I can think of two good reasons to watch this three disc set of Season One of Dollhouse. First, Joss Whedon. If you know who he is, I don't need to explain further.
If you don't, Whedon is the inventive and inimitable agent provocateur behind TV classics Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. Dollhouse, which just wrapped up its first season, continues the Whedon bloodline of fascinating shows with a strong, diverse ensemble cast often headed by a striking independent young woman who would rather kick ass than kiss it.
Which leads to the second reason to spend time in the Dollhouse domain, Eliza Dushku, who plays the sometimes sassy and sometimes subdued Echo, depending on her assignment. You see, Echo is an "Active" who can be imprinted with any personality or physical traits requested by the wealthy and well-placed Dollhouse clients.
Of course, if your preferences favor fab abs, then put-upon FBI agent, Paul Ballard, (Tahmoh Penikett), measures up. Actually, Whedon has sprinkled the cast with flavors for almost every taste, icy executive (Olivia Williams), nerdy neuroscientist (Franz Kranz), dark doctor (Amy Acker), and paternal protector (Harry Lennix). And enough eye candy dolls to keep your libido in a sugar rush.
But the deeper allure to Whedon's shows is in the writing. Joss and his staff develop what could be cardboard characters into three dimensional people, with quirks and histories that make them compelling, if not always appealing.
Then, there's the storytelling. I'll admit that the storyline in Season One really didn't hit its stride until Episode 6, "Man on the Street". If you are a first time viewer and your interest isn't piqued in the first few shows, jump to 6 and go from there.
For inveterate Whedon-philes, I figure that the real attraction of this three disc set are the extras on Disc 3, especially Epitaph 1 (the mysterious 13th episode) and the original unaired pilot titled "Echo."
I will not reveal any spoilers about Epitaph 1, except to say that it is set in apocalyptic 2019 and features a new cast including Felicia Day (from Whedon's Internet musical, "Dr. Horrible"). Let me add one more thing, don't answer robocalls.
I find the pilot episode fascinating in the context of the development of Dollhouse as a TV series. Whedon admits (in the "Making Dollhouse" extra) that the usual time to hatch a series was protracted. You can understand why the pilot never aired.
What's interesting to me is how the storyline of that single show literally is stretched into twelve episodes. Indeed, the last line and shot in the pilot becomes the denouement of "Omega," the last official show of Season One.
All of the extra featurettes paint a picture of how Dollhouse, the concept and the cast, were realized by Whedon and Dushku, who not only is the protagonist in front of the camera but also the producer behind the scene.
(Note to the makers of these discs: Can we eliminate or at least limit the amount of forced trailers tagged on to the beginning of a disc? They are annoying.)
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Director: Joss Whedon and others
Cast: Eliza Dushku, Olivia Williams, Tahmoh Penikett, Harry Lennix, Fran Kranz, Enver Gjokaj, Dichen Lachman, Amy Acker, Reed Diamond,
Length: Approx. 540 minutes, 3 discs
Video codec: VC-1
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
French, Spanish, Portuguese, English SDH