Sunday, April 10, 2011

Echo Alert [AAC]: Episode 39 - "Epitaphs"

This week, Faith and Frank cover the Dollhouse one-shot issue "Epitaphs" from Dark Horse Comics! Along with Dolhouse news and a report on the end of #EpitaphMarch!

[AAC]/[Length: 43:37]
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Echo Alert [MP3]: Episode 39 - "Epitaphs"

This week, Faith and Frank cover the Dollhouse one-shot issue "Epitaphs" from Dark Horse Comics! Along with Dolhouse news and a report on the end of #EpitaphMarch!

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Epitaph March: Week Three (2.01-2.06)

"This is the Dollhouse, frienemy"

I'm sorry this post is so late.  There was this thing with life and the deadlines and the . . . yeah . . . you don't care.  So on we go! Dollhouse season two, baby!

As much as I love season one I really love season two.  Paul is Echo's handler, Wesley Senator Perrin is out to bring down the Dollhouse (or is he), there's a terminator trying to kill the vampire slayer, and worst of all, Topher has feelings!  And that's just the first half of the season.

I don't think there is an episode in this batch that I don't find instantly rewatchable.  Though I must say, going wedding dress shopping right after watching Vows made me feel more than a little inadequate.  I love that several of these episodes center around characters other than Echo.  I really like Echo, but Dollhouse follows the same pattern as all of Joss' shows, we love the title character, but it's the development of the other characters that makes it so much fun.

I'm sure that if I put the call out for favorite episode from this batch a lot of people would say Belonging.  And I admit, I love that episode too, but I have to say my favorite is Belle Chose.  I mean, how can you not absolutely love Kiki?  She just feels like "dancin."  Even if she's in a man's body.  I forget how much I love Enver's acting until I watch season two.  His best impressions were in this week.  First as the lovable Kiki and then as Topher's "back door man."  I know I wasn't the only one who was a little crushed to hear that he did not get the part in the new season of Torchwood, but I know his talent won't go overlooked for long.

I don't have access to whatever Frank used to do those screen captures of our twitter feed last week.  Everyone who has joined us in the rewatch has had great observations.  I'm really excited to finish this out with all of you.

One last thing.  I linked this on our twitter page, but I wanted to clue you guys in to some of the academic side of the Whedonverse.  The online journal Slayage just celebrated its 10th anniversary.  It is an online academic journal that publishes PhD level articles about tv studies, primarily Buffy.  If you're interested I recommend reading this article about Belle Chose.  My English professor has it on her Chaucer class' syllabus.  How cool is that?!

Alright, time to get back to work.  Barely more than a week left until the comic!



Sunday, March 13, 2011

Epitaph March: Week Two (1.07-1.13)

By Frank

"Carrots! Medicinal carrots! Personal-use medicinal carrots that were here when I moved in and I'm holding it for a friend!"

Well it's hard to believe, but we're already halfway through our "Epitaph March" Dollhouse rewatch event, and things are going extremely well! If you've been following along, you should now have watched through the end of season one and the bonus episode 1.13 "Epitaph One."

For me, the most exciting element in the back half of Season 1 is the common thread that is Alpha. His presence is felt in the first half of the season, moving the pieces into place, preparing things for his shocking arrival at the Dollhouse. But in this second half of the season, things really ramp up and we get treated to some really epic stuff. Let's start by taking a look at 1.11 "Briar Rose," shall we?

Not only do we get the brilliant symbolism of Sleeping Beauty throughout this episode, not only do we get to watch Echo work with a young girl to confront her past, but we see Stephen Kepler, the man who designed the Dollhouse. Or at least that's who he claims to be. Alan Tudyk's performance was truly stunning and gave fans an idea of just how versatile an actor he is. Then we get to 1.12 "Omega" and everything goes to Hell! From the paranoid and agoraphobic Kepler to the maniacal and insane Alpha with 43 personalities, Tudyk is completely convincing and in control. He always has command of the audience's emotions, sometimes being nerdy and endearing, and other times acting so evil it's downright scary.

Meanwhile, we continue to explore the implications of externalizing a woman's personality from her body to the point where the Caroline wedge becomes as important as the woman herself. But seriously, Topher. As one nerd to another, you always keep an extra set of backup drives in another location, dude! That's Digital Personality Asset Management 101!

By the time we jump 10 years and see the chaotic "Epitaph One" future, we think nothing can surprise us anymore. And yet, Joss pulls it off. Echo is a distinct person. Whiskey has lost every conceivable one of her marbles. Adele is somehow motherly. And Topher is just plain broken. This episode confuses so many people, it's no wonder it didn't air on TV. But it's the first major hint Joss gives us as to what he really wants to do with the Dollhouse concept. He challenges us viewers to look at humanity in a new way and ask ourselves questions we would normally never think to ask.

Season 1 was admittedly a slow build. It took its time laying the groundwork for an epic last few episodes that finally started to make sense of all the odds and ends we were fed at the beginning. By the end, those of us who stuck around were satisfied and couldn't wait for Season 2. Thinking back on those days just gets me excited again. And apparently you guys had plenty to say! Here are some of the thoughts you listeners (and cast members!) shared as you followed the rewatch with us on Twitter:

What did you think? Did you enjoy experiencing the end of Season 1 again? Sound off in the comments below! In the meantime, get ready because week three starts today! We'll be watching and tweeting episodes 2.01 "Vows" through 2.06 "The Left Hand!" all week! Share your reactions by tweeting us at @echoalert or emailing us at! See you next week!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Epitaph March: Week One (1.01-1.06)

By Faith (the Vampire Slayer)

"Dollhouse. Dollhouse! Doll-freaking-house!"

Going back and rewatching these episodes after watching season 2 a few times has been very eye-opening. Every time I go through them I notice something new. I hope you have enjoyed keeping up with my viewing progress via our twitter feed. We've sparked some interesting dialogue, especially about these early episodes that people generally don't like.

What can I say about the first six episodes? I never had a big problem with them. I think that is mostly because I had been a Whedon fan for a while by the time the show started, so I'd learned that with his shows you have to let the main idea develop before he hits you over the head with something spectacularly amazing. At the same time, I'm not the choosiest of tv fans. I don't watch a lot of what is on tv, but if it's smart and fun I'll watch it (though I've been known to watch episodes of shows like The Bachelor simply for the mockability factor). But there's something to be said for the unique intelligence of a Whedon show.

The first six episodes give us stories about lust, fear, sorrow, greed, and joy. At this point we know that the Dollhouse is evil. Or at least it should be. They are trafficking human beings, whoring them out to the highest bidder, and often putting them at serious risk (of course that could just be Echo's penchant for danger coupled with Alpha's obsession with her, but more on that in a sec). But at the same time they seem to be safer than the outside world. They protect the dolls (well, most of them), they care for the dolls, they provide them with insanely good food, exercise, and a sense of security. Some of them even seem to have compassion and personal concern for the dolls (we'll get into that soon too, promise). This has to be one of the most morally confusing shows on television. And I know I'm not alone when I say I love this about the show.

Rewatching these episodes gave me a deeper appreciation of the show in a lot of ways. For example, episode 1.02, The Target. People hate on this episode all the time, and I admit to some frustration myself with the pace of plot development. But, rewatching it this time, I realized that this episode is really the story of Alpha. We still don't know if he's alive or much about him aside from the fact he's scary insane, but he is the hidden star of the story. He's the one who engineered this engagement and was the puppeteer behind the scenes. Interspersing the flashbacks throughout the main storyline just further emphasises this. I doubt I'm the first one to think of this, but it just became apparent to me how much he really is the star of the first season.

1.06, Man on the Street, is that episode that we all waited for. That game changer we were promised that would blow our minds. For me, the Joel Minor engagement is still my favorite. Patton Oswalt did such a good job of bringing a sweetness to the character. Plus, "PORN!" Need I say more?

Millie, played by our much beloved Miracle Laurie, was my favorite character from the start. I found the character totally believable and ratable. And then she turned out to be a doll. Am I the only one who didn't see that coming? I guess I should have because, hello, it's Joss. But I always end up saying that after the fact. I'm too willing to buy into whatever storyline he is going to use this time to break my heart.

I asked on our twitter feed where people watched the show for the first time. I wasn't officially part of the podcast yet, so I didn't get to engage you guys in any kind of "OMG IT'S HERE" spazzage when it started. A lot of people said they watched it on tv and then immediately bought the dvds to watch it again. I myself watched it at my professor's house. I know, sounds crazy, but that's the kind of awesome rossum possum world in which I live.

Well, I have rambled on far too long. I hope your rewatches are going well. Please send us your thoughts on twitter or through email. And if you are tweeting your own viewing, be it your first or fiftieth time, add the #EpitaphMarch hash tag so I can see what you think. I know we have a great group of listeners who have way more intelligent and interesting thoughts than I do. And if we've learned nothing else this week, you now know a little bit too much about how much I notice and covet shoes.


Monday, February 28, 2011

Echo Alert [MP3]: Episode 38 - Challenge Accepted

Faith and Frank issue a challenge to Dollhouse fans everywhere: let's all rewatch both seasons over the next 4 weeks just in time for the release of the Dollhouse comic book from Dark Horse Comics! Listen for details on how you can get involved and be featured on our site!

Watch along with us!
Week 1: Watch up to 1x06 "Man on the Street" by March 6
Week 2: Watch up to 1x13 "Epitaph One" by March 13
Week 3: Watch up to 2x06 "The Left Hand" by March 20
Week 4: Watch up to 2x13 "Epitaph Two" by March 27

Share feedback on your rewatch to be featured on our blog!

Tweet us: @echoalert
Email us:

[MP3]/[Length: 22:04]
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Echo Alert [MP3]: Episode 37 - Dollhouse Meltdown! (Part 1)

Frank is joined by Hunter Camp of and to discuss his recent experience with watching Dollhouse Season 1 for the first time.

[MP3]/[Length: 44:34]
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