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PHOTOGRAPHY

Joss Whedon’s DOLLHOUSE Season One

DVD Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS:   641 minutes, unaired pilot, unaired episode, three audio commentaries, deleted scenes, five featurettes

VIDEO:  1.78:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

AUDIO:  English 5.1 Dolby Surround

Subtitles:  English, French, Portuguese, Spanish

 

STUDIO:  20th Century Fox Television/ Mutant Enemy/ FOX/ 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

RELEASE DATE:  7-28-2009

 

DISC 1-  GHOST/ THE TARGET/ STAGE FRIGHT/ GRAY HOUR

DISC 2-  TRUE BELIEVER/ MAN ON THE STREET/ ECHOES/ NEEDS

DISC 3-  A SPY IN THE HOUSE OF LOVE/ HAUNTED/ BRIAR ROSE/ OMEGA

DISC 4-  EPITAPH ONE (unaired episode)/ ECHO (original unaired pilot)/ deleted scenes/ five featurettes

DOLLHOUSE came about because Eliza Dushku wanted Joss Whedon to create a series for her.   She bought him lunch and he came up with an idea within two hours.  DOLLHOUSE is the series at first I didn’t care about.  I tuned out quick only to come back to check it out again at the end of season one which had a very strong two part season finale.  Now the whole first season is on DVD and I sat down to watch every single episode to find a very multi-layered and well-written series.  I do think the original pilot (ECHO) is better than the second pilot (GHOST).  Maybe it is due to the fact I love diving into the mythology right away.  Then the episode that never aired at the end of season one, EPITAPH ONE, is one of the better episodes as it gives shows where everything could be leading to about 10 years into the future.

 

DOLLHOUSE follows the adventures of an Active named Echo and the people who run and live at the Dollhouse.  Echo was Caroline, but Caroline signed away her body for five years to become anyone that any person needs.  At the end of each mission or engagement (as the Dollhouse calls them), her mind is wiped and a new imprint is loaded before each engagement.  Echo can be your girlfriend, a backup signer, a neogiator, and more.  Hot on the trail is an FBI Agent looking to find and expose the Dollhouse.   The head of the Dollhouse knows, she tries to throw him off and keep an eye on him.   Some episodes of DOLLHOUSE deal with the mythology of the place and the history of the place.   The people who work there fear an active called Alpha who escaped after killing some people and scarring Dr. Saunders (Amy Acker) .  Alpha has his sights set on Echo and he is making himself known to the Dollhouse again.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Three audio commentaries were recorded for the set-

GHOST with Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku

MAN ON THE STREET with Joss Whedon

EPITAPH ONE with Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen (Whedon)

The audio commentary for EPITAPH ONE reveals how quick the shoot was and that it was a guerilla shoot.

 

Thirty minutes of deleted scenes feature small bits from various episodes and new scenes shot for the original pilot (and never used) in addition to more of a role for November and Sierra in OMEGA.

 

Five featurettes round out the extras for disc four-

MAKING DOLLHOUSE goes behind the genesis of the series, shooting the original pilot, throwing it out to shoot a new pilot, casting, and how EPITAPH ONE came about.

FINDING ECHO- Eliza Dushku and Joss Whedon talk about Echo, the series, and Dushku’s involvement in the show as a producer (and how Echo allows Dushku to play different roles).

COMING HOME- a look at the cast and crew of DOLLHOUSE who worked on previous TV shows with Joss Whedon

DESIGNING THE PERFECT DOLLHOUSE- Joss Whedon gives a  tour of the Dollhouse set as he explains the production design.

A PRIVATE ENGAGEMENT- cast and crew reveal what skills they would have imprinted, how they wouldn’t want to be a doll, and joke around that Joss Whedon is a doll/ Active.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  DOLLHOUSE is a series I’m glad I gave a second chance on.  The DVD set has solid behind-the-scenes featurettes and two fantastic unaired episodes.

 

This DVD review is (c)8-4-2009 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.   No dolls were interviewed for the writing of this review and the writer doesn’t know where the Dollhouse is.  Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com