Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5
5 episodes in and I'm enthralled once again at what is one of the best TV shows ever. In an effort to avoid any spoilers I'll stay away from specific plot reveals but Season 4.5 of BSG appears to be about the price paid for lost dreams. At the end of Season 4.0, the fleet and its Cylon allies arrive at Earth only to discover it's a nuclear wasteland from a war that happened long ago. The time-line of this war seems confused but I've read that it comes into focus over the course of the final episodes. The mystery behind Starbuck's death/resurrection gets more complicated and the final Cylon's identity is revealed in either the first or second episode. I'm glad the writers chose to avoid having the final season devolve into a who's-the-last-Cylon affair to be revealed in the final episode because it might have lessened the series. I'm sure all this sounds hugely geeky (and it probably is) but there are several scenes in the first few episodes that are as dramatically polished and brilliantly acted as I've ever seen on TV - or in cinema. Edward James Almos and Michael Hogan face off in a long awaited confrontation between Tigh and Adama that must be seen to be believed. Katie Sackhoff has grown as an actress immensely over the course of the series to become one of the best characters in the show. The cast, sets, writing, direction and effects are all top notch. You either get BSG or you don't and that's just fine. Those who can't get their heads around the space-opera lunacy of the show or its incredibly bleak version of humanity are probably right to skip it. I think if the mini series didn't grab you, the 4.5 seasons that followed won't change you mind. For the rest of us – this series has been a sublime experience. Thank Gods it lasted as long as it did.
Dollhouse Season One
Season One of Dollhouse, on the other hand, has been a bit of a disappointment. I'm hit and miss with Josh Whedon, having never quite got into Buffy (I didn't dislike it, I just didn't care) and then being completely taken by the short-lived series Firefly. At the heart of the Dollhouse premise is the ability to wipe out memories and imprint a specific personality into a living, breathing human. All sorts of possibilities present themselves as the mega-rich line up to buy a weekend with their perfect match week in and week out. Sometimes the dolls are love muffins, sometimes they're assassins and sometimes they're both. The concept seems a good one - it certainly opens lots of doors to varied plot lines - but the lead actress left me a bit flat and the whole thing began to feel like a 20-something variation on the Stepford Wives meets 90210 by about the 3rd episode. The biggest problem with Dollhouse isn't so much the plots as their unlikelihood. Everyone knows what would happen if you could hire some young beauty to do with whatever you wanted and know that no one would find out what that was (including the beauty whose memory is erased right after you return him/her). You certainly wouldn't go hiking and then hunt down your perfect match with a compound bow (a la The Most Dangerous Game from episode 4).
At its root, Dollhouse is a little like a fantasy baseball league, except it's about a white slavery ring with all the seedy undertones that that implies. They haven't gone down that path yet but the series just feels a little dodgy at its slightly creepy core. I could be doing some imprinting here – the thought of having a vacant and clueless Kadas covered in butter, wearing nothing but a smile and a pink beret dancing around Segredos for a whole weekend sounds great in theory, but I think this series – like my naked-one-man-(Drop)kick-line-dance-fantasy - is a little more disturbing than it seems at first glance. I'd say pass.
Oh... and sleep tight Kris. I'll be thinking about ya.