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Dollhouse: Season One [Blu-ray] by Various Directors
Review by Charles Mohapel
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment Blu-ray  ISBN/ITEM#: B0024FAR6G
Date: 24 August 2009 List Price $69.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / IMDB.com / Show Official Info /

Having been a big fan of Joss Whedon's work from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel to Firefly and Serenity, I was eager to see if Dollhouse lived up to his lofty standards. What I found was something completely different from these three previous TV shows and Serenity, the movie based on Firefly.

Through the course of Season 1, I saw that Whedon's choice of casting people who have worked for him previously has continued as both Eliza Dushku and Amy Acker were series regulars, while Alan Tudyk, Mark Sheppard, and Felicia Day all made guest appearances.

Creator:
Joss Whedon
Series Writing credits:
Joss Whedon (18 episodes, 2009)
Tracy Bellomo (13 episodes, 2009)
Andrew Chambliss (13 episodes, 2009)
Maurissa Tancharoen (10 episodes, 2009)
Jed Whedon (10 episodes, 2009)
Tim Minear (3 episodes, 2008-2009)
Elizabeth Craft (2 episodes, 2008-2009)
Sarah Fain (2 episodes, 2008-2009)
Jane Espenson (2 episodes, 2009)

Cast:
Harry Lennix ... Boyd Langton
Fran Kranz ... Topher Brink
Tahmoh Penikett ... Paul Ballard
Enver Gjokaj ... Victor / ...
Dichen Lachman ... Sierra
Olivia Williams ... Adelle DeWitt
Eliza Dushku ... Echo / Caroline
Amy Acker ... Dr. Claire Saunders / Whisky
Reed Diamond ... Laurence Dominic
Miracle Laurie ... Mellie / November

Disc 1:
Ghost (With Episode Commentary with Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku ON/OFF)
CM: While the very idea of Echo as a seasoned hostage negotiator seems a bit farfetched on first glance, remembering that a certain amount of suspension of disbelief is required and Ghost showed me a good amount of promise and made me want to give it a fair shot. The episode commentary with Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku was filled with the kind of light-hearted banter of two friends and longtime co-workers.

The Target
CM: I liked this episode because here you see that Echo has a steel core beneath the Active (Doll) persona.

Stage Fright
CM:Who knew that Eliza Dushku could sing and dance like that?

Gray Hour
CM: While the idea of Echo as a master thief at her young age is a stretch of the imagination, Eliza Dushku pulled it off reasonably well. Fans of Stargate SG-1 will recognize Tony Amendola who played Master Bra'tac as a guest star.

True Believer
CM: True Believer was definitely not one of my favorite episodes since I feel that the "whacko cult" plotline has been beaten to death.

Disc 2:
Man on the Street (Episode Commentary by Joss Whedon ON/OFF)
CM: Joss Whedon talks about the difficulties they had funding the series and the first five episodes were written as standalone episodes. Listening to him talking about the inner workings of the show was a very pleasant change of pace.

Echoes
CM: In this story about N2316, a stolen experimental memory drug, we finally find out how Caroline the sociopolitical activist student became Echo the Doll.

Needs
CM: We discover that most of the Actives exposed to N2316 have developed glitches and Echo, Victor, Sierra, Mellie/November, and Mike mysteriously awaken with them aware of their identities, but not their memories. With the help of Dr. Saunders, they prepare to escape. But there's a twist.

Needs was one of my favorite episodes since it not only provides glimpses into the backstories of Victor, Sierra, Mellie/November, it also offers more possible plotlines than before.

A Spy in the House
CM: Seeing Echo as a convincing dominatrix was hilarious, especially when she gave Victor's handler Ramirez one lash across the back of the leg with her whip when Ramirez mocked Victor's regular client and her search for love. Who knew that a dominatrix could be such a romantic?

This was another one of my favorite episodes since it was filled with action, intrigue, and an unexpected spy in their midst.

Haunted
CM: Echo ends up serving as the "host" for a murdered woman who was a close friend of Adelle DeWitt and sets out to solve her own murder. This was quite enjoyable.

Disc 3:
Briar Rose
CM: While Echo helps a troubled young girl, Agent Ballard finally discovers the location of the Los Angeles Dollhouse and in his eagerness to break in recruits a man who designed the building - except that man is dead and the man Ballard finds is actually Alpha, the psychotic missing Active who kidnaps Echo.

Omega
CM: Having kidnapped Echo, Alpha imprints Caroline's old memories on another woman and tells "Catherine" why he's obsessed with her. As this is unfolding, Langton and DeWitt make Ballard an offer he can't refuse - join the security staff of the Dollhouse or have his mind wiped and be sent to "the Attic" indefinitely. Cornered by Langton and Ballard, Alpha escapes and is still on the loose.

Briar Rose and Omega comprised a two-parter where we see a flashback of the moment where Alpha snaps and while I didn't personally care for the story, I concede that it made for compelling viewing.

Epitaph One (Episode Commentary by Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen ON/OFF)
CM: Joss Whedon's brother Jed and Jed's wife Maurissa Tancharoen talk about how Epitaph One was made so that the studio had one more episode to make a salable DVD for the overseas market. Set 10 years in a post-Apocalyptic future, we see how the Dollhouse technology has fallen into the hands of the Chinese who have figured out a method of mindwiping nearly the entire population of the United States.

Special Features::
Original Unaired Pilot - Echo:
CM: I enjoyed watching Echo, the unaired pilot and don't really have an opinion one or the other on Fox's refusal to accept it in the first place. I am glad however to see that all the efforts of cast and crew did not go entirely to waste as a number of scenes made it into the twelve episodes that did air and it was interesting watching Echo and experiencing Hollywood's version of "deja vu".

Deleted Scenes
CM:Watching this selection of deleted scenes, I didn't feel any great degree of frustration at any of the scenes that were trimmed or cut out completely.

Making Dollhouse
Joss Whedon (Creator/Executive Producer), Eliza Dushku (Echo/Producer), Harry Lennix (Boyd Langton), Olivia Williams (Adelle DeWitt), Miracle Laurie (Mellie/November), Dichen Lachman (Sierra), Enver Gjokaj (Victor), Elizabeth Craft (Co-Executive Producer), Maurissa Tancharoen (Staff Writer), Jed Whedon (Staff Writer), Tim Minear (Consulting Producer), Andrew Chambliss (Staff Writer), Sarah Fain (Co-Executive Producer), Tahmoh Penikett (Paul Ballard), Alan Tudyk (Alpha), and Felicia Day (Mag) all talk about the show.

CM: Some parts were more interesting than others, but all gave you a peek behinds the scenes. Enjoyable.

Coming Back Home
Tim Minear (Angel/Firefly), Steven S. DeKnight (Buffy/Angel), Jane Espenson (Buffy/Angel/Firefly), Elizabeth Craft (Angel), Sarah Fain (Angel), Eliza Dushku (Buffy/Angel), Mike Massa (Buffy/Angel/Firefly/Dr. Horrible), Stuart Blatt (Angel), Shawna Trpcic (Angel/Firefly/Dr. Horrible), Kelly A. Manners (Buffy/Angel), Robert Nellans (Buffy/Angel), Ross Berryman (Angel), Tony Politis (Angel), Amy Acker (Angel), Alan Tudyk (Firefly/Serenity), Felicia Day (Buffy/Dr. Horrible)

CM: Here we see just how many of the people working on Dollhouse have worked with Joss Whedon before and how much they loved working with him, as well as first timers like Tahmoh Penikett, Olivia Williams. Lots of fun as you see the close familial working atmosphere. I wish it had lasted longer.

Finding Echo
CM: Joss Whedon (Creator/Executive Producer) and Eliza Dushku (Echo/Producer) speak about creating the character of Echo. Eliza talks about how she recruited Joss to work on the show her contract with Fox committed her to complete. Short but quite insightful.

Designing the Perfect Dollhouse
CM: Acting much like a big hyper kid, Joss Whedon (Creator/Executive Producer) takes us on a very entertaining tour of the Los Angeles Dollhouse.

A Private Engagement
CM: Tim Minear (Consulting Producer), Fran Kranz (Topher Brink), Harry Lennix (Boyd Langton), Joss Whedon (Creator/Executive Producer), Felicia Day (Mag), Elizabeth Craft (Co-Executive Producer), Sarah Fain (Co-Executive Producer), Olivia Williams (Adelle DeWitt), Enver Gjokaj (Victor), Dichen Lachman (Sierra), Tahmoh Penikett (Paul Ballard), Alan Tudyk (Alpha), Maurissa Tancharoen (Staff Writer), Jed Whedon (Staff Writer), Miracle Laurie (Mellie/November), Amy Acker (Dr. Saunders/Whiskey), Andrew Chambliss (Staff Writer), and Jane Espenson (Consulting Producer) share their thoughts, pro and con, on Dolls in an absolutely hilarious collection of sound bites.

Watching Dollhouse: Season One on Blu-ray was such an enjoyable experience that I can hardly wait for Season 2 to begin.

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