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"Dollhouse" Tv Series - Season 2 DVD/Blu-Ray - Ign.com Review

Monday 1 November 2010, by Webmaster

I’m genuinely pleased that Joss Whedon nabbed the big-budget adaption of Marvel’s The Avengers. It was probably more than a little cathartic for him. After attempting to crack into big-screen features with the box office flop, much-loved (by fans and critics), Serenity, which itself was based off the canceled TV series, Firefly, Whedon returned to TV in 2009 with his tail between his legs.

Apparently not learning his lesson, Whedon walked right back into Fox’s lair – the network that previously nixed Firefly after just a few episodes. Thankfully, his latest TV venture, Dollhouse, didn’t get the ax after half a dozen episodes. Instead, it made it two seasons (short 13-episode orders, but that’s still not bad).

- Fox Home Entertainment

But, after being handed the dreaded Friday night "death slot," there wasn’t much of a chance for this sci-fi show to find its audience. As it turns out, nerds, geeks, Browncoats, and sci-fi nuts also go out on Friday, just like everyone else. So, after ratings plummeted, Dollhouse was canceled, leaving Whedon with yet another great show that’s potential was untapped.

Now, to be fair, Dollhouse wasn’t as gripping as Firefly, which is part of the series’ undoing. The cast worked well (particularly the supporting cast), but having an intentionally emotionless lead (Eliza Dushku), and a serialized story that was clearly building to something big, wasn’t exactly an easy sell to casual viewers – people who might watch a handful of episodes (in random order) throughout the season run.

- Fox Home Entertainment

Season Two picks up a few months where season one left off (unless you count the bonus Epitaph episode, which in that case, the show shoots back several years), continuing the ever-evolving story of Echo, an active "doll" working for a secret underground facility where real live women and men are essentially programmed to be (or do) whatever their buyer chooses. While Whedon attempts to inject a little more life into the series – more than he had in season one – the show still doesn’t quite engage in the way it should. Performances are fine, but everyone seems to be on autopilot.

Still, when it comes to entertaining intrigue, Whedon lays it on thick. For season-long followers of the show, there are numerous twists and turns to be had. Some of which are cool (like exploring "The Attic," a bizarre place where inactive "dolls" go), and some lack logic, particularly when characters turn out to have different motives. This culminates in yet another Epitaph episode, which takes place several years in the future where our world is in an apocalyptic state. This episode gives the show a somewhat satisfying ending, but also helps to remind us that so much more potential was lost in the fray, be it from writing issues or the series’ early cancellation.

Click here to read reviews of each episode of season two.

- Fox Home Entertainment

Dollhouse: The Complete Season 2 (I can’t emphasize enough how much I hate this "The Complete Season Whatever" terminology) comes to DVD with a relatively feature-packed four-disc set, though there aren’t quite as many awesome features as the previous season one set. The transfer is on par with the last set – stylized but not always appealing thanks to heavy artifacting, washed-out contrast, and grain. But the show’s Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is actually pretty great.

In terms of extras, fans can enjoy a 28-page comic book, which helps fill in a few missing pieces not seen anywhere else in the series. There are also two commentary tracks, one for the episode titled "Vows" featuring Whedon, and one for the episode titled "Belonging" featuring Joss’s brother Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Both tracks are enormously enjoyable, diving into the world of the series, as well as its production.

- Fox Home Entertainment

Disc four features additional extras including outtakes and deleted scenes, a wonderful, but very brief, retrospective featurette with Joss Whedon (it runs just 12 minutes), and finally, a terrific roundtable with Whedon and select members of the cast, which perfectly sends the series on its way.

Could Dollhouse have survived the proposed six years Whedon had originally intended? Undoubtedly. The show worked, even though it wasn’t as moving and engrossing as Firefly. There was the promise of something wonderful, and occasionally, audiences got to see that promise paid off. Alas, that audience was far too small. Let us hope, as all Whedon shows do, that Dollhouse becomes a venerable cult hit now that the entire series is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

IGN Ratings for Dollhouse - Season Two

The Movie

Not always as engaging as it could be, but Whedon’s Dollhouse showed a lot of promise.

The Video

Clunky and riddled with artifacting, Dollhouse probably looks a lot better in Blu.

The Audio

Like the previous season, this Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is thoroughly engaging.

The Extras

Two wonderful commentary tracks, a retrospective featurette, a roundtable discussion, outtakes, deleted scenes and a 28-page comic book.