26 February 2009

Joss Whedon Spins His Wheels With Dollhouse

When the wife and I returned from our holiday, one of the most anticipated digi-treats we had waiting for us on the PVR were two episodes of Joss Whedon's new show, Dollhouse. We were big Buffy and Angel fans (allthough we did manage to give most of the trying-way-too-hard-to-breathe-new-life-into-worn-out-clichés Firefly a miss).
Sadly, Joss Whdeom is still more confident in his gifts as a sci-fi writer and scenarist than he should be. Dollhouse is more in Firefly mode than it is in the mould of Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, the hilarious viral project that occupied his time during the writer's strike.

Characterization and dialogue are where Whedon entertains and excels, but somewhere along the line somebody convinced him (and let's blame Internet fans, because its fun--and apt!--to do so) that allegory, plotting and concept were where his true genius lied. 

No, Joss.  You are the anti-George Lucas.  Write the script, don't conceptualize. 

With Dollhouse, Whedon seems to be deliberately intent on hamstringing himself. He's got a cipher for a lead, he's doing the girl power thing AGAIN, he's got morally bereft clichés floating around in a holding pattern, he's got a truly loopy and not very convincing or logical sci-fi premise, and very stale P.K. Dick-ian identity stuff as the theme.

Oh, yeah: there's also a cop on the trail of all this who's stuck doing the exact same shtick as that investigative reporter on the old, 1970's Incredible Hulk show. He even gets teased by his fellow cops about his "theory", and warned off his Quixotic quest by the "bosses".
But I guess as long as I'm seeing the obnoxiously untalented but curiously attractive Dushku in miniskirts, I'm in.