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1) Monsters with freaky powers that get looked up in books.
2) Eerie haunted weapons that make up for the fact that someone's life is going to be threatened for the second half every issue.
3) A weird younger sister out of nowhere who is secretly a key.
4) Characters you care about.

I like Fred a lot, even now that her face has healed.

For a two-dimensional metaphor for human trafficking, Echo sure does get some implausibly intense adventuring going on.

I could go on. I just feel like the grand overarching plot that has been charted out for the next 100 episodes was what they spent most of their effort on, which makes it even less powerful that those arcs are being fed with glistening half-baked chunks of exposition that doesn't fit the single ep stories.

The first five minutes of episode 2 are enough to keep me following that story so I'll keep watching, despite a bland predictability that no series should run into after a mere three episodes.

Down with sameness. Up with monsters and haunted weapons.

Date: 2009-02-28 03:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It doesn't have a center, yet. The end of the ep tonight gave me hope, but it's hard to do anthology/monster-of-the-week when you don't have even the through-line of a central character, just a shell.

I do believe it will get better as it gathers momentum. Not sure enough people will keep watching that long, though.

Date: 2009-02-28 03:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
People not watching for long is what I didn't want to write about. Planning out 100 episodes of brilliant twisty turnies does no good if it gets cancelled after seven weeks.

And it's hard to do monster-of-the-week when there aren't any monsters. Some weird beastie that can glimmer in-between the dimensions of the imprinting and reality would help a lot.

Date: 2009-02-28 03:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
4) Characters you care about.

This more than anything.

Date: 2009-02-28 04:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I need Echo to be something and to want something. She can be crazy and want to eat a kayak in one sitting but I need something to feel forher own. X-files wants truth. Lost they want off the island (or to further understand the island and its consequences as it has evolved. Buffy wanted to protect her school and have a normal life. Kolchak wanted to get the big story and be believed.

The fact that Echo just wants to do what she's told and she has no idea why she wants that is going to be tough to sell. This week she had some range (even if it just came from her sort of being able to sing) but it's hard to tell these kinds of stories with a lead character who is a cipher with no memory. (Neil Gaiman, for example, has empty vessels who wander through weird landscapes and myths connecting the dots and documenting the fantasia. He makes it look easier to pull off than it is, most of the time, and I don't know if you can translate that to tv -- and Echo has no way to connect the dots, though I'm starting to sense that Dollhouse may have tricks up its sleeve. The bit on the official website that mentions classics of dystopian literature makes me think that the show may veer a bunch soon. If what I'm viewing as boring routine sameness is actually a set up for mind-blowing weirdness, I'll eat my words.

Date: 2009-02-28 04:32 am (UTC)
ext_7025: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
You forgot

5) Writers who can do dialogue.
6) Actors who can sell same.

I thought "Target" was much better than this week's edition. I griped about it bunches and I don't take a word of that back, but I had my teeth into it a little bit. This week? No there there. Felt like a whole freakin' hour of the show saying, "We know what we're doing here! Really! Really!" and me thinking, "...protesting too much."

The Victor character was kind of fun, I'll give them that. Which is good, because they squashed my interest in Sierra flat.

Date: 2009-02-28 04:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes. Having characters that weren't so lousy would make it easier to put words in their mouths and have people pretend to understand what they're saying and that's a two-way street. Good characterization makes it easier to act and write for, but good writing and good acting are what give characters. The show is in big trouble if prectable repetitive flatness is their most defining characteristic.

Dollhouse... Tune in to see how many times you will yawn as you are caught up in the gripping lack of character development... Fridays on Fox!

Date: 2009-02-28 04:44 am (UTC)
ext_7025: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
The show is in big trouble if prectable repetitive flatness is their most defining characteristic.

Heh. One of the things that's baffling me is actually the reverse--they keep talking about how Echo's development is strange! and wrong! and dangerous! but as far as I can tell based on what we've seen, refusing to return to perfect flatness is par for the course (Alpha, Echo, and now Sierra), so what's the big deal?

Problem: if we don't ever see the Dollhouse functioning as it's supposed to function, the malfunctions don't have much impact because to us, they're business as usual.

But of course, other problem: as you say, the functional Dollhouse isn't very interesting, either.

Date: 2009-02-28 05:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So true on the the malfunctions don't have much impact

I thought, wow, things went horribly wrong five times in three weeks and yet the detective is still so unable to find them that his appearing on the screen is useless.

You know what would be cool?

That detective spending the next ten years showing up on random shows for no reason and saying, "Dollhouse" really loud...but never actually getting any closer to the non-mystery than he currently is.

And talk about shorthand short cuts. Why does he matter? Because his neighbor likes him, that's why.

Date: 2009-02-28 05:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'd love to explain that to someone as we watched a tv show together.

Yeah, that guym he doesn't matter at all. It's like a gag for the trufans so they can know when do go do some chores for a little bit. It's always the same and never goes anywhere. He yells at people and then they glar at his neighbor but that's it.


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