Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cautiously Optimistic

This is not the type of writing I'm supposed to be doing right now (where's that cup of coffee?). Damn you, tangents! But I was so cautiously optimistic after recent episodes of the only two shows I watch regularly that I can't begin to write a note of music until I've taken a second (and hopefully it will truly only be a second) to opine about this past week's Dollhouse and Heroes viewings.



In it's third episode, I can say I'm still only watching this show out of my innate Cancer loyalty to Joss Whedon. After hearing Joss speak about "strong, female characters" at an Equality Now benefit and then meeting him after the speech were he graciously signed a first issue of "Astonishing X-Men," I can say I will be loyal to Joss for life and will give any creation of his as many chances as needed. And while I must admit to disappointment regarding the first two episodes of his latest show, last week's third episode, "Stage Fright," gave me to pause to hope.

Here's what I liked:

1. A more interesting plot line. Having Echo as a protector of a pop singer without being conscious of her bodyguard role was more engaging than the previous psycho date and kidnapping stories.

2. The emergence of male doll. We've seen men wandering aimlessly around the dollhouse in various wide angle shots, but now we have a main character as one as revealed in a nice little twist. This should quell the criticism that the dollhouse concept is misogynist. Now both women and men are being pimped out. Equality now!

3. Finally seeing Eliza kick a little ass! Prior to the first episode, I had misunderstood the show's concept. For some reason I had expected the doll's mind wiping and reprogramming as part of a government operation with the intent of using the dolls for spying, assassinations, etc. a la Alias. So I was disappointed with the distinct lack of action of the Buffy/Sydney Bristow vein. But this episode gave me that little bit of kick ass that I wanted from the show.

4. Echo's thinking outside of her programed mind. If I buy the idea that minds and personalities can be programmed, then it make more sense to me that if a doll was going to break the programming it would be through unintentional use of the personality given to her, as was Echo's unorthodox solution to the problem given to her. This sits better with me than the occasional memory resurfacing as a hallucination as in "The Target."

Overall, I still do not rate this show very high... yet. I could expand upon the things I dislike in the show but I will refrain as I am trying to be optimistic (and really need to get back to composing). I will say that I am taking this past episode as a sign of good things to come. If this episode had been the pilot, I think the show would have more support. While each episode is basically a one off, I understand that a larger arc will emerge showing Echo becoming aware of the mind wiping situation. This could get very interesting and I hope Fox and it's viewers will give Whedon enough time to see his genius ripen in this show.


Again with the loyalty. I started watching Heroes after giving into peer pressure half-way through the first season, caught up quickly thanks to NBC keeping all episodes online, and while I originally abhorred the idea of a "superhero TV show sans capes," I was converted and have been a faithful fan since. I rode out the overly dramatic 2nd season and allowed the writer's strike to be the excuse for a less than stellar season. This past third season I've felt there was improvement, but it was not until last night's episode "Exposed" that I felt we finally had a show of the caliber of the first season.

Here's what I liked:

1. Multiple plot lines. I know many criticize that there are too many subplot lines happening and that may be, but I really hate not seeing at least a little snip bit of each character in each episode. Last night we saw all story lines except Hiro and Ando, which satisfied my need to know what was going on (I'll just assume Hiro and Ando spent the day in plane flying back from India!). While we didn't see Suresh, Daphne, or Tracy, we at least know where they are so there's nothing to wonder about.

2. Mommy/Daughterness. I've liked Sandra Bennet so much more since they stopped wiping her memory and was glad to see her in a proactive role. Plus its nice to see non-heroes in on the action. I'm hoping this new bond will allow Claire to mature and thus be a little less annoying.

3. The annoying characters were less annoying. Not only was Claire less whiny, but the Petrelli brothers kept their self-righteous savior complexes in cheque. I also liked Peter going in for the hug but stealing back Nathan's flying ability before taking off.

4. Peter and Matt's tag team mind reading. Yes, it was incredibly cheesy to see first one then the other turn their head to the side and give intense looks but I have to think the creators knew this and decided to embrace the inevitable Velveeta effect and just role with it. It made me laugh and so I liked it.

5. Rebel's continuing interaction. PLEASE let Rebel be Micah! PLEASE let Rebel be Micah! PLEASE let Rebel be Micah!

I know there are more things (I shoulda taken notes!) but I walked away from the episode thinking Hallelujah! The Heroes I know and love it back! Lets hope they don't f*ck it up again!

And on that note, I shall spellcheck, post, and return to Sibelius, happy with the hope that if these creative ventures can improve, then maybe so can mine! ;)

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