Monday, April 13, 2009

ADH III: Autopsy

I'm behind schedule. Herein lies the review for Autopsy, an After Dark Horrorfest III film.

Autopsy begins with five twentysomethings partying together during Mardi Gras. After enjoying themselves for most of the day the group decides to drive back to their motel, or to another bar, or to another city. It's all vague and blurry in my mind. (This movie sucked hardcore. I'm pretty sure my brain is just defending itself by trying to erase the memories).

Emily (the heroine of our tragic tale) takes the wheel and then promptly proceeds to get in an accident. Was it because of the copious amounts of alcohol she consumed or was it because her boyfriend Bobby distracted her? The world may never know. Of the five potential victims only two are female and both immediately start bawling. They have to be hugged and coddled by two of the menfolk. It was kind of nauseating.

While they're being comforted Jude (the requisite asshole of the bunch) decides to pee against the side of the totaled vehicle. Suddenly, a hand reaches out from below the car! Oh no! Emily inadvertently hit an old man! He's still alive! Here's a thought to ponder: how is it possible to hit a person and not realize it?

Various shenanigans ensue, then an ambulance shows up to take the old man to Mercy Hospital. The EMT's are tattooed and intimidating yet somehow manage to cajole the group into coming to the hospital for a routine checkup to make sure everyone's fine.

When the college students enter the hospital they're greeted by a scary nurse and told they all have to be looked over by the doctor. She then states there is only one physician currently on staff and everyone has to stay in the waiting area unless called. Bathroom breaks(!) and wandering around are not permitted.

The movie continues about how you'd expect. Nobody stays in a group and one by one the five unfortunate partiers disappear and/or are gorily executed. The evil doctor has Frankensteinein aspirations and is using body parts from his victims to keep his ailing and ugly wife alive. Pretty standard horror hospital fare.

Now, you may be reading this review and saying, "That sounds like bloody good fun! The plot might be standard but that doesn't mean the execution will be boring!" Sadly, you'd be wrong. This movie was a waste of time. I could forgive the painful one-liners, bad acting, and predictable punchline. What I can't forgive is the sheer amount of stupid inconsistencies this film had.

Mercy Hospital was a gigantic, sprawling building with only four employees; the nurse, the doctor, and the two EMT/orderlies. None of the dumb twentysomethings questioned this. They were placated with the flimsy explanation "only a skeleton crew is available after Katrina". Whatever. There were whole floors with no nurses or janitorial crew of any kind. Who would believe a cockamamie story like that?

The hospital appeared at first glance to be bright and welcoming. The viewer finds out later Mercy was decommisioned and is supposed to be empty. Who the hell is paying that enormous electricity bill? Wouldn't someone start to question why a supposedly vacant building was lit up like Christmas? There was also a gigantic storeroom filled with drugs and other medical supplies. I doubt the doctor bought them all; is the audience truly supposed to believe the pills were just left there to rot?

At one point Emily (who is slightly smarter than her peers but not by much) becomes suspicious and begins exploring the hospital. Patients are left to wander around at random and one gives Emily a spooky warning. As mentioned above, the doctor is killing people to keep his wife alive. So what's up with all the patients? Shouldn't they be dead with their organs safely put on ice? Is the doc saving them for later like a deranged spider?

Emily even manages to call 911 and a police cruiser comes by to check it out. One would think the cops would have looked up the hospital she mentioned and realized "Hey! It's decommisioned! WTF?" No, that's giving everyone in this movie too much credit. The officer does mention he thought the place was closed; however he is easily placated by the skeevy bleeding EMT. I have no words for how dumb people are in this film.

Oh well. Autopsy did have some interesting and gory death scenes. They weren't all great; this is definitely a glass-is-half-empty kind of movie. Emily's ill-fated boyfriend has ALL his organs outside the body yet he will not die. The organs are held up by slings in a circle around the poor dude for no discernable medical reason. Maybe a scriptwriter (I use that term loosely) though it looked cool...? They were so very wrong.

I usually end my negative reviews by mentioning a few positives just so y'all don't think I'm being overly harsh. Here goes. Even though Emily was kind of an idiot I rooted for her. Most of her friends' deaths were brutal and I felt sorry for them. Ummm, maybe if a person turns off their logic brain the movie isn't that bad? I got nothin'.

Two disappointed thumbs-down!

-- amber t

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ADH III: Slaughter

In 2007 Adela and I bought passes to After Dark Horrofest II and proceeded to watch all eight of the featured movies in the theatre. Most were very, very bad. We still managed to enjoy ourselves by mocking the majority of the films, smuggling in booze, and talking with other horror fans between showtimes. When After Dark Horrorfest III was announced in January 2009 I wanted to attend again.

In a travesty of justice no passes were sold this year and I actually would have had to leave the state to watch bad movies. This made me sad for longer than I like to admit until I moved on with my life. The eight films were released on dvd March 31st and I promptly rented them all.

Throughout the next week I will be posting mini-reviews of each film. As with After Dark Horrorfest II there were a bunch of bad movies. Surprisingly enough, there were also good ones.

Let's start with one of the best: Slaughter, which was was "inspired by true events".

Slaughter begins with Faith. Faith is pulling a runner by moving to an undisclosed city to get away from her possessive and abusive boyfriend. She's one of the walking wounded who just wants to start over.

On her first night in a new city Faith's best friend takes her clubbing. There Faith meets Lola. The two become fast friends despite their obvious personality differences (Faith's quiet, Lola's not, Faith's only had one boyfriend, Lola's has many "boyfriends", etc). When Faith's ex leaves a threatening message on her phone she decides to move in with her newfound friend.

Here's where things start to get a little strange. Lola lives on a farm with her father and two brothers. She doesn't reside in the main house and has been relegated to the barn for an undisclosed reason. Lola casually tells Faith as long as her chores are done her daddy doesn't put up too much of a fuss about the gentleman callers she bring home.

Things seem fine for awhile...except there's a slaughterhouse Faith isn't allowed to explore. Nobody except Lola and her little brother Cord are friendly. The pigs are being fed mystery meat. And Cord mentioned his mother killed herself because of something his daddy did...

Slaughter felt like an old-fashioned Southern gothic tale with incest, family secrets, and random murders throughout. The storyline was interesting and both Faith and Lola were incredibly likeable characters. While I would have preferred another ending the one given was powerful and unexpected. Two thumbs up!

amber t

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles: Ourselves, Alone

by: Adela P.

After last week's less-than-mediocre episode of T:SCC, I was fervently hoping that this week's would rise above, and INDEED it did. As much as I hate character death, I love character death. And the plot and character development that will inevitably result from this paves the way for some very interesting future episodes--I've been waiting for awhile for a good T:SCC character death and I'm both saddened and excited that the day has finally arrived. In retrospect, Riley's death in this episode was not a surprise--and indeed, has been expected for quite some time, now. The attention given to her tenuous emotional state has only been growing more ostentatious with every appearance she's made.

The episode begins with Cameron watching a bird fly about in the house. She says to it, "You shouldn't nest in the chimney. You're migratory, you need to find a mate. That's a window, bird. What am I going to do with you?" She captures the bird and brings it outside, and continues her monologue, "A bird in a chimney is a fire hazard. I'm not supposed to kill you. You can't stay here. Go." Instead of releasing the bird, however, she accidentally kills it, describing to John later, "The bird experienced an involuntary movement of my fingers."

Upon my first viewing of this episode, the bird reminded me of Riley, and specifically the scene from "Strange Things Happen at the One Two Point" in which Riley was looking at a poster she had on the wall of a bear catching a fish. She explains to John, "It's not a poster of a bear. It's a poster of a fish being caught by a bear. Just swiped out of the water, totally at random. Do the other fish even care? Do they even notice? No. They just keep swimming like nothing happened. 'Cause nothing important did." Riley is identifying with the bear's prey--she feels helpless and insignificant. The bird is yet another visual representation of Riley's internal struggle, and also a foreshadowing of the events that will occur. When Cameron and Riley are later alone together, Cameron says to her, "You don't belong here. John isn't right for you and you're not right for him. He can't see that . . . . You're unreliable. I don't know what you do . . . . You can't be John's girlfriend, you're a threat. You can't stay here anymore. But I can't let you leave . . . . What am I going to do with you?" Riley has no power in this situation, nor does she have the power to escape Cameron--physically or mentally.

Following the initial scene in which Cameron inadvertently kills the bird, Riley pays a visit to the house, and finds Sarah cleaning the floor. Riley leaves to find more cleaning solution for Sarah, and ponders the following label on the bottle: "Caution: Deadly to humans and domestic animals." The way that Riley is staring transfixed at the label shows her conflicted state. What is she, and what is her ultimate purpose? There is no perceivable difference between her and an animal-- she feels like the fish, she is the bird. She is consistently treated like an animal that can be easily manipulated, deceived, and persecuted. She feels like she has been disregarded and tossed aside over and over again. When she makes the hospital visit in this episode, the nurse ignores Riley, treating her as though she is an inconvenience. Unfortunately, it is clear that this is how Riley feels with many of the people around her, including Jessie and John, the two people she cares most about. Her feelings regarding Jessie and John are conflicted--both characters make her feel like she matters, but their vastly different motives are hard for her to figure in her convoluted emotional state.

When Cameron is speaking to Riley in the shed, John eventually comes in to diffuse the growing tension between them. He says, "Riley, come with me" and she immediately acquiesces, clearly relieved that John is coming to retrieve her. Despite the fact that it is obviously not his intention, John is treating Riley just as Jessie does. He tells her what to do and expects her to obey, and she does because she's never known anything else. Her whole life she's been nothing but a pawn, a piece to a game, used for tactic and exploitation, and ultimately expendable.

Just before leaving John's house for the last time, Riley and John hold this conversation:

John: Riley, is there anything you wanna tell me?
Riley: About what?
John: About anything. Is there anything you wanna tell me?
Riley: John-
John: Because today is the day. Today is the day that you tell me whatever it is that you might wanna tell me. Today.
[Long pause.]
Riley: No. But is there anything that you wanna tell me? John? 'Cause you're right. I think today is the day.
John: No.

And this is the point where I think Riley makes a decision, the decision that she no longer will be everyone else's pawn. She leaves John's house to confront Jessie--and I don't believe Riley has any intention of making it out of this confrontation alive.

Riley: You wanted him to care about me.
Jessie: Of course.
Riley: To like me.
Jessie: Of course.
Riley: Even to love me.
Jessie: Of course sweetie. We talked about it a thousand times. That was the plan.
Riley: But that wasn't enough right? And you knew it wasn't enough. she's supposed to kill me right? That's it, that's the real plan . . . . You knew that was the only thing that would turn John against her. She's supposed to kill me . . . . You called my foster parents. You called my school. How could you do that to me? I trusted you. I loved you.

Riley's words make it clear just how fragile she has become, or perhaps always has been. She says "my" foster parents and "my" school--indicating that though her attachment to John may have simply been a job at first, it certainly has extended far past those parameters. She loves Jessie, is probably in love with Jessie, and clearly wanted nothing more than to please her mentor. But Riley grew to love the life she lived, which made Jessie's betrayal burn all the more. Though Riley could have just attempted to kill herself again, now there is another motive--she wants to hurt as much as she wants to be hurt, wants to strike out as much as she wants to be put down. When Jessie fires the killing bullet into her chest, Riley's face falls into a look of relieved resignation. As the camera pans over her fallen body, there is a slight upward curving to her lips that makes it appear as though she's smiling in death.

John will clearly suspect Cameron for Riley's death. Cameron's ambiguous attitudes towards death and the murder of both humans and animals in this episode ensure that suspicion will lie with her (albeit, deservedly, considering the circumstances). There is, however, one moment which makes me suspect that John will figure all is not as it seems. Cameron provides John with a swift and subtle means of disposing of her if it becomes necessary. And when he asks her outright if she acted against Riley in any way, she says, "You know I didn't." This exchange may cause him to hesitate laying blame with her when he learns of Riley's murder. At the end of the episode, he eyes the dead bird that Cameron killed cautiously, suspiciously, almost as if he's making the same connections that the viewer was supposed to. And although it's not clear what he will do with the information, Riley's death will serve the purpose it was meant to--suspicions will abound, resentments will flare, angst will ensue, and bitterness will settle into the hearts of our protagonists.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dollhouse: The Target

by: Adela P

I loved this episode. It's interesting, because out of the reviews that I read before the series premiered (from those lucky people who got to watch a few episodes way back in 2008), many people seemed to really dislike this episode. Well, I personally am hoping that the tone the writers established in this episode will be consistent throughout the rest of the season -- I was delighted by the plot, felt sympathy for Echo and her handler, and laughed out loud quite a few times. All in all, I was thoroughly entertained.

The episode begins quite cleverly. Adelle is explaining the way the Dollhouse works to a potential client, and her monologue is accompanied by eerie music and flashes to scenes of Echo on various exploits. She says:

"In their resting state, our actives are as innocent and vulnerable as children. We call it the tabula rasa, the blank slate. Now imagine the imprint process filling it, creating a new personality, a friend, a lover, a confidant in a sea of enemies. Your heart's desire made flesh. And, when the engagement has been completed all memory of you and your time together will be wiped clean."

I hope we continue to be privy to these client intakes in the future, as I expect they will be both informative and entertaining.

We learned much more about the Dollhouse and the characters in this episode via flashbacks. Flashbacks are a tricky business -- they must be used carefully so that they do not completely overtake the story and become boring. The writers implemented them quite successfully in this episode. The only problem I had with them was that I don't think they quite distinguished themselves enough from "real time." I can understand why one would want to refrain from those "three months earlier" overlays every time the scene flashes back, but I think something other than making the scene brighter needs to be done in order to establish it as not-happening-right-this-very-minute.

From the flashbacks we learn that Boyd came on board right after a doll, Alpha, went on a crazy killing spree. Three important things to take note of: 1) Alpha is the conglomeration of a bunch of personalities that were meant to be erased; 2) for some reason, Alpha didn't kill Echo; and 3) Alpha has fab assassination skills. Boyd is hired because, in Adelle's words, "In the light of recent events we've decided to engage individuals with a more, shall we say, intensive background. If you are amenable to the terms of your contract you will be assigned to Echo, one of our most requested actives." Apparently there's always been something different about Echo and it makes clients like her more -- perhaps she's always displayed more of a "personality" than the rest? The way Adelle spoke it seems that clients will request her more than once. Another question that Adelle's comment brings to mind -- what exactly are the terms of Boyd's contract?

The morally ambiguous Topher, who describes himself to Boyd as "the man behind the grey matter curtain," is my favorite character thus far. In one of the flashbacks to the Alpha Incident, the Dollhouse is invaded with big men toting guns, and Topher says, "Guns! Can I have one." They don't respond. He tells them what happened, they disperse, and he says, "Seriously? Gun?" Delivery on this line? Perfect.

When he's talking to Topher during Echo's excursion, Boyd expresses concern that Echo is "elevating toward redline." Topher tells Boyd she's fine, and that he's "been reading the squigglies long enough to discern the diff between excitement and Sweet-Mother-I'm-Gonna-Die." When Boyd mentions that his signal is bad, Topher responds, "You're in the middle of Why-Would-Anyone-Wanna-Be-There, what'd you expect, HBO?" Upon Boyd's insistence, Topher returns to the computer, but rather than using the stairs he instead prefers to climb over the railing. He tells Boyd, "Anything for you. Because I love you. Deep, deep man love."

Yes, Topher is most definitely my favorite character -- I love that he's hilarious and awkward and geeky and sort of evil all at the same time.

I like how Echo wasn't the absolute central part of the episode, because, as we know, she's not the absolute central part of the show. If she were, the show would have been named "Echo" instead of Dollhouse, right? That being said, I thought Echo's adventure in this episode was pretty amazing. I'm not ashamed to say that when it became clear Echo was her client's "prey," I burst into delighted laughter. I love psychopaths, I really do. Perhaps I should have been more disturbed or something, but I can't always help that I love me a good slasher movie. Richard seemed a little bit "off" from the get-go with some of his comments -- "If you can bring something down bigger than you with just this, you prove you deserve to eat it. It gets way, you prove it deserved to live, and you go hungry. Dad thought we all take too much for granted." As soon as it was clear he had Daddy Issues I was wondering when the big fall-out was going to happen, but I really wasn't expecting him to go all Battle Royale on her. Especially after all that "you're the perfect woman" business. Or maybe I just should have known. I loved Richard's delivery on this line: "You need to stop talking now. And start running. I'll give you a five minute head start. And then I'm coming after you."

I believed Eliza's acting moreso this week than last. I was sucked into this plot much more than I was the "kidnapped daughter" plot, and I felt that Echo's childlike persona was more believable. And Eliza definitely played the "happy girlfriend" turned "scared rabbit" turned "sexy badass" quite well -- I'm likely to expect a lot more greatness from Eliza in the coming weeks.

I was a little bit disappointed that Echo took time out of her precious five minutes to put on ALL of her clothing, though. Only because I think if I found myself in that situation, clothing would be the least of my worries. I probably would've taken the boots and the pants--only to prevent tree branch chafing, you understand. I certainly wouldn't have taken the time to put on both of those shirts. And for the record? Whoever's personality the Dollhouse imprinted Echo with definitely wouldn't have survived a horror movie. Drinking out of a random canteen instead of a tap? Haphazardly moving papers and objects around on the desk? Not too bright, although who knows what kind of neurological damage constantly imprinting and washing away personalities causes.

This brings to mind the question of the hour -- was it the stuff Richard put in the canteen that caused Echo to start remembering her past? It's clear that whatever happened is going to have some lasting repercussions, as Echo seems to still remember her past at the end of the episode. It also seems like she's able to pick up and retain some of the traits of the people around her.

I loved the process that binds Boyd to Echo as her handler:

Boyd: Everything's going to be alright.
Echo: Now that you're here.
Boyd: Do you trust me?
Echo: With my life.

It's obvious from Boyd's expression that he finds the whole exchange horribly trite, but in a way, it's the expression of love and devotion that every human longs to hear. In that way, it's sort of eerily beautiful. And it makes it all the more interesting later, when Echo's response to Boyd's "everything's going to be alright" is, "No, it isn't."

Throughout the episode, Boyd seems uncomfortable with the whole concept of "dolls," which makes me all the more curious about why he decided to join the Dollhouse in the first place. What part of his past could have been so horrible that he'd have to work for them? Despite his intentions to remain aloof, it's clear that Boyd begins to care for Echo. I anticipate that Boyd is going to be okay with Echo beginning to remember things, and may in fact be tempted to aid her in her desire to figure things out.

Dialogue I could have done without:
Boyd: She's just an empty hat until you stuff a rabbit in her.
Topher: Abracadabra.

Other than that minor glitch, I didn't have any other significant problems with the dialogue.

The only other thing I'll mention is that I love the Hulu marketing. Check out this ad if you didn't catch it last week:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dollhouse: Ghost

by Adela P.

The Dollhouse pilot episode seemed pretty different than the Buffy, Angel, and Firefly pilots. It was very approachable for a viewer who is unfamiliar with Whedon's work. The Dollhouse pilot is only an hour long, is structured in a way that gives the viewer some sort of "permanent" direction to look toward, and ends in a cliffhanger that pushes the plot dramatically forward in anticipation of the next episode. We aren't totally clear what's going to happen, but we're curious enough about the characters' pasts and the Dollhouse itself that it will likely pull most of us back in front of our televisions next week. And it isn't so elusive as to alienate us by making it totally unclear where the series is going.

Things to watch for:

The Human Trafficking Metaphor

Caroline (i.e. Echo)
: "Actions have consequences."
Adelle: "What if they didn't?"

I've heard some skepticism about the blatant human trafficking metaphor in Dollhouse, but if anyone can pull this off successfully it's Whedon. Because not only does Whedon create awesome television, he's also very involved in Equality Now, and thus there's no one I trust more than to make such a political statement about something so serious. (And here's my cue to plug Whedon's Equality Now speech from 2006, which you'll find lurking at the end of this blog post.) In an AMC interview, Whedon was asked how being a feminist fits in with a show about "women being subjugated." Whedon replies: "It’s terrifying. There’s no way you can avoid the idea that this feels like high-end human trafficking. But what I’m interested in is the idea of a woman who has no identity, who is gradually becoming self-aware and saying, 'I think I know more than they want me to.' It hurts me and intrigues me." There's no doubt that Whedon will be able to find a way to balance these two emotions in such a way that we as viewers are "feeling" the issue in the same way that he is.

The Music

It looks like Dollhouse is going to have quite the musical score -- the scenes in which Echo hesitantly eases herself into the chair for personality removal/imprinting are accompanied by some pretty eerie music -- the subtle kind of music with the high octaves and slow rising and falling of pitch... almost childlike, but in that way where you know something's not quite right. It embodies Echo herself -- Echo has been stripped of personality, and she can be manipulated and "raised" much like a child is. Her innocent queries, the way that she touches Dr. Saunder's face and asks "who takes care of you?", not accusingly -- only inquiringly, seeking answers for their own sake rather than to learn about something else through that answer. The music reflects the innocence and danger of Echo herself, and it will be interesting to see whether this becomes a trademark throughout the series.

The Backstories
  • Echo -- What did Echo do that made her afraid enough to join the Dollhouse? How did she find out about the Dollhouse, or did they find her?
  • Dr. Claire Saunders -- what happened to her face, and why is she all skulky? I'm torn about whether to trust her.
  • Paul -- Why is this FBI agent so obsessed with finding the Dollhouse? Seems like more than just a job to me. And what's with all those boxing flashbacks?
  • Topher - Why does Topher seem so lacking of morals? I'm hesitant to typecast him as just an amoral, avaricious jerk because nothing is so simple as that in the Whedonverse -- so what's his deal?
  • Boyd -- What shady past is this ex-cop-turned-handler hiding? Why would he choose the Dollhouse if he seems so unwilling to trust and/or condone the organization? Did he perhaps do something so unforgivable under his previous employer that he had no choice but to work at the Dollhouse? Or is he there for a more elusive purpose?
The Humor

Boyd (about Echo's new personality)
: She's nearsighted...?
Topher: She also has asthma.

Echo (detective persona): Speak out of turn again and I will scold you.

Whedon could potentially give Dushku's personality imprints a funny and unexpected new quirk every week. I, for one, am very excited about the potential in this.

Some Really Great Writing/Directing/Producing/etcetera

Behind the scenes of Dollhouse we have Jed Whedon, who worked on Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog with his brother (and also publishes a youtube series called Apartment 4B with his fiancee), and also some great Buffy and/or Angel alumni -- Elizabeth Craft, Sarah Fain, Kelly A. Manners, Tim Minear, Steven DeKnight, and David Solomon.

The Evolution of Eliza

Eliza Dushku's going to have quite the challenge ahead of her. She must play different people every week, yet do it in such a way that the audience begins to care for her character as much as they care for any other. The pilot episode demonstrates that Eliza is capable of the feat, but I think she can do even better in the future.

In conclusion -- I wholeheartedly endorse this new series (as if you thought I wouldn't!), and am thoroughly looking forward to next week's episode. Wholeheartedly. And thoroughly. So if you're not watching now, START.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The CW to pick up L.J. Smith's "Vampire Diaries"

by Adela P

The CW has picked up a pilot for yet another vampire television series. This one will be based upon L.J. Smith's young adult "Vampire Diaries" books. The first "Vampire Diaries" book, "The Awakening," was published in 1991. I myself was an avid fan of L.J. Smith's when I was a teenager, and I happen to own most of the first publications of her books. Before Smith's books were republished with the success of Twilight, I used to ALWAYS search used bookstores for her stuff. Her books were hard to come by, and even if I found something I already owned, I could usually buy it and sell it on Amazon for about four times as much as I paid for it.

Smith's books were what first got me all vampire-crazed, which undoubtedly influenced my obsession with vampires -- and Buffy. I have Smith to thank for all of the amazing people, scholarship, reading, and general fan joy that has helped to contribute to who I am today. Because really, when I think about it, she is partly responsible for something that I have been involved with for more than half of my life, considering that I'm twenty-three years old and my obsession with vampires started at around age ten or eleven. I hope this isn't scaring you, Dear Reader. Please don't imagine that I'm one of those people who walks around wearing a cape and plastic fangs all day. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that if it weren't for my obsession with vampires, pretty much everything about my life would be different -- my interests, my friends, the things I like to study. So yeah. I'm gonna go ahead and say that if the concept of vampires didn't exist, and if L.J. Smith hadn't written about them in her "Vampire Diaries" and "Nightworld" series, I don't even know who I would be today.

I'm intrigued by this concept of a television series. People are unsurprisingly already comparing it to Twilight, which may or may not lose the Buffy demographic right there. I'm just wondering at this point whether they're going to ruin bits of my childhood or if I'm going to become shamefully addicted to this new show.

No word yet on whether it will be released this year -- my guess would be September, but who knows how long these things take to plan out and such. I'm assuming they'd want to get rolling while things are still hot, though. Although I guess with New Moon (the second novel in the Twilight series) hitting theaters next year, it'll be awhile before the vampire craze dies down.

And now I'd just like to reiterate that I was a vampire fan wayyyyy before it was popular. It made me a freak, in fact, and I sort of wore that as my special badge of honor. So there.

For more info, check out:
(Thank you, Ian, for posting this bit of news on your blog.)

Dollhouse: don't forget to watch the premiere

by: Adela P.

Tomorrow, Friday the 13th (is this a bad omen or just a coincidence?), is the series premiere of Dollhouse -- the series that Whedon fans have been hyping, anticipating, and cajoling Fox to just please at least let it air for a full season, and please air the pilot, and please air the episodes in order -- in short, oh please OH PLEASE give it a standing chance.

Fans are already peeved that Dollhouse was given the dreaded Friday night slot. This excerpt comes from's Melissa Voelker:

This week my rant is all for Fox. Fox, why do you hate your own programming? First you buy shows and announce that you will be their new best friend, and then you start to hurt them. Its like you are the ultimate abusive boyfriend. Take Dollhouse, for instance, Joss Whedon's new show that all of use Whedonites are salivating over. You bought it, you advertised it, then you decided not only to sit on it until 2009, but you are going to air it on Friday nights. Friday nights are No Man’s Land for TV shows, the equivalent of Where Programming Goes to Die. That was how you killed Firefly, after all, a fact which none of us forgive you for. But while its a terrible thing you are doing to “Dollhouse,” at least that show hasn’t even started yet so it isn’t like you’ve been super nice and supportive of it first. (Really I only think you bought it so no one else could because you don’t want it airing opposite any of your shows. I think you’ve got a deep crazy person hatred for Joss Whedon, but that is another article.)

There has even been some fan response protesting the inevitable cancellation of Dollhouse:

Well, to be fair, fans have no reason to trust Fox. Like Melissa Voelker said, Fox does seem like the ultimate abusive boyfriend. They pretend to be nice but then they give their new shows the worst time slots imaginable. Why couldn't they have eased Dollhouse into our primetime with a nice Sunday night slot? After all, Brothers and Sisters and Desperate Housewives fare pretty well, right? Is Sunday night such a bad time? That would solve the problem of Dollhouse being in contention with all of the ridiculously popular shows that have no real cred, right? Man, I wish I were in charge of these things.

James Poniewozik wrote an article for Time way back in December, and then again a few days ago -- hey, at least he's giving Dollhouse some long overdue attention. Poniewozik seems pretty conflicted. He worries about the premise -- Whereas his past series had ready-made good-vs.-evil setups, Dollhouse is morally nebulous. Sometimes we're rooting for Ballard to bust the Dollhouse, sometimes we're rooting for Echo's handlers and protectors in the organization that pimps her out. He worries about Dushku -- Dushku, memorable as the bad-girl Faith in Buffy, isn't much of a chameleon. She's passably callow as Caroline and nicely eerie as the doll-like "blank" Echo, but she doesn't transform with each personality, à la Toni Collette in United States of Tara. And he worries about the logic (cue tiny tiny spoiler warning here) -- A scene with a skeptical colleague addresses head-on a basic implausibility of the premise: why the hell does a billionaire need to turn to some kind of bizarre sci-fi brianwashing whorehouse to get the perfect date, or the perfect crime investigator, or the perfect whatever, when they can perfectly easily go out and hire one who hasn't had their personality wiped? His response: when you have everything, you want something more—more exotic, more perfect, more specific. Not so persuasive on the surface, but if the show is well enough done, hopefully we won't care.

But beyond all of this, Poniewozik readily admits that he might be wrong: I wasn't crazy about Firefly when it first debuted, in retrospect one of the worse calls of my career. And he also touches upon one of the main reasons Whedon fans are watching at all -- For me, the main draw now is not seeing Dushku become a different person every week, but getting to see Joss Whedon become a different writer every week. I personally know a few people that are not particularly drawn to Dushku or Amy Acker, the two actors that garner the most attention for having already been on a Whedon show. Rather, they are drawn to the prospect of another Whedon show to which they can devote time, energy, and sometimes scholarship. I admit, I feel the same way. I've never seen an episode of Tru Calling in my life, though I'm told by many that it's a fairly decent show. I don't get overly excited when I come across Acker on an episode of Supernatural or Alias. She just doesn't get me excited in the same way that seeing some of the other actors does. (I about flipped when Amber Benson and Mercedes McNab made appearances on Supernatural.) But even though the cast doesn't overly excite me, I absolutely cannot WAIT for Whedon to be in my living room again.

This Quote-Video-Meta maze I've constructed here is my attempt to make you realize that Dollhouse is going to need a lot of help from Whedon fans to get it rolling. Word spreads best through your mouths, people, so start telling your friends to watch. Friday nights are BLEH. People are out and about, being social, doing whatever -- oh, of course, except for me, because I'll be sitting in front of my television, watching Dollhouse, and being sure to record it on the DVR for any of my friends who miss it and can be convinced to come to my humble abode and watch.

So watch. WATCH. Tell others to watch. Record it for others to watch. Spread the word so it doesn't suffer the fate of cancellation. If you watch Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles, stick around and watch Dollhouse too. (Why, Fox, couldn't you just keep T:SCC on Monday nights but stick with the T:SCC/Dollhouse idea? Okay, soapbox gone now. Really.) Oh, and if you're a Whedon fan just tuning in on Friday for Dollhouse, come on over an hour earlier to witness the amazingness of T:SCC. Let's get these shows back into some normal timeslots so they have a chance at success. What do you say?

PS: The Chicago Tribune described Dollhouse as a "twisted exploration of the malleability of female identity." Intriguing description. Perhaps we'll come across a paper about this at the Slayage conference someday.

PPS: Do take time to check out's Joss Whedon Moments We Loved. It made me smile a lot.