Dollhouse: Remains

Each time I go through the categories on wordpress as I’m publishing my The Geek Seek weekly TV reviews I feel a little sad reading through the list of shows we might never write about again. Lost is one of them, and the other which we hold dearly to our hearts – Dollhouse. We do follow some of the old cast and crew of Dollhouse on twitter, and just this morning a little bright spark appeared on the twitterverse, a youtube link tweeted by Dichen Lachman about a video made specially for the Dollhouse S2 DVD release. Apparently this video has jumped all the way up to #11 on Youtube, and we’ve embedded it below for your enjoyment.

We do have two recurring actors from Dollhouse, but it might be safe to say that this didn’t wall within the 10 years or so between The Hollow Men and Epitaph Two. Other than the tech for imprinting, the Dollhouse world has pretty much been set in our timeline, which means that unless for some reason they managed to invent really life-like androids easily shipped to your home (who here thought of Chobits? At least the activation button was somewhere SFW) in between now and the apocalypse, this is just a different universe, or some alterna-timeline special.

And special it is. A world where Topher Brink orders mail-order Kilos for help and company unfolds before us. All this, when held up against the light shining from the Dollhouse possibly enhances the points that Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen have been trying to make as writers of Dollhouse. That in another skin, those Dolls that we empathize with are just simply robots – programmable, reformat-able, if not for the heart within them (and the ability to tear) what makes them human anymore? (Also, they both walk barefoot.) Are feelings or memories the things that make us truly human, or is it just the physical, the flesh and bones, which is the only thing the robot truly lacks? It’s evident that Kilo v1 isn’t quite complete, constantly clumsy and prone to mistakes, and never matching up to a real woman or his expectations. Kilo v2 comes along soon enough, rendering Kilo v1 unwanted and unloved, and when disaster strikes Kilo v1 is unceremoniously trashed. But yet, when one sees clearly, Kilo v2 herself is clumsy, and is only as good as she was programmed to be. (On the flipside, why program a robot with envious personalities? It’s just begging for trouble – but yet, without it, would an android be close enough to a facsimile of a human?)

Maybe the special effects aren’t top notch, but I have no complaints about anything else. The direction by Anton King is subtle but impactful, the song fits really well (listen to the lyrics) and one can always trust Fran Kranz to do a good job. And all of us know that tons of Maurissa Tancharoen fanboys would be real pleased to watch this. If Epitaph One/Two didn’t happen and after the closure of the Dollhouse Topher went into hiding and became a recluse – I wouldn’t put it past him to do this. I wouldn’t have foreseen the Kilo fetish, but beyond that even this stands as a subtler, quieter, but equally sad epitaph to Dollhouse. When we can lose love so easily, when we pale against the next new model that’s not any better than we are, what makes us better than robots, than dolls?

I miss Dollhouse.


The technological backbone of, Alvin’s machinist-nature also ensures that this blog remains alive when the unpredictable Murphy’s Law comes into effect.

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