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on 16 February 2013
"I'm a scary, depressive fellow," said Joss Whedon. "There's no meaning to life. That's kind of depressing. There's no God. That's a bummer, too."

Joss's latest slice of scariness imagines a wicked corporation that turns people into endlessly reprogrammable organic robots - a lover, a mother, a thief, a detective...whatever the customer wants. Like Buffy and Angel before it, the series begins a little uncertainly. There are several episodes about prostitution which I feel come dangerously close to being meretricious, and others which are cruel in the extremity of their physical or psychological violence. Soon, though, the prospect of imminent cancellation seems to concentrate the writers' minds wonderfully, and the second season gives us a helter skelter thriller that twists and turns its way to an entirely satisfying conclusion.

The tone of the show is broadly similar to that of Joss's earlier TV productions, if perhaps just a touch bleaker. There's plenty of laugh-out-loud humour leavening the drama, but not a great deal of the kind of warmth we got from dear old Xander or Willow. By the final episode of the twenty-six, though, the series becomes a worthy successor to the Vampire Slayer's - another inspiring tribute to heroic altruism in a world tortured by evil powers.

Eliza Dushku is very much the star of Dollhouse, but never to the exclusion of her admirable colleagues, The cast includes such familiar Whedonverse favourites as Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Summer Glau, Felicia Day and a brilliant Alan Tudyk, as well as several alumni of 24 and Battlestar Galactica. The production values of the show are almost cinematic in their glossy luxury - this is one show that demands to be watched on Blu-ray rather than DVD. (Better than average extras include an unaired pilot, interesting behind the scenes featurettes and an amusing chat involving Joss and many of his colleagues.)

In sum, then, if you can tolerate a fair amount of sex and violence, you'll be rewarded with a clever, inventive, witty, ambitious comedy-drama with a wholesomely affirmative message at its heart. No fan of Joss's earlier work need hesitate.
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on 23 March 2011
Dollhouse is a near-future SF tv series, featuring Eliza Dushku as Echo, a woman working for the secretive "Dollhouse" who has voluntarily had her personality wiped in order to be imprinted with any mind and skills a client requires. While initially very episodic, a longer plotline slowly emerges as the more disturbing aspects of this technology and the Dollhouse emerges.

This series comes from the mind of Joss Whedon, responsible for Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. Like Firefly, Dollhouse was cancelled ignominiously in its second season, so be warned that you will not get the full story Whedon planned to write. Whedon has a real genius for producing brilliant genre TV that delights fans but doesn't make it as a mainstream show, and the tension between his desire to tell a big story, while not alienating casual viewers, shows in the early episodes, which see Echo sent off on unrelated assignments.

Echo's assignments range from the obvious seductions to less obvious tasks such as bodyguard and safe-cracker. As time goes on, we see her blank state slowly becoming not so blank. An outside element is provided by FBI agent Ballard, who is investigating the Dollhouse, and becomes obsessed with locating Echo and finding why she would enter the Dollhouse.

One of the strange aspects of watching Dollhouse is that each week Eliza Dushku is required to be a different person. While Dushku is a Whedon favourite, having played Faith in Buffy, and she certainly acts her heart out at times, there's always the sneaking suspicion that she's not quite as good as she needs to be. For example, Dichen Lachman as Sierra is probably a better actress, and her storyline with Victor is in some ways more interesting.

Once the first season gets into its stride it deals with rogue agent Alpha, whose eventual return causes chaos, and the ongoing investigation of Ballard. Slowly building along with this are the big questions of what the corporation behind the Dollhouse really want, what could be done with this technology, and how the apparently-wiped minds slowly find a personality. Season two attempts to kick into high gear, and throws some more radical changes into the mix, including glimpses of the eventual result of the Dollhouse technology, but ultimately couldn't avoid cancellation.

Dollhouse has some excellent secondary characters, and tries to create an ensemble despite Dushku being very much the face of the show. Characters such as Topher, DeWitt, Langton, and Dr Saunders are brilliantly drawn, and the dialogue sparkles. As ever with a Whedon product, the characters draw you in and make you wish you could watch them again and again.

Ultimately Dollhouse is a brave but failed attempt to create something a little different, and provoke some real thought, in a genre that sometime gets too bland. It's well worth watching, but doesn't give the full story its vision deserved.
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on 18 November 2010
I'll admit it - the first episodes of Dollhouse didn't have me convinced. Disappointment that the collaboration of Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku (surprisingly unconvincing and rather dull) I wasn't quite sure I wanted to continue to watch.

But then came the episode "Man on the street" and I glimpsed what Dollhouse could really be. I got hooked. The rest of season 1 is an entertaining ride carried on an interesting concept with so many loveable characters that you're not sure who is your favorite.
Topher Brink (Fran Kranz) and Adelle DeWitt (Olivia Williams) are two of Whedon's best ever crafted characters. Brink's journey through the show is as endearing as it is heartbreaking and Adelle is a fascinating woman through and through who steals the show no matter what scene she is in or how small the part is.

Mr. Dominic, Boyd, Dr. Saunders, Viktor, Sierra... other highly interesting and somewhat under-used characters that should have been given more room to play (why were the credits soley dedicated to Dushku? We understand that she is the star without it being shoved down our throats at each turn).
Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Pennikett) is an interesting character and his journey too is one that fascinates as it goes along although Paul takes some getting used to. Sadly his interest in Echo (Duskhu's character ) is unconvincing and the story never gets a push because the chemistry between them is flat as cardboard.

It is the final three episodes that gives Dollhouse that edge you've been waiting for. "Briar Rose", "Omega" and "Epitath one" (Yay Zac Ward) are all sheer brilliance and it leaves you craving for more. (Big shout out for Alan Tudyk's fantastic acting during the first two of these)

Season 2 moves along at a more rapid pace and the show has really grown stronger as a whole. It will have you hooked taking you from an "interesting concept" phase, to "fascinating thrilling to watch" and all the way to "deeply unsettling" as the world of the Dollhouse technology and its possibilities really start to become clear.

Somehow Dushku and Pennikett found some kind of spark because the Echo/Paul connection seems more believable (if still somewhat overrated).
Everybody shines in this season Dushku is brilliant(even pulling of some cheesy stinker lines with gusto) and Enver Gjokaj there isn't enough good things to say about. He is one of the best thing this show had going for it.

All in all Dollhouse is more than it's first few episodes (they really aren't that bad, they're just not all they could be) and sticking with it will leave you burning with a fervor for more. It is one of the most interesting concepts I have ever seen presented and one that feeds discussion in the plenty, (and has one truly bizarre but very enjoyable ending).

(Ps. The show has an amazing soundtrack. "Remains" by Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon is magic)
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on 18 December 2012
If you want a review of the show itself please read one of the other reviews here on Amazon as they give you a pretty broad spectrum of opinion on the show. Personally, I loved it first time around and bought the DVDs as they were released.

But, this review is for the Blu-ray release. Why did I buy the blu-ray? For two reasons really - it was cheap (on a rival site) and I really loved the show.

Was it worth the double dip? Absolutely!! The picture and sound upgrade is amazing - everything you should expect from a blu-ray release.

Region A & B.

Season 1:
Audio: English DTS-HD Master 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish.
Special Features - same as DVD release.

Season 2:
Audio: English DTS-HD Master 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Commentary.
Special Features - same as DVD release.

Re-watching this show is ALMOST as good as the first time around. Obviously, some of the plot twists lose their intensity upon second viewing. But, Joss Whedon's vision and his creative team are so good at what they do, the show never falters in its entertainment value.

So, anyone considering upgrading to the Blu-ray version can rest assured that they will be pleased with the purchase.
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on 25 March 2016
I really loved this series when it was on Netflix - now it's gone I've missed it and I had to purchase it for myself. It deals with some very uncomfortable issues in an entertaining way. As a survivor of abuse I found that I related to echo's character in a way that has not been achieved before or since. Producers love to show the gory details of abuse but never want to touch the emotional aspects, the real damage that happens and even though this is a horror/action/sci-fi series I think it deals with the emotional aspects really well. The moral ambiguity may be disturbing initially but becomes clearer as the series progresses.

I wish the show had continued beyond the 2 seasons, though. [Spoiler Alert] I would have liked to have seen the series explore Echo and Sam Jennings relationship (from "Echoes") from inside the dollhouse. I think that would have been pretty interesting. I would have also liked to see the relationship between Echo and Caroline develop more fully, the 2nd season didn't get a chance to really go into this, Caroline was reunited and that was it, on to the next scene - we didn't get to see how she integrated back which I think would have been interesting also. [End Spoiler]

The series has quite a bit of violence and a little gore at times. Mainly shootings, there is one scalpel scene and a few other gory scenes. There are not many sex scenes and they are pretty mild - they could be considered sexual violence (and so they should) however they are not visually disturbing in that way.
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on 8 August 2012
Season 1

Audio: English 5.1
Subtitles: Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, English for the hairing impaired

Disc 1
1x01 Ghost
1x02 The Target
1x03 Stage Fright
1x04 Gray Hour
Audio commentary on Ghost with Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku

Disc 2
1x05 True Believer
1x06 Man On The Street
1x07 Echoes
1x08 Needs
Audio commentary on Man On The Street with Joss Whedon

Disc 3
1x09 A Spy In The House Of Love
1x10 Haunted
1x11 Briar Rose
1x12 Omega

Disc 4
1x13 Epitaph One
Audio commentary on Epitaph One with Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen
1x00 Original Unaired Pilot "Echo"
Deleted Scenes
Making Dollhouse Feauturette
Coming Home Feauturette
Finding Echo Feauturette
Designing The Perfect Dollhouse Feauturette
A Private engagement Feauturette

Season 2

Audio: English 5.1
Subtitles: Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, English for the hairing impaired

Disc 1
2x01 Vows
2x02 Instinct
2x03 Belle Chose
Audio commentary on Vows with Joss Whedon

Disc 2
2x04 Belonging
2x05 The Public Eye
2x06 The Left Hand
2x07 Meet Jane Doe
Audio commentary on Belonging with Joss Whedon And Maurissa Tancharoen

Disc 3
2x08 A Love Supreme
2x09 Stop-Loss
2x10 The Attic
2x11 Getting Closer

Disc 4
2x12 The Hollow Men
2x13 Epitaph Two: Return
Deleted Scenes
Defining Moments Feauturette
Looking Back Feauturette
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on 25 August 2014
A must have for any Whedon fan. This sits next to my Firefly and Serenity collection.

Dollhouse is an amazing series. Like with Firefly, I sometimes wonder how it would have played out, has Joss been given the proper time and freedom to explore the vision. That being said, I am happy to add this short but brilliant series to my collection.
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on 24 July 2013
this is a hidden gem. takes a few episodes to get into its stride, but is a great ride. Joss Weadon has done a great job, puling together many of his favourite actors from projects past. A well written story that evolved in unexpected ways.
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on 4 March 2011
Great price, and it works on Australian bluray players. And seeing as though Australia has no release yet of the dvd or bluray this is the best way to get it in the Australian B region, in one handy pack. Only seen the 1st disc and already i'm hooked. Unfortunately it doesn't come with the Epitaph comic like i had hoped. Basically it's a comic that bridges the gap between certain parts of the main show and the final episodes of both seasons (which are both set in the future).

This includes the best of what i love about Joss Whedon shows, namely the exploring of human nature, questioning the existance of souls and what does it mean to be human.... think that, meets the Matrix.

The look of the show actualy feels a lot like Whedon's last 2 outings on television, a mix of Firefly's eastern feel mixed with Wolfram and Hart offices from the final Angel season.

You'll end up falling in love with the characters, especialy that most amoral ones due to a certain kind of charm they have.

It's yet another Joss show that got canned before its time but hey, did that stop you from watching episodes of Firefly over and over and over and they never seemed to get old? Well there's even more of Dollhouse. And the story seeps out slowly, with hints and promises of big things to come, sneaking out clues like an episode of Lost.

Also, it's great value for money. Buying the 2 seasons seperately would have been way over my budget. It cost me about $60 Australian, and that's for BLURAYS, not DVDs. So yeah, bargain!

But yeah, only 4 stars because i know the story will end before its time and there's no Epitaph comic, otherwise it'd be 5 stars baby.
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on 7 October 2015
It was a crime that this series got cut short. There's no excuse other than that the network were idiots that chose reality TV over it I think. Dollhouse is fantastic, it really digs deep into these ethical and philosophical questions - like are we who we are just because we remember? Eliza Dushku makes a great leading lady of a great cast.
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