212 of 222 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moving and Darkly Fascinating Blend of Sci-Fi and Philosophy
What is "Dollhouse?" It's a question that, at first, was not easy to answer. "Dollhouse" deals with an underground organization that wipes away someone's personality, leaving them in a mindless, childlike state - a doll. Then, whenever a client with enough money summons the Dollhouse's services, an Active is imprinted with a new personality, becoming whatever person the...
Published on February 24, 2010 by Phoenix Child
50 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Season 2 wraps up loose ends
While the final episode in the series, "Epitaph 2", addresses the events and issues raised in the final DVD episode of Season 1 ("Epitaph One"), many sacrifices to the show's artistic integrity had to (unfortunately) be made. This was the right choice for the show: to end with a plot that makes sense. But, it's likely that more seasons would have been required to flesh...
Published on February 10, 2010 by Lola
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212 of 222 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moving and Darkly Fascinating Blend of Sci-Fi and Philosophy,
What is "Dollhouse?" It's a question that, at first, was not easy to answer. "Dollhouse" deals with an underground organization that wipes away someone's personality, leaving them in a mindless, childlike state - a doll. Then, whenever a client with enough money summons the Dollhouse's services, an Active is imprinted with a new personality, becoming whatever person the client desires. At the end of the engagement, the Active is wiped back into a doll, remembering nothing that's transpired.
At once a dark and disturbing show, "Dollhouse" was a difficult television show to watch because it challenged its viewers, it questioned its viewers: is it possible to erase someone's soul? Is it morally right to have such technology? Is it human nature to abuse this technology? If the dolls are all ostensibly volunteers, is there such a thing as voluntary servitude or are the engagements prostitution of a most profoundly perverted nature? In a world of mindless reality shows, it's easy to see why "Dollhouse" never garnered a large viewing audience.
The first season of "Dollhouse" led the viewer on a fascinating journey as Echo (Eliza Dushku), one of the most popular Actives, began to wake up within her doll state, developing a personality immune to the mental tampering of the Dollhouse, creating herself as a person. After the climactic season finale, "Omega," FOX surprisingly renewed "Dollhouse" for a second season. It was in this second and ultimately final season that "Dollhouse" truly became one of creator Joss Whedon ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel," "Firefly/Serenity")'s finest works.
Plunging back into Echo's world, we learn that Echo is no longer quiet and quiescent. She knows who she is. She is a person. And she is determined to free herself and all of her fellow dolls from this shining, dangerous prison they have found themselves in. Joining her is Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett), her handler in the Dollhouse and also her greatest ally. "We are lost," Echo states strongly. "But we are *not* gone." With that, "Dollhouse" takes off into one of the most mind-bending, shocking, and ultimately satisfying science-fiction sagas of this decade.
Taking its cues from "Alias," the second season of "Dollhouse" finds Echo and Paul pitting themselves against the insidious Rossum Corporation (the founder of the Dollhouse, taking its name from the creepy Eastern play "Rossum's Universal Robots"). This battle leads to some of the most shocking twists and reveals of the year, unveiling an insidious evil within the Dollhouse itself that shook the show to its foundations.
Not merely satisfied with the greater scheme, "Dollhouse" devoted itself to character development as well. In the fourth episode, "Belonging," lauded by critics and viewers alike as one of the most poignant television episodes of 2009, we learn Sierra's (Dichen Lachman) tragic and horrifying backstory, taking "Dollhouse" through one of its darkest episodes to find an unexpected and subtle beauty. The relationship between dolls Sierra and Victor (Enver Gjokaj) took on a deeply human quality as they remembered each other even beyond the wipes. Topher (Fran Kranz) had perhaps the most tragic story arc as he ultimately faced his hubris and assumed responsibility for the corruption of his technology.
Eliza Dushku produced an amazingly strong acting streak once Echo became her own person, switching between that which was Echo and that which was not with eerie ease. Indeed, Echo posed an interesting dilemma: if Caroline (Echo's original self) was not the heroine we had once envisioned, was it murder to erase Echo to make room for Caroline? Tahmoh Penikett again played a strong role as the remarkably tragic Paul Ballard, a man brought into the Dollhouse through illusion only to find that his own "real world" crumbled even easier than fantasy.
But Whedon again showed a remarkable ability to pick co-stars who at times outshine the leads. Olivia Williams played Adelle DeWitt, the iron-backed head of the LA Dollhouse, whose fearsome carnival ride of emotions as she was forced to see what she had allowed herself to become was amazing in its complexity, allowing Williams to showcase a fine-honed thespian spirit (and allowing her a delicious head-to-head confrontation with guest star Ray Wise as leader of a different Dollhouse). Fran Kranz brought Topher an amazing sensitivity that allowed us to care about his character as he was brought lower than any thought possible, while Amy Acker again turned a masterful role as the troubled and ultimately tragic doll Whiskey. Miracle Laurie, who portrayed the doll Madeline Costley, stole every scene she was in with her emotive eyes as she played out a Greek tragedy upon the screen, and Harry Lennix again proved that he was perhaps the most powerful actor in the stable as Boyd Langton. The discovery of Enver Gjokaj was a true miracle of "Dollhouse" as he switched between imprints with eerie ease, twice mimicking Fran Kranz's Topher with an accuracy so profound it was creepy.
In the end, "Dollhouse" raced toward a series finale that was terrifying in its complexity, with powerhouse episodes like "The Left Hand," a government conspiracy thriller, "Meet Jane Doe," which saw Echo cast out into the real world, "A Love Supreme," featuring the return of Alpha (Alan Tudyk) as the dolls turned on their masters, and "The Attic," where the horrors of the heart of the Dollhouse were brought to light. Ending "Getting Closer" with a hell of a plot twist that left viewers breathless, "The Hollow Men" (a wonderful allusion to the poem by TS Eliot stating "the world will end not with a bang, but with a whimper") brought the second season to a powerhouse conclusion with an episode so emotionally charged it hardly needed the heightened action sequences.
It is here, though, that Whedon left his greatest gift to viewers. In season one, when cancellation seemed certain, Whedon created an episode titled "Epitaph One," introducing viewers to new characters as the world was plunged ten years into the future where the Dollhouse technology had gone out of control, leaving the world in a horrifying apocalypse. It is here where season two ends, with "Epitaph Two: Return." "Return" was a masterful series finale, bringing the series to a close and providing a beautiful (albeit unexpected) ending to each and every character. It's a wonderful send off, as each season's first twelve episodes serve as a complete story arc, allowing future viewers on DVD to watch each set of twelve episodes and then the two "Epitaph" episodes as a sort of TV movie that brought the story to a masterful conclusion.
Featuring a cast of truly talented actors, "Dollhouse" reached new heights this season and provided some remarkable fan-favorite guest stars, featuring guest appearances from Jamie Bamber and Michael Hogan (each of "Battlestar Galactica" fame), Whedon-favorite Summer Glau (of "Firefly" and "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"), Patton Oswalt, Ray Wise, Alexis Denisof, Felicia Day, and returning roles from the ever-talented Reed Diamond, Miracle Laurie, Amy Acker, Alan Tudyk, and also three memorable cameos from one of the writers, Maurissa Tancharoen, as well as cameos from Dushku's real-world boyfriend Rick Fox, Olivia Williams' husband, and Dushku's older brother Nate.
What is "Dollhouse?" It was a remarkable show that plumbed the depths of human nature and didn't flinch from the darkness it found there, a wonderful addition to the world of science-fiction, and a showcase of the power of human will over the ominous sword of technology, truly earning its place as one of Joss Whedon's greater works.
Of course, all fans ask now is that they release a soundtrack, as the show followed Whedon's usual footprints and featured some truly amazing music.
"Dollhouse" : Season One - Four out of five stars.
"Dollhouse" : Season Two - Five out of five stars.
Also recommended: Angel, Battlestar Galactica, Alias, Tru Calling, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Underrated Series of All Time,
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I can sit here and sing praises about this show but in the end it still won't matter, it won't bring the show back. Bottom-line is that this show accomplished more than any other shows will in five seasons and they did it with only 26 episodes.
Season 2 is one of the finest, best written and planned out seasons seen on television in a long time. The main plot sees Echo (Eliza Dushku) with the ability to maintain her various imprints (personas) after the events of season one, and that further developed into her being able to access those imprints at will turning her into nothing short of a super hero with advanced skills as she plots to take down the dollhouse as well as it's evil founder - Rossam corporation.
As the season progresses, we learn not only of how Echo/ Caroline come to be in the dollhouse but were presented with back stories of Victor and Sierra. Each was given an entire episode where they took the lead away from Echo as the writers tied up loose ends and allowed for further character developments.
Characters like boss lady Adelle Dewitt as well as in-house genius programmer Topher Brink were given opportunities to develop as well in the midst of the massive main plot, as the earlier struggles between good and evil while the latter found love in another evil genius.
One important thing to know for casual viewers is that season 2 does take into account, in fact to a large extend the events that happened in the unaired 13th episode of season 1 "Epitaph One". It is evident that you watch that episode first before starting season 2, especially true for the series finale.
Flash forward scenes of the future in "Epitaph One" comes to play here in season 2, it is extremely interesting and intriguing to watch how those events come to be. Along with a trip to the infamous "attic", return of Alpha, Dr. Saunders, Mr. Dominic and Mellie as well as more disturbing tech and revelation had me hooked all season long.
I guess I'm thankful that we got a second season even though it makes the blow of losing the show so much more painful and harder. This show ended on a proper note (it is very important for me to say that as most cancelled shows don't), the ending was extremely satisfying, not only did they have a proper conclusion for the story arch in the present time line but they took the effort to conclude the events that happened in the future. My only regret is that the show didn't find its way to more audience as it is truly one of Joss Whedon's finest works.
This show will go down as one of the most underrated shows in television history.
I can't wait to own this season on DVD so I can watch it over again and again and again...
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another outstanding sci-fi series sent to an early death,
Much like Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles earlier in the year, 2009 sees another outstanding television series put to an untimely death. And both were on Fox. First, I have to admit I was not much of fan of Joss Whedon's other series (Buffy, Angel, and Firefly), but Dollhouse was nothing short of spectacular. It was a brilliant concept with intense, efficient writing and great character development. Another reviewer hit it on the head saying this show packed more in 26 total episodes than most series do over their lifetimes. Dollhouse is one of the great sci-fi shows of all time. It amazes me how much action, plot, intensity, and growth were packed into such a short series. It's one of the greatest shows that nobody watched. What a shame. And thus as usual we are left with plenty of vanilla shows about doctors, cops, and lawyers. If's a show is intelligent, creative, and original, it doesn't stand a chance.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'll say again,
I'll say again asI did in the season one comments... This show should have run many more seasons... Doors were opening everywhere... Joss is briliant as always.. Here in Ozz we are only up to the first apearence of Summer Glau... Now this is one girl that can be scary as all hell at any time... I Love her brilliant acting... Second only to top fav Eliza Dushku... It sure didnt take long for Summer to be snapped up when the NO-BRAINS in the corner office dropped Sara Conners... Now we have it again the NO-BRAINS have dropped Dollhouse.. DO THEY REALY HAVE A BRAIN IN THEIR STUPID HEADS... PROBABLY NOT and probably dropped Dollhouse for more reality T.V. crap, rubbish & garbage... God help us and thank Heavens I can still get a good book while I wait for another Dollhouse or Sara Conners to turn up... Unlike a lot of people I know where the off switch is when the reality crap is dished up...
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best show in a long while,
It's unfortuante this show didnt get the ratings it deserved which was mostly due to a poorly chosen timeslot on Fox's behalf. The plot was intriguing and the cast was exceptional. As the story of the Dollhouse and Russum Corp unfolded it took so many unexpected, but welcomed, twists and turns and given mnore time these revelations could have been fleshed out; but at least in being allowed to finish the second season, Joss Whedon was able to tie together loose ands and finish the tale of the Dollhouse. I'm eagerly anticipating season 2. As it stands Dollhouse will be another show cancelled that held the promise of turning from something really good into something great. Thanks, Fox...
50 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Season 2 wraps up loose ends,
While the final episode in the series, "Epitaph 2", addresses the events and issues raised in the final DVD episode of Season 1 ("Epitaph One"), many sacrifices to the show's artistic integrity had to (unfortunately) be made. This was the right choice for the show: to end with a plot that makes sense. But, it's likely that more seasons would have been required to flesh out this plot outline with a style, finesse, emotional impact, and insight that simply couldn't be done on this short timeline, certainly not with an eye toward care for the characters or themes we'd seen in the first season. For those who loved season 1, this season was certainly entertaining, but the visions for potential greatness you may have had for season 2 are unlikely to be borne out. (That being said, there were small moments that were incredible - anything involving Amy Acker in the beginning of the season, for example!) The pacing of this season was reminiscent of the final season of ALIAS - hurried and plot-driven. I'm glad that the season was made to wrap up loose ends, but the heart of this series will always remain with the second half of Season 1.
Note: this review is for the show itself, will update review to include product specifics once it is released.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most UNDERRATED television shows & better than Season 1,
This review is from: Dollhouse: Season 2 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Whedon made the conceivable plausible with this Sci-fi action series. While Season 1 did seem to get a little redundant, thanks I hear to the Fox Execs micromanaging the series, in Season 2, Whedon was given full reign and the story took off and grew from there. The conspiracy at the end (prior to the futuristic episodes) and plot twist were very well done. Unfortunately, by the beginning of Season 2, many had already abandoned the show due to some of the redundancy of Season 1. And Fox, being INFAMOUS for cancelling GREAT science fiction shows on Friday (ex. Firefly, Sarah Connor Chronicles, etc.) of course did what they do... move a show geared towards 20 & 30 Somethings to Friday primetime (when MOST 20 & 30 somethings are away from home) and then cancel the show. With the invention & popularity of the Tivo, LIVE viewership numbers are outdated and an unrealistic tally of actual viewers. Anyway, it was sad to see the show get hacked up at the end. It seemed like the last few episodes, after the cancellation announcement were incoherent & edited out of sequence or they just tried to cram too much in to finish up the concept or something along those lines. I'm sure that we have FOX to blame for that too. Well, I'm hoping for a missing episode or 2 and some extras to explain the disfunctionality at the very end of the season.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JOSS AND ELIZA = AWESOME,
LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS SHOW, the second season was amazing, so many things you wanted to know is revealed and most loose ends are tied up. I bought the entire series on Itunes and my friends can tell you I have watched each episode around 10X and I still plan to buy the actual season two dvd for all the features like commentary and deleted scenes.
Honestly if you didn't watch the series on tv pick it up now, It's so worth the buy.
It has a great cast that is very talented, it has quirky joss humor and Eliza actually shines especially in the episodes her character isn't on an engagement.
Olivia Williams character shows an even more devious evil side and even deals with alcoholism and finds a way to come above it and become the leader in the fight against rossum.
Fran aka Topher plays the quirky science guy and this season he finds love has his heartbroken and he goes insane, can you ask for anything else to see in one season of a show I THINK NOT XD
Enver as victor really just blows you away when he plays topher a fellow cast member and does an amazing job even mimicking his voice and mannerism and plays the best serial killer psycho.
Dichen character Sierra gets her back story revealed and how an obsessive Doctor seen in season one makes her his personal doll and she gets her revenge and gets her personal power back
Alpha is awesome this season, he redeems himself after the omega episode and becomes funny yet devious and even reforms.
Eliza: Her acting in the second season is just amazing, she really shows her chops this season now that her character is self aware and becomes a real person outside of caroline. You even learn about caroline and she is a very likable character many were not sure from the first season because their was only minor tid bits.
The story moves fairly fast but it's a good pace and you get to see that amazing apocalyptic future from epitaph one and THE ATTIC IS REVEALED and it is as weird and creepy as I had hoped.
There is an entire episode that resides in the ominous attic and seems almost like a dark alice in wonderland.
Joss Whedon once again creates and amazing show that just is not advertised correctly. Fox made those commercials that told you nothing about this show so any didn't grasp what it was about so give it a chance You won't regret it.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a Joss Fan, But this show is one of the best ever.,
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I stumbled on this show by accident at a relatives house, probably at the 10th to last episode of season 2. So I have the fortune of being able to rediscover this from the beggining. Why is my opinion worthwhile? Because I didn't get into Angel or Firefly and sorta seen a few Buffy episodes.
This show gives me everything I could hope for. A Sophian messianic myth, for starters. It brings up questions about identity, ego, and freewill, and doesn't assume the audience is going to accept the dogma of these concepts as we have been conditioned, but puts them all into question (as I do). An action series with a psycho-philosophical basis.
It might kill a protagonist, and won't insult us by bringing them back from the dead. The constant plot shifts are sublime. I have to put this show up there with the original "The Prisoner", as one of the best TV series ever done. I like them short and sweet too, like "Wonderfalls" and "Meadowlands" that had perfect endings.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A show worth buying!,
Dollhouse was one of the best new sci-fi shows. A great premise, terrific writing, and a great cast, how can a show as great as this get canceled? I can only believe it's because sci-fi fans didn't find it in time, which means poor marketing. It is worlds better than the sci-fi shows that are being renewed.Ever wonder if they don't do as much publicity for the good shows because they expect word of mouth to save them, while with the bad or mediocre shows all you get is advertising? I think this is why the better shows get canceled and we're left with the others.
So, we only have 2 seasons but they are 2 great seasons.
The only negative comment I have about it is that 2 seasons weren't enough.
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Dollhouse: Season 2 [Blu-ray] by Eliza Dushku (Blu-ray - 2010)