…is freakin’ awesome. I just finished watching screeners of the first two episodes of Joss Whedon’s new show and if it keeps up the tone and pacing it’s set in these first two, it will be my favorite and I think the best thing Mr. Whedon has done yet.
Now, I am not a card carryin’ Whedon-head. I’ve never seen more than a dozen episodes of Buffy, and not in any particular order. That’s credibility lag #1. And it wasn’t until about half-way through the 2nd season of Angel that I got hooked*. About the time I realized that the bad guy was taking Angel’s infant son into the future where he would suffer torturous experiences that would eventually hone him into the man who would be Cable, er, I mean Conner. See that’s the thing I love so much about the admittedly limited amount of Whedon I’ve seen so far – I KNOW the guy read the same Chris Claremont X-men comics I did growing up and I know they had just as big an impact on him as they did on me. And by no means am I saying he’s ripping them off. No, quite the contrary. Joss’ stuff is totally original, with such strong voice and tone, that influence is not apparent on the surface.
But it’s there. It’s just there for others who have been impacted by the same stuff, like some great cerebral in-joke. So often creators mimic what they love or grew up with, but this is a case of Whedon absorbing and re-processing those influences – passing the creative energies on so to speak and giving us fan boys and girls something totally new.
I don’t want to say too much about Dollhouse yet, but it’s got a great, comic book like premise. Harry Lennix is fantastic, as is Eliza Dushku, who I’ve never really been too taken with before (kinda always reminds me of Michelle Rodriguez, or hate-fuck as we used to call her (Rod) when she was on Lost), no offense to her. But Dushku, by having a hand in producing this, has really stepped up to the plate – she is essentially going to be either showing off or stretching her acting skills on a weekly, and perhaps even moment by moment basis as a tabula raza who can be programmed to be anything anyone wants at any given time. The first episode lead right in with this, with Dushku starting out in quasi-Faith mode and then suddenly surprising the hell out of me by pulling a complete 180 and becoming someone much different and much more real and believable for the duration. The set up of the show reminds me a lot of Logan’s Weapon X abuse. It also especially reminds me of classic Uncanny X-Men 212 where ‘The Body Shop’ accepts Lady Yuriko’s submission in the name of her desire for revenge against Logan and turns her into Lady Deathstrike**.
I must say so far I am psyched for this show, and that’s the first time since Lost that I can say that about something that I’m seeing while it’s being broadcast. Now of course I just have to suffer through it week by week instead of plowing through season after season at hopelessly addicted high speed.
* Firefly I loved immediately
** My god I just pulled that issue number and Lady Deathstrike’s real name completely from memory on a lark after probably not even thinking about that issue for well over ten years. I’m not going to check their accuracy – if I’m wrong perhaps I’m not as big of a nerd as I suspect I might just be at this moment. If I’m right, well then, god help me.