Dollhouse: The End.

by on Jan.30, 2010, under television

Dollhouse was the anti-Battlestar Galactica.

Dollhouse couldn’t have been anything good as regular episodic TV, as evidenced by the mostly crappy starts to both of its short seasons, but it turned out pretty great once it began to ignore all of those requirements and focused on building a single, long plot arc culminating in a thoroughly satisfying finale. In fact, looking back from the finale makes me think of the whole show as rather better than it probably was on average. They made me care what happened to Topher. That took some doing.

Battlestar was entirely plotted, a single continuous fabric of narrative that started to unravel as it approached its finale. In fact, its finale was so godawful that it ruined all of what came before it for me.

Part of the difference, I suppose, is that Dollhouse gave up on mystery by its midway point. Epitaph One, the conclusion to season 1, told us exactly what was in store and pretty much what it meant. Season 2 gave us more context and background, but based its climax on its characters. Battlestar, on the other hand, multiplied its mysteries season by season, and then at the end waved them all away with a completely bogus explanation.

2 Comments for this entry

  • Josh K-sky

    Huh! I haven’t seen a lick of Season 2. Worth watching the whole thing?

  • Joshua Malbin

    I’d say so. It got much, much better in its back half. Make sure to rewatch Epitaph One before watching Epitaph Two (the Season 2 finale), since the second is basically a direct continuation of the first, which never even aired. That’s just one of several elements that make it pretty clear that by the end Joss Whedon was only writing for the fans and didn’t give a crap whether casual viewers could follow. Why should he? They were already canceled. It made for much better TV.

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