Occasionally, we here at Nerds on Earth HQ like to point out things that we worry most of us may have missed. These Nerd Alert posts are designed to help you discover things that might have gotten lost in the shuffle of the massive amounts of pop culture out there in the world.
Today’s Nerd Alert is the the Joss Whedon led 2009-2010 television show Dollhouse.[divider]Nerd Alert: Why You Should Watch Dollhouse[/divider]
Dollhouse is built around this simple premise: a company has created a technology that allows them to essentially mind wipe individuals, implanting memories and skills that are then used to satisfy clients who pay massive amounts of money to for jobs. The show follows one such “Doll” based out of an LA “House”: Echo, portrayed by Elisha Dushku.
Why check out Dollhouse?
- The Whedon staples. It takes them awhile to get there but, like all good things Whedon, the series is built around a team. From Echo’s handler to her programmer, they form a team.
- The long play. The series wound up with only 27 episodes but it was a fascinating work in terms of how it takes one thread and weaves it over the course of a long haul. Plus it sets up some significant shifts and changes over the course of the series.
- Eliza Dushku came to fame by portraying the more vigilante vampire slayer Faith in the Buffy and Angel series. And it would be easy to make a joke about how they cast her because part of her job was to be a “blank” slate, meaning showing no emotions. But she does much more than that. In some ways, it reminds me of the work being done in the current series Orphan Black, where one actress portrays many different characters.
- A stellar supporting cast. In particular, I’d like to lift up Fran Kranz’s portrayal of the programmer Topher, Enver Gjokaj’s portrayal of Victor, and Dichen Lachman’s portrayal of Sierra. (Gjokaj is currently on the Agent Carter series and Lachman was a prime part of the second half of Agents of SHIELD this past season.) The whole cast is well put together. And because of the nature of different experiences being purchased, you get some interesting guest stars; my personal favorite is Patton Oswald.
- Whedon gaming the system. So ratings for the show were never great and at the end of season one, Whedon did an interesting thing: he showed us the future. There was an episode made called Epitaph One that was never aired. But it was put on itunes and many people purchased it. Using other actors, most notably Felicia Day of the Geek and Sundry youtube channel, it shows the future, set around 2019, when the technology of wiping people has become something that can happen to anyone remotely. It is a dark dystopian world that gets revisited at the end of the series. It seemed like a way to say “See? Don’t you want to know how we get to this?” and it really is great and worth the download.
So if you have never checked out Dollhouse, I recommend it. It is admittedly a slower start than you would hope with a great television show but it pays off if you can hang in there. It has the sci-fi high concept put into practical terms and poses some ethical dilemmas about technology that are interesting to explore in a fictional universe. I can’t recommend it enough!