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Musings on Joss Whedon & Dollhouse - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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January 22nd, 2010

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01:57 am - Musings on Joss Whedon & Dollhouse
I saw the finale (the next episode is an epilogue) to Dollhouse last week, and it had all of the standard Joss Whedon faults – the two most obvious being that every climax must not only include, but focus on a fist fight, and being a crazy psycho is the only motivation most Whedon villains require. Boyd was in a perfect position to be an interesting villain. Whedon (exceedingly ineptly) tried to make him a classic sociopath, but defaulted to incoherent nutcase. He would have made a wonderful sociopath – a charismatic liar who cares for absolutely nothing but what he can gain – in this case, power and safety. People only exist to be useful to him.

Alternately, Boyd could have been a character who honestly cared about his employees in a firm (and frighteningly) paternal sense, who offered everyone a chance to keep their loved ones safe, while he allowed his tech to start and apocalypse, and sold safety to a few dozen wealthy non-employees, and who punished disloyalty with death and cared little or nothing about everyone outside of the Dollhouse.

Or, he could have been a scary realist, who honestly believed that destroying the imprint tech would only delay others rediscovering it for a year or two at most, and since it was clear that this tech would be abused and would lead to horrors, why not make a profit and keep yourself safe.

Three interesting and different villains. Unfortunately , Whedon almost never manages to create interesting major villains. The mayor in Buffy Season 3 is the only one who comes to mind – more often you get nonsense like The First Evil, or The Master, or both Alpha & Boyd Langton.

That said, I did watch Dollhouse, it wasn’t unwatchable, and the 2nd season was considerably better than the first – in large part because they focused on the rest of the generally talented cast, rather than on Eliza Dushku’s exceedingly limited acting talents. For all my dismissal of Whedon, I keep watching his work, unlike Ronald D. Moore and David Eick (the talentless hacks who created the new Battlestar Galactica), after their work on that show, I have no interest in watching their new series Caprica – even if by some miracle it looks interesting at the start, it will clearly end in mindless idiocy. It’s sad but true that Whedon is very far from the worst person doing geek TV.
Current Mood: tiredtired

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:January 22nd, 2010 10:45 am (UTC)
Ya, I pretty much agree with all those things. I see people complaining about Whedon's work, and I'm like, "Ya, it's imperfect, but it's still better than the vast majority of TV." A part of me is still waiting for Web TV to really take off, to see the kinds of creativity and decent writing that might be able to exist outside of network television and manage to still be good on relatively low budgets.
[User Picture]
Date:January 22nd, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
I've largely given up on SFTV. It always disappoints after a few episodes. Maybe a decline in geek TV is a sign of health...
[User Picture]
Date:January 22nd, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
I've seen some excellent SFTV over the last decade, not much, but it does seem clear that it's considerably better than it was 20 years ago. OTOH, what that means is that a good show comes along once every couple of years, rather than (at most) once a decade.

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