It's possible that no show has gotten more press this season than Fox's Dollhouse. It comes from cult hero Joss Whedon, and it's already had its troubles, including a completely reshot pilot and a potentially problematic Friday night time slot. But the show finally premieres tonight, and I've heard from many of the people involved with the show that we shouldn't worry so much about it after all. Here are five essential things to know:
- The set is awesome. Way back at July's TV press tour, I got the chance to explore the world of Dollhouse from the inside. The set is large and gorgeous, the centerpiece being a two-story control room of sorts with a glassed-in observatory from which the dollhouse employees can watch the "actives" — blank canvasses like Eliza Dushku's Echo — work out and lounge. Standing inside of it feels oddly calming, like a very upscale spa. Also cool: the room where the actives sleep at night, which has sleeping capsules sunken into the floor.
- Friday might not be so bad. The show won't have to reach quite the bar for ratings that it would have on any other night, Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly said in January. "In some of the other scheduling scenarios, there was going to be enormous pressure on it," he said. "We're going to let the show play out for 13 episodes and hopefully catch on."
For three more key facts and some preview videos, just
- The shows will be a balance between stand-alone episodes and mythology. One of Fox's complaints with the original pilot was that the network thought the show had too much mythology right away. Now it's more of a mix, Whedon said in January, with the first five episodes being more stand-alone and the sixth one getting further into the show's mythology.
- The actives aren't perfect. Even though they're programmed to do exactly what they need to complete their missions, things will go wrong. "Each show I think [some type of trouble] is going to go down," Dushku said this week, "because it’s obviously not a perfect system and it’s not a perfect world."
- If the show succeeds, there's lots of territory to mine. If the ratings are good enough to get it more episodes beyond the original 13, there are plenty more stories to tell. "Apparently from day one Joss has had a five-year plan for the show and we’ve talked about what some of those are," Dushku said. "I think that’s one of the things that’s so exciting about this show is that it’s so open for endless possibilities."
Here are a whole bunch of Dollhouse-related videos to fuel the fire till tonight's premiere. Will you be watching?
Photo courtesy of Fox