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4.3 out of 5 stars
138
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(2 star). See all 138 reviews
on 2 May 2017
Not impressed. Acting good but not well written. Shockingly because of who wrote it
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on 10 July 2015
First, Eliza Dushku is not, by any standards, a very good actress (although gorgeous). Her appearances in the Buffy and Angel universe, playing a great character (Fatih), was always a little bit embarassing when she was confronted with the better actors around her (Sarah Michelle, Boreanaz, James Masters, Anthony Stewart Head, Alyson Hannigan).

Then, the show itself. Whedon fans will think everything he does is marvellous. But simply it is not. In this first season, there are some episodes that border on unwatchable (my favorite "worst" is episode number 7, "Echoes". Its 49 minutes seemes like two hours). The concept of the show itself is strange: basically, all characters are despicable. Even Echo's handler is evil. Why? Because everyone in his right mine must be intrinsically evil to work in a comapny like the Dollhouse. Heck, the Dollhouse business makes even Wolfram & Hart seem like children playing...

The genius guy, Topher, the handlers, Adelle (who coldly puts people in the Attic), everybody is obnoxious just for working for that kind of corporation. And that's exactly what FBI agent Paul Ballard, theoretically the strongest moral person of the show, believes but, tcham tcham tcham!! For the sake of shocking plot twist, and nothing more than that, he begins to work for the Dollhouse ath the end of the season...

Also, we have all the usual Whedon trademark talking, trademark alternative rock songs at the end of each episode, trademark photography, etc.. After some time, this gets boring.

How this show survived its first season is a miracle.
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VINE VOICEon 7 October 2011
Despite being a Joss Whedon fan I didn't watch Dollhouse when it originally came out because I was rather afraid - after seeing publicity material in which Eliza Dushku appeared scantily clad and pouting - that it was aimed at the 12-16 year old boy market. But I decided to invest in the series after reading the ecstatic reviews on Amazon. I suppose I was expecting the things that I would (until now) have expected from Joss Whedon - a story line handled with enough respect for the viewer's intelligence to allow me to suspend disbelief, great dialogue, believable characters with real relationships, a believable "alternate universe", and some thought provoking social/political/philosophical issues. Oh dear. I did not find these things.

Many reviewers have outlined the plot of series 1: Eliza Dushku plays a "doll", Echo, who can be "imprinted" with different personalities to meet the "needs"of clients. As the series develops we find out more about what led Echo to the Dollhouse, about her previous life as "Caroline", about the staff of the Dollhouse and their motivation, and about the Dollhouse's purpose and its relationship with the shadowy Rossum Corporation. As many reviewers have commented, the episodes change in nature rather after the first 5 or 6 episodes. There are some good things about this change - in particular, the fact that the episodes become significantly less salacious. (My original suspicion was confirmed: although obviously this is a mainstream TV series and without any explicit sexual contact or nudity, the first few episodes came across to me as coarsely salacious in a way that Joss Whedon's other series never have done.) Also Eliza Dushku's acting range becomes rather wider: but since she started off with just one expression, sultry pout, that really isn't saying very much.

My main objection is that the more we find out about the plot, and about the backstory, the more it becomes obvious that the story is just plain stupid. I mean "stupid" in the same way that a lot of big budget TV series are "stupid": childish, badly thought out, oh just ridiculous, because we at Fox assume all our viewers are dim and who cares about them anyway. The dialogue is awful. The characters are unbelievable. I notice that one reviewer commented that Adele de Witt (the manager of the House) and Topher Brink (the imprinting wizard) were particularly believable. I found them pathetic caricatures ("imprints", perhaps) of more successful characters in Buffy and Angel. And as for the last episode, Epitaph 1, a post-apocalyptic dystopia - well, I found myself cringing with embarrassment as more and more cliches and hammy dialogue were rolled out, culminating with the most ludicrous piece of hammy, melodramatic overacting from E Dushku.

Well, obviously lots of people love this and good for them. I wish I had done too. If you are thinking about buying it, my advice would be not to think about whether you like Firefly and Buffy and Angel, but to think about whether you like hugely successful US series like CSI and Lost and the later X files. I don't like those series, and I think they are the TV works that, in tone and level and spirit and in jaw dropping tedium, Dollhouse resembles.
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on 12 December 2014
A bit far fetched
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VINE VOICEon 1 December 2009
To paraphrase the music saying 'it's like punk never happened', Dollhouse is like The Wire or Battlestar Galactica or The Sopranos never existed; in fact, I'd go as far to say that it's the new Charlies Angels. In a bad 'let's all go back to the 70s', 'has nothing developed since then' kind of a way.

The premise is simple (but dressed up to look unnecessarily complex with more than a little borrowing from The Prisoner), each week Eliza Dushku finds herself (or not, if you consider the brainwashing premise of the series) undercover, sent by her agency to help out a different stranger in need. Only each time she's been implanted with the memories of a different (and dead) individual, like a bomb disposal or hostage expert, capable of handling the gig. However, this being a longstanding show in need of a sub-plot, things don't go as smoothly as her dastardly bosses would hope, and there's some kind of glitch in the system. Which, camp sub-plots aside, rather neatly delivers us back at those 70s/80s days of the formulaic series (such as the A Team, The Hulk, Knight Rider) that I'd swear the recent wave of top-end quality TV shows supposedly out-invented to the dustbin.

Having given in to the rash of 4-star reviews this first season generated, I did wonder whether I'd unwittingly been party to a Dollhouse-like brainwashing ploy myself, one intended to erase decent, high-end TV shows from the collective consciousness, and place us all back in older, easier times; because Dollhouse is so utterly artificial and lacking in any kind of genuine worth that it made my teeth tickle and gave me a sugar rush, followed by a bad chemical headache.

The set-ups are nothing short of stereotypical (pop star has stalker who just happens to look like an albino, and a cold, heartless manager who is, yup, English; or, daughter of Dad, who's too busy making money, gets kidnapped); the second-tier support characters so utterly cardboard they were clearly bought lock-stock from the Starksky & Hutch lot's closing down sale; and the whole thing has been over-lit to within an inch of its life, rendering the sets looking just like... well, sets.

Plot-wise, in order to fit, not only a new scenario but also inch along the shadowy goings on of the dollhouse each week, the narrative is so fast and without nuance you'd think it was actually written - and acted from the page - in shorthand. And the acting, well, lets just say there's more than a fair share of cheese; forget our times of moral ambiguity and characters that say much about real life by being both good and bad, because in Dollhouse land, bad guys are baddies in the true sense of the word, and stop just short of wearing capes and wandering around in mist.

Granted, Eliza Dushku is never less than appealing to the eye (even if she could clearly do with consuming some carbohydrates), but the one character plays many roles premise of Dollhouse is not the acting masterclass it could have been in the hands of someone with a decent range, leaving her desperately up a creek the studio forgot to give her the paddle for; a situation the makers choose to distract us from by providing a different cynical scenario each week requiring Ms Dushku to either take her top off or have a shower. However, being mainstream TV she always manages to walk behind a post or the camera tilts just at the last moment.

Clearly Dushku is a studio favourite (and I enjoyed Tru Calling, so I won't argue with that), as they are clearly still trying to develop her the kind of break-out mainstream success they think she deserves; but Dollhouse is so utterly average that no matter of sizeable budget or layering on of pseudo-mystery can disguise it as anything other than the threadbare - and highly cynical - teenage, and highly mainstream, fare it truly is.

Don't believe the hype. Unless you're 13 years old.
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on 8 March 2010
I tried this one because I really liked creator Joss Whedon's great sci-fi Western series, Firefly. There's a lot of extremely positive buzz about this guy. And as you can see a lot of fellow Amazon customers liked Dollhouse.

The concept had strong potential. But the execution didn't transcend normal TV. Since I'm looking for A list stuff, not just mindnumbing ways to burn time, this was disappointing.

Starting with the women. Since the central concept is stunning women fulfilling the ultimate fantasies of extremely rich men, I would just expect more exciting looking women. Hollywood is overflowing with them. Firefly had them. The Women of Dollhouse are just too underwhelming.

The nerd was annoying. I've seen many amusing or even dramatically effective nerds in movies and films. The nerd on this show was just irritating.

Again, conceptually some potentially strong material, but there was something about the production of this show which didn't rise above the typical dross.

Save your money. Try Sleeper Cell, Firefly, the first 3 seasons of Spooks, the Shield, the Wire or Damages if you're looking for top drawer viewing material.
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on 29 December 2009
The idea used as the basis of this series is original and interesting: however the script and screenplay was poor and third rate at times.

As far as i was concerned;there was a lack of belief in most of the characters, the acting and this was particularly so by the heroine, Eliza Dushku and her own character.

In addition, there was also very little to get excited about in regards to the series being engaging, thrilling or even entertaining. In my opinion, the series failed on all levels with the exception of having a novel idea. It started very slow and uninspiring, and in my opinion remained so for the vast majority of the whole series.

For me this was a very disappointing purchase.
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on 14 September 2009
Watched a couple of episodes, and yes, Eliza Dushku is all sexy & naughtly looking eye candy etc. so 2 stars for that. The premise of the story has an odd ring to it though... Anyone who is old enough like me (or geeky enough, again like me) to remember Joe 90 will get some odd deja vu. Different personalities is the crossing line here I suppose - Joe 90 had all the skills, experience etc. of other agents but kept his personality more or less... Try again Joss, Buffy & Astonishing XMen ruled but this is naught but a bit of loose homage. Looks like Alias in places a well but there we go.
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