Category: Dollhouse

'Dollhouse': Sierra's tragic fight in 'Belonging'

DH_belonging-art In "Belonging," we're finally able to see what circumstances brought Sierra, one of our favorite dolls, to the dollhouse. It's a pretty tragic circumstance, and Dichen Lachman has a winning performance as a pre-Sierra Priya.

We find Priya, a free-spirited artist type, hanging out on the beach, selling knickknacks, when she's approached by a rich stranger with a generous offer.  If that's not a huge red light, red flag or stoplight, I don't know what is. What followed was very calculated, very evil and just plain mean.

Nolan Kinnard, played menacingly by Vincent Ventresca, tried to court Priya with everything, including a gallery showing of her works. Though Priya has a good head on her shoulders, she may have eventually followed Echo's advice to go ahead and use Kinnard to get what she wanted, but fate intervened. Victor, another doll invited to attend the gallery opening, saunters in to create that initial spark that we now know as true love.

It was here that I question what happened. Did someone at the dollhouse send Victor, who obviously was going after Priya whether it was all-consuming love or an assignment, to mess up Kinnard's plans? He was pulled away to a treatment pretty quickly, but the damage was done. Priya said no to Kinnard, then lost her mind because of medicines given to her covertly. Kinnard, a favorite of the Rossum Corporation, made her lose her mind, get committed to a mental health facility, then turned into a doll by Topher.

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Dichen Lachman brings Sierra to life in 'Dollhouse'

Dichenlachman Dichen Lachman's Sierra might not be the No. 1 active in "Dollhouse," but she's on par with Eliza Dushku's Echo as a favorite. We get to see her tragic back story in tonight's "Belonging" episode (don't all of the dolls have tragic backstories?), along with a rave-inducing performance by Lachman that lets her stretch her acting chops.

How was Comic-Con?

It was wonderful. It was great to see so much support for the show and to meet people face-to-face and hear about what they love about the show. It was really overwhelming, but in a good way.

Now with a season under your belt, and the rocky off-season in the past, where would like to see Sierra go?

[With "Belonging," the next episode,] that was just such a dream come true and was such a challenge. I've never had to do things like that before. It was more than I could've asked for as an actor to have so many different things to achieve in one episode. But I'd like to see her get even stronger and even more empowered.

The Victor/Sierra relationship is at the cute stage, but if they remain as childlike as they are, how much further can it go? The last image in the episode is pretty telling, though.

I think it can go a lot further. Victor and Sierra aren't as aware as Echo, but they're becoming more aware, and I think they'll be able to experience the depth of that relationship in the Dollhouse. Time will tell exactly where they want to take it, but I think it's one of the most innocent and hopeful relationships in the Dollhouse.

[TINY SPOILERS AHEAD!]

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What can we expect from Joss Whedon's episode of 'Glee'? Whedon speaks

Just hours after news spread 'round the Web that Joss Whedon had signed on to direct an episode of "Glee," Whedon took it upon himself to explain what his involvement would mean to Ryan Murphy's musical comedy.

The following is an excerpt from his post on the fan site Whedonesque:

Hey kids and parents of kids and super-old, like ancestor-old-but-not-dead-yet-type people, just poking my oversized head in to say that the rumors are true... unless something very odd happens in the next few months, I will have the privilege of shooting an episode of GLEE. Why GLEE? Because I love cops, serial killers and gritty urban drama (I haven't seen the show yet). Why me? Because they're struggling and can't afford real directors. And to head off a few queries:

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'Dollhouse': Victor the serial killer, and the actor who plays him

Enver Gjokaj as Victor in "Dollhouse" helps make the "Bella Chose" episode one of the creepiest yet in the show's limited history.  Questionably using a doll to reconstruct a serial killer, Echo taking on another sexy role, an unprecedented remote wipe of a doll and another "Battlestar Galactica" cast mate (Michael Hogan) making an appearance all make this a memorable concoction.

Echo The episode explores yet another ethically off-kilter use of the dollhouse technology with a situation that tests the viewer's resolve.  Of the technology, Enver says in a quick interview I did with him following the mini recap below: "I would hope that I would basically step on it and kill it immediately, and never look back." Yes, but if you needed to find women held hostage by a serial killer, and could imprint a doll to do just that, wouldn't you?  Probably, but know that you are also creating a serial killer in the process, with (hopefully) no side effects later on down the road when he's wiped.  See Echo's reaction at the end of the show?  A little serial killer sneaked in, so you never know.

Col. Tigh's quick scene was a layer of icing on a many-tiered cake of pretty good acting.  Liked Echo in this episode a lot as well.  Eliza's ditzy yet tough yet childlike transformations are definitely showing more active signs of the burgeoning personality in Echo awakening. Eliza's good when she has to fight, even against her own psyche.  And though her doll counterpart Victor is still a blank slate, Enver is far from it.  We got to talk a bit to the world-traveling actor about his "Dollhouse" off-season, this particular episode, and what's up with Victor this season.

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'Dollhouse': Tahmoh Penikett on stress, technology and being done with 'growing pains'

Tahmoh Penikett was married to the enemy in "Battlestar Galactica," and now, reluctantly, he's had to join his nemesis once again. The second season of "Dollhouse" kicks off with Paul Ballard working with the organization he so wants to topple -- to help the damsel in distress he so wants to save.  Penikett talked with us a bit about Ballard's ongoing struggle, the dollhouse technology itself and his love of Hollywood north, Vancouver.

So, how did the renewal talk affect you, and how did you take it when you heard?
I was speculating when we were in the off-season, saying, "I wouldn't be surprised if we did get picked up, I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't." A lot of people felt that way. ... I, fortunately, have been in this business long enough to where I wasn't sitting around pining and stressing about it, which I did in the first couple of seasons of "Battlestar." It can be incredibly stressful to do that and consuming -- it's not healthy for an actor to do. I try to be more appreciative now that I have an opportunity to work and just go day by day.  But I had a good feeling about it.

If I was to speculate on how the network thinks, you look at Joss Whedon, you look at all his products, Dollhouse-300 you look at the cult-fan following and look at the fact that a show he had on for seven years is still selling in high numbers with DVDs and what have you -- from a business standpoint, it just makes sense.

So, Paul Ballard went through a bit of a character shift the first season, wouldn't you say?
Well, yeah.  When we meet Paul, we realize that he doesn't have anyone.  He doesn't have a family that's close to him, he's recently been divorced, it's not clear if he has any close friends. ... I think it's kind of clear that he's one of those guys that when he puts his mind to something he's got to see it through.  When we meet him early on, he's specifically focused on the dollhouse, or the urban legend of it. And by the end of the season, it comes full circle.  He ends up getting in a relationship with a woman -- falling in love with her -- then finds out that it's not even real the whole time.  And he loses his job.  He really doesn't have much, and I think by the end of the season he's really just trying to hold on to his sanity.

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'Dollhouse': Topher makes Echo lactate

The ability to breastfeed?!  That's the MINOR glandular change that Topher made to Echo for her latest mission? Wow. The cryptic conversation between inquisitive new handler Paul Ballard and giddy genius puppet-master Topher included even further pronouncements of how the "Dollhouse" mind-wiping technology could be helpful when used correctly. Or not.

"You could program the mind to fight cancer," said Topher, only mentioning in passing that to do that he'd have to wipe the candidate's mind clean.

On to the mission.  Echo is charged with being a mother, imprinted with the hormones and instincts of a woman who recently gave birth, one who loved her child dearly. Dad did it because he couldn't bond with  
his son after his wife's death. So he bought some artificial love and a really expensive nanny?

DOLL_203-SC9_092 Because of Topher's tinkering, this was worse than being hunted, or being a hostage negotiator or being married to Apollo.  A mother's desire to protect her child is probably one of the strongest instincts humans possess, and with this job it was heightened by, again, Topher giving Echo a curious personality. Sure, Sierra was probably put in as a friend to keep Echo calm, but wait ... the last time Echo was curious and went through someone's stuff, Apollo smacked her head against a desk.  Topher should tone that curiosity down a bit.

If he had, then maybe she wouldn't have run to the police.  That could've been an awkward situation for the dollhouse, but they got Echo back and wiped her.  Mostly. 

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'Dollhouse': A virtual Echo can be your desktop doll

Now you can summon Echo every five minutes while you work!  The inventive people at Fox's "Dollhouse" have created Virtual Echo, a program that allows a figure, in this case Eliza Dushku as Echo, to walk across the screen regardless of what you're doing and interact. 

But that's only the flashy part -- she can do a lot more.

Echodesktop1 Our favorite doll saunters across the screen in various roles, including office worker (her business suit looks like one she wore as a hostage negotiator), party girl in a short white dress, and assassin.

She throws messages, shoots the screen and slices it -- a fun, and occasionally distracting, program. At right is a shot of Echo in her red-gowned New Year's mode, roving across my messy desktop. The most impressive parts, though, you have to click on to enjoy.

At the moment, there are 98 scroll-throughs of episodes, cast and crew interviews and exclusive footage that all link back to the Fox site, plus an "Augmented Reality Echo" feature that allows you to interact by simply printing out symbols or "glyphs," aiming the printout at a webcam, then watching as a digital hologram of Echo appears on your screen! I wish I had a webcam at work to participate in this high-techy goodness ... umm, maybe not.

To download the Virtual Echo program, click HERE, And to get a video introduction and explanation of what's going on, you can click HERE.

-- Jevon Phillips

'Dollhouse' premiere: 'Vows' not broken

DOLL_201-SC33_104

Fans know that the second half of "Dollhouse's" first season is when the show hit its storytelling stride as more was revealed about the Dollhouse and those that run it and live there. Luckily for us, and for them, seeing as how their renewal was more than a little uncertain, they continued on the path of discovery with the second season premiere episode, "Vows."

Seems to be a great start, and, yes, that is Jamie Bamber of "Battlestar Galactica" fame with Eliza Dushku's Echo! Apollo and Helo together again, but I digress.  We're only one episode in and we can see trouble a-brewin' on all kinds of fronts, especially from within. The cool thing is that with Joss Whedon, you're not sure exactly where, when or how the situations will pop up. A few of the main plotlines:

The moral struggles with a couple of the show's main characters -- Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) and Boyd Langton (Harry Lennix) -- over Echo and her treatment are easily palpable. Though one is strangely romantic and one is weirdly paternal, neither really knows her. It's an awesome cushion for Echo.

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'Dollhouse': Jamie Bamber talks about his marriage to Eliza Dushku's Echo

DOLL_201-SC4_120

Season 2 of "Dollhouse" premieres tonight and guess who's coming to dinner? Oh, just "Battlestar Galactica" CAG Lee Adama, a.k.a. British actor Jamie Bamber. Nice.

We caught up with Bamber, who spoke to us from the U. K., where he's starring in "Law & Order: UK." He talked to us at length about the differences between filming in America and in the United Kingdom -- No craft services or bottled water in the East End? Actors serving as their own stand-ins? The horror! -- and the mysterious call that led him into "Dollhouse."

How did you get involved with "Dollhouse"?
It was something that came from out of the blue. I was waiting for my kids to finish school in the U.K. so that we could all fly out to L.A. for the summer. Then I got a call from Joss Whedon's office saying that he'd like to talk with me about doing a role in the season's opener of "Dollhouse." That doesn't happen every day in my world so I thought, "Oh, we'll go and see what he's on about." I went straight to work for about four or five days shooting. It was kind of a dream way to come back out to L.A. and get to work with my old friend Tahmoh Penikett [who plays Paul] and to meet and get to know Joss properly, and obviously, to work with Eliza Dushku [Echo, to you].

What was that reunion between you and Tahmoh like?
Oh, it was great! Tahmoh is a very good friend. He took many of us under his wing in Vancouver on "Battlestar Galactica," showed us his backyard and introduced us to many great friends. So Tahmoh and I are very close. He even lived in my place [in L.A.] last year when he was shooting "Dollhouse." It was a real thrill to see him comfortable and very much as the vanguard of Joss' new creation. It was a privilege -- and we got to punch each other as well.

Spoiler alert! Your character is, to put it lightly, not a good guy.

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'Dollhouse': Joss Whedon says unaired 'Epitaph One' will guide Season 2

Despite not-so-hot ratings, "Dollhouse" got a second-season reprieve and will embark on its new journey Sept. 25. Whew!

After some tense moments for creator Joss Whedon and Whedonites everywhere, Whedon sat down -- maybe he was sitting; this was a phone interview -- to talk with Show Tracker about upping the ante for Season 2, how he writes for his audience, his extracurriculars and his film "Cabin in the Woods."

Show Tracker: What was the first thing you did when you found out that "Dollhouse" was renewed?

Joss5_k0tq4inc

Joss Whedon:
 I'm not afraid to say panic. I'm not too much of a man to use the words "completely panic." The first thing I did, even before it was totally official, was go out to a restaurant, which is where I do most of my writing, and write down everything I thought about what Season 2 would be, and sent it to the writers. I wrote down everything that I thought would be useful -- what we hadn't had enough of, what I thought had clicked, what we could improve -- and also things that excited me about the second season. Once I had that memo out to the writers I felt like I was ready for anything. I wasn't but it was cute that I thought so.

What was the second thing you did?

Well, I'd had a few drinks by the end of that memo and I'm not allowed to tell you anything. What happens in Vancouver is nobody's business.

The dolls are becoming self-aware....

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'Dollhouse' second-season premiere moved

Dollhouse-Eliza-DushkuFans of Joss Whedon's world of intrigue, dolls/actives, mysterious government organizations and Zen-like settings will have to wait an extra week to see the new season of his and Eliza Dushku's Fox show "Dollhouse."

The premiere episode, written and directed by Whedon, will air Friday, Sept. 25, instead of the previously announced Sept. 18.  No exact word yet on whether the night's other debuting shows, "Brothers" and "Til Death," are being pushed back.

The show will also have a presentation at Comic-Con International with Whedon and Dushku attending, and will screen the fabled 13th episode.

-- Jevon Phillips

'American Idol?' It's all about 'Dollhouse'

Elzabend

Say this out loud, to the tune of "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia:" "Dollhouse, Dollhouse, Dollhouse."

Fox's top brass held a conference call with reporters on Monday to announce next season's schedule. You'd think Adam Lambert or Kara DioGuardi or just the words, "American Idol,"  would have come up frequently in the discussion. Or maybe Jack Bauer and "24," which concludes tonight in an exciting two-hour finale.

Nah.

The press, largely in like with Joss Whedon, was fixated on "Dollhouse."  Word had already gotten out over the weekend that Fox was renewing the low-rated series that premiered with high expectations, but reporters wanted to know what factors persuaded Fox President of Entertainment Kevin Reilly to take another chance on it.

Reilly, who has always been open about his admiration for the popular TV scribe and director, said simply:  "This is a bet on Joss Whedon."

The series, Reilly noted, may not be a hit, but it is one of the top shows viewed by DVR users, and executives find that encouraging.

"It’s a bet on creativity," Reilly added. "You know how inspired Joss Whedon is, and it’s a bet on Joss. . . . That was a pattern for us that we liked, betting on Joss, and I think we’ll continue to see it grow into next season."

Eight weeks into his new job, Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice agreed: 

"We think we can grow the show," Rice said. "The show became much stronger creatively during the course of the season. Joss feels very energized about it, and we believe in him as a creator. We feel he can build the show and grow in the new season and that Friday is a good place for it to do that."

So did Jon Nesvig, Fox's president of sales, who said that advertisers "love" "Dollhouse" and "we love having a scripted Friday night."

Reilly said that for him it was never a choice between "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," which was canceled, and "Dollhouse." He also didn't want to create a completely new lineup for Friday nights in the fall.

"I’d venture to say that if we put on new shows on Friday night in particular there would be a lot of cynicism — well, wait you’re creating an entire new night of television?" Reilly said. "Not to mention, if we had canceled Joss’ show, I’d probably have 110 million e-mails this morning. So if you have something that has a core that you believe is working, it’s better than taking a wild play."

--Maria Elena Fernandez

--Photo: Eliza Dushku Credit: David Strick/Los Angeles Times

 

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