You gotta have...Faith

The first episode was sterile. I kept waiting for the Whedonism but never saw it. Where's the snappy dialogue? The humor? The lovable characters? If I didn't know Joss Whedon was behind it, I'd have thought it was just another Fox attempt at soft sci-fi along the lines of Fringe.

I don't know if Eliza Dushku can pull off a role that requires becoming a new person each week. Then again, I don't think most actors can. Most actors just play themselves.

I've read in other places that the series borrows from Alias quite a bit but I think that's getting things backwards. Alias was one of many girl-power shows that spawned in reaction to Buffy the Vampire Slayer including Dark Angel, Veronica Mars, and Charmed. The similarities were obvious-- a hot young woman with amazing abilities has to save the world...literally. She has a small group of friends she can truly trust and an older male father-figure who watches over her and protects her. Over time, the violence takes its toll emotionally. Her mission hinders her attempts at romance. Etc.

The opening scene creeped me out a little bit. Echo was programmed to have a wild weekend with the Dollhouse client. In effect, she was programmed to have sex with the client, yet the programming is not taken voluntarily and consent cannot be given. At best, it was prostitution, and at worst, rape. This is a bit strange coming from someone who is all about female empowerment. Or maybe that's the point... that the Dollhouse is evil?

Best part? Blonde-haired asian chick who knows how to use a gun.

I don't know how long the series will last if the other episodes are as bland as the first. The first episode was different from the one originally planned to be the pilot, which sounds eerily similar to the inasspicious(*) start to Firefly, but apparently, this time it was Whedon's decision, not Fox's. It took me ten episodes to get into Buffy and about half as many to get into Angel. I was hooked on Firefly from the pilot, but had I watched it in the order it appeared on TV--with "The Train Job" shown first--I wouldn't have been impressed until "Shindig". So I'll continue to watch Dollhouse in hopes that it will get better.

* My attempt at self-referentialism, a Whedon trademark. See also: title of post.

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If that is the best part,

If that is the best part, then I am glad I didn't watch it.

Maybe it's just the light, but the bottom half of her face looks like it is poking forward. Weird.

The best part

The best part was seeing Amy Acker again, however briefly.

I haven't seen it yet, but

I haven't seen it yet, but it sounds like people might be asking for too much out of only one episode.

I heard Whedon say in an

I heard Whedon say in an interview that everything comes together in the sixth episode. I'll give it at least that long since this is a Whedon show. Otherwise I agree, I would pass on this show if I didn't know who was behind it.

I agree...

I was underwhelmed by the first episode. It felt to me like a pale imitation of (the much better, IMO) My Own Worst Enemy, which had much higher production values and a far more talented cast. Eliza Dushku is not now nor will she ever be anywhere near Christian Slater's league, and MOWE's supporting cast was tremendous. Indeed, I agree that Dushku lacks the acting chops for the role. But that's hardly surprising as her main talent appears to be looking good in skimpy clothing. (We are, after all, talking about someone who managed to be the least talented actor on a show that starred Sarah Michelle Gellar.)

Still, Whedon's genius for dialog allows him to create compelling characters even when his cast doesn't include A- (or in some cases even B-)list actors. So I remain optimistic that the show will improve. I'm less optimistic that it will get adequate time to do so.

I never watch series

I never watch series premieres of shows. My strategy, which has worked well thus far, is to wait until I hear buzz about a show. This usually takes a while, as I don't watch television often. When I finally start hearing about a show, I know it's been good enough to last a while. Typically, this happens by the time of the second or third season.

After I've heard the show's good, I rent the first season, get hooked and up to date, and then I'll actually start watching the new episodes on TV. This is how I've gotten into The Office, Always Sunny, Lost, and I, Claudius, and managed to avoid seeing a single episode of John from Cinicinatti. I recommend everyone try it -- but not everyone, because then no show would ever get picked up for a full season.

I happily watch premieres

I'll watch premieres of pretty much anything except certain shows that I strongly suspect I'm going to dislike. I'm willing to invest that much time in sampling shows. It suits my ADHD tendencies. There was no way I was going to not watch this one, even if everyone hated it. Especially if everyone hated it.

"Still, Whedon's genius for

"Still, Whedon's genius for dialog allows him to create compelling characters even when his cast doesn't include A- (or in some cases even B-)list actors. So I remain optimistic that the show will improve. I'm less optimistic that it will get adequate time to do so."

I watched the first 90 seconds on Hulu before I reflexively clicked one of my bookmarks. I'm sure that's not an adequate sample size, but it was truly horrible - foreshadowing set up completely by stilted expositional dialogue. If that's where Whedon's genius resides, I'm not holding my breath.

Should have been clearer...

foreshadowing set up completely by stilted expositional dialogue. If that's where Whedon's genius resides, I'm not holding my breath

As Jonathan said, there wasn't any of Whedon's usual genius for dialogue on display in the first episode. But watch a couple of episodes of Firefly or Buffy and you'll see what I'm talking about. That's why I'm optimistic that Dollhouse will get better. But there's no doubt that the first episode left a whole lot of room for improvement.

I wouldn't say horrible.

I wouldn't say horrible. Out of curiosity, I watched the first ten minutes, then slammed into some pretty clunky expository dialog. Something along the lines of: "Why not ask her? Oh, that's right--she can't remember" followed by a quote from Hamlet that didn't seem particularly apropos, and then some more naked exposition. Though to be honest, what I've watched of Buffy has had some clunky lines as well. I'm never quite sure if it's the fault of the actors or the writers. My guess is the former, as in Firefly none of the dialog falls as flat as it does here.

Though Dushku is, to her credit, insanely attractive. That blond-haired Asian is too leonine.

Shows

The rest of science fiction currently airing, that I've been watching.

Battlestar Galactica - Still living up to the ludicrously high expectations that it has set for itself so far.
Heroes - The story has been going around in circles, but it's still fun.
Fringe - The superscience in this is more Alias than X-Files. All the cool stuff was invented by one man. And the same man is around to unravel the mysteries, which is a bit too cozy. But it's fun.
Star Wars - Not a must-see, apparently aimed at kids, but better than just a kid's show.
Terminator - Not really going anywhere interesting, though I recall the season opener was good and there was one Rashomon-like episode which I was enthusiastic about.