Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dollhouse Gets Demolished

My good buddy Newman dropped me a line the other day to inform me of the recent cancellation of Joss Whedon's latest TV show, Dollhouse. No doubt there are many, many Whedonites out there that are utterly grief-stricken at this decision, and I do understand their devotion. I share it, to some degree. I was frankly obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and to only a slightly lesser extent, Angel. Firefly was fantastic and was treated absolutely abysmally by Fox, which resulted in it being cancelled long before its time. I was then stunned that they successfully brought such a failed series to the big screen, and I thought the result was great.

Having said all that, I hated Dollhouse. Look, to succeed a TV series needs at least one of three qualities. It either needs viewers or it needs someone at the network with faith in the show. I think it's fair to say that Dollhouse never had enough viewers to support it, but it did have load of network support. Fox didn't want to be wrong on Whedon twice. So, what was missing? Well, it needed the ever elusive third quality; it had to be good.

From the first second I began watching it, I could never really get behind the ridiculous concept at the show's heart. The idea of brainwashed operatives made sense, but the injection of the prostitution angle fucked it all up. First off, all these clients are gazillionaires, right? Getting laid would not be difficult, nor would paying a woman to do whatever kinky-ass shit you're into. Yeah, yeah, I get that it's a luxury service, but I just thought that wouldn't it be cheaper and less risky to use an actual hooker rather than some brainwashed girl that has apparently been sold into slavery?

Remember the episode where a rich client's kid gets kidnapped? And he has them load up Echo to be the best hostage negotiator in the world? This guy, as shady as he is, is rich, right? Couldn't he HIRE the best negotiator, rather than letting a shady criminal enterprise turn a hooker into one? There was another ep where she was loaded up as a master thief to help rob a bank. So, let's get this straight: a group of thieves evidently paid a massive fee to obtain their own master thief Completely illogical. By the time she was solving crime as a backup singer to a diva I was convinced that the show was actually trying to make me fed up.

Then there was the lead. Look, I get why Dushku is a fan fave. She played a cool supporting character on a much better show. But, let's be honest, the role of Echo was a challenging role. I can say she surprised me in that she wasn't unwatchable, but a stronger actor should have made that into an incredible showcase, and Dushku was quite often the least interesting performer on the show. Not good.

So, Dollhouse goes the way of the dodo, and I have to say that it's no bad thing. It frees Whedon up to create something that really deserves the devotion he's earned.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Comic Observations: A Sgt. Rock and a Hard place (HA-HA!......pun)

For about as long as I can remember, there has been talk of a movie adaptation of the Sgt. Rock comic book. It's odd, because, aside from the justly legendary artwork by seminal Rock artist and comic book god Joe Kubert, I cannot recall a single solitary story detail from the series.

It's one of those series that everyone has a ton of nostalgia for, and has a great central character, but almost no one can recall any great story lines or really any sort of definitive take on the character. Sure, Kubert's art was incredible, and it was popular enough to debut in 1959, and continue regular appearances and his own series until 1989.

But, for some reason, he's always been a hot property in Hollywood. They've never been able to crack that particular nut, though, even with countless writers, producers and stars like Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger attached (back in the day when a freakishly muscled Austrian could realistically be expected to play an average American Joe in WWII - don't know if you recall, but the US Army wasn't exactly wild for Austrians during that time period).

Well, now they think they've solved it; take the whole thing into the future! Yep, apparently the one thing missing from their previous attempts were lasers (pew-pew)! Only Hollywood would attempt to adapt a popular property from another medium by changing almost everything that made it popular in the first place. Case in point: