Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Dollhouse, "Briar Rose"

The magnificent experiment that was Dollhouse was an example of a show whose parts sometimes hinted at how spectacular the whole could have been. Joss Whedon's series had a difficult premise (a secret organization that rented out mind-wiped "actives" to take on any personality a client desired), a star (Eliza Dushku) not quite versatile enough for the role's requirements, and a case of network jitters that for the first few episodes tried to turn the series into an action-adventure show it never really was. But halfway into its first season, a string of amazing episodes proved that this was a staggeringly ambitious, thought-provoking show about exploitation, identity and what it means to be a person. "Briar Rose," structured as a twisted version of a fairy tale, provided a fascinating glimpse into the origins and original sins of the "dollhouse." Season 2 will be the show's last, but Dollhouse failed better than most shows succeed.