If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I like my comics to be more variety show than epic tale. Although there are a few long stories I adore, most of which I’ve gone on about already, there is nothing I like better than an eclectic bunch of simple stories. Gotham Knights, Superman/Batman, Legends of the Dark Knight, Batman Confidential, Tiny Titans, all of these are the kinds of things I like.
This love of the well-told episode extends to other forms of media. I prefer The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings. I hate when they artificially extend a storyline by making the season finale end on a cliffhanger. And I generally like one-off stories better than overall arcs. The episode of the Justice League Unlimited in which Wonder Woman got turned into a pig, or the time that Buffy had to take on a mind-control creature that came out of the eggs that students had to carry around for sex-ed.
So it’s strange to me that Dollhouse entirely flips my preferences. I don’t care what assignment that Echo has this week or how well she completes it. I want to see more of the sub-plots, the foreshadowing, and the ongoing undercurrents that color every episode. I want to see the grander story.
I’m not sure what it is that is different about the series. I’ve seen a lot of criticism of Echo/Caroline, but while I don’t find her a particularly interesting character, she carries the stories along and makes me believe she can be both creatively clever while being clueless to larger implications.
Maybe it’s because the Dollhouse itself is evil. When the show is about heroes, I don’t like to see them hit trouble. When it’s about villains, I welcome a chance to make them miserable.
But I think there’s a larger reason. So many shows give us meaningless plot-twists and clever set-ups that reveal themselves to be just that – clever set-ups, with payoffs to be filled in by the writers if its necessary. Dollhouse is planned, from first to last. There aren’t any dropped story lines or hollow explanations or rushed justifications. I know that if I see something strange, it was because I was meant to, and I’ll get a satisfying pay-off if I wonder about it.
Take note, Lost. Oh wait. That show actually did well.
Please watch Dollhouse, you guys. If the show gets cancelled because the world ends I will go freaking crazy on someone and I can’t be sure it won’t be myself. So.