement – having enjoyed all his previous work, we remained convinced that the show would find its way soon enough. Apparently the first half’s woefulness is almost entirely down to studio interference, which lessened off in the second half – more on that here.
Of course, for the show to get a chance to really flourish, it needs more people to watch it. The problem with that, though, is that even if I recommend it to people they still have to wade through the shitty early eps. As such, I thought it prudent to do a little list of which eps to watch and which to skip. Turns out this is rather tricky, as even the crapola episodes have subplots that are important.
1. Ghost – It’s the intro episode, so needs to be watched to get a handle on the main concept. Don’t expect to be immediately impressed, though.
2. The Target – SKIP! Subplot stuff is good, mind you.
3. Stage Fright – For the love of god, SKIP! Couple of important subplot revelations, but the main storyline is enough to make you want to die.
4. Gray Hour – Vague improvement, interesting subplot stuff starts to lay down the direction for the 2nd half.
5. True Believer – Again watchable, if unremarkable. Subplot stuff continues to bubble.
6. Man On The Street – At last! Suddenly the show takes a turn for the awesome, fully embracing the disturbing nature of the core concept and featuring a brilliant guest role by Patton Oswalt (who voiced Remy in Ratatouille, fact fans!). First glimpse that there’s a good show hiding inside the previously mediocre/crap episodes with some real blindside surprises.
7. Echoes – Somewhat silly, but decent, with crucial plot stuff about Dushku’s character.
8. Needs – Intriguing ep, good stuff.
9. Spy in the House of Love – More good stuff, lots of twisty turny bits.
10. Haunted – Back to the standalone mediocre episodes, except generally much better produced and more entertaining. Optional.
11. Briar Rose – WATCH! Firefly/Serenity/I, Robot/3.10 To Yuma’s Alan Tudyk makes for a brilliant guest star.
12. Omega – The main season finale, excellent stuff.
13. Epitaph One – OMFG.
Hope that helps with any prospective viewers. 🙂