Ok, the best way to describe this show so far is that it makes me pee. What does that mean, you ask? Well, it could mean that I like Joss Whedon so much that every time he does something, the little girl inside me loses all bladder control and I wet my pants. (Not a bad guess) Or, it could mean that the show is well done and tense.
Sorry to disappoint everyone, but the second answer is the correct one. Of course, I do love me some Joss. Firefly was one of my favorite shows for that whole season that it was on.
So episode 1 of Dollhouse starts of with a confusing interview between two people we don't know at all yet and they don't seem to use names or anything to help us out. Thanks. The gist of the interview is that Eliza Dushku (who I'm sick of being told is attractive. I can't quite put my finger on it, but her face bothers me. I'll keep you posted as I work on better articulating my dislike for her face.) did something bad and she's facing the consequences, but anonymous-older-lady is offering her a way out with a tone that suggests major strings are attached.
Next thing you know, we're in the midst of a motorcycle "race." I put "race" in quotes because in spite of the director's best efforts, they are clearly moving along at the break neck pace of 3-5 miles per hour (that's 4-8 kilometers per hour for everyone else not in the US.). At one point, Eliza dumps her bike, no doubt because it's hard to keep those things upright when moving along at the pace of a two legged horse, then tosses off her helmet because that's obviously why she couldn't execute a ninety degree turn at top speed. This kind of devil may care attitude is clearly being used to show us that she no longer has to deal with the consequences of making poor choices. I can dig it. She takes off after the other motorcycle with hair all flowing in the wind. (by the way, anyone ever ridden a motorcycle before? Yeah, pretty much anything over 20 mph and you can barely keep your eyes open, much less race. But she's not subject to real world consequences, so no helmet it is! This kind of activity is heavily frowned on by my family. Sorry Eliza, just one of the many, many reasons it never would have worked out between us.)
After that, she has to go get her treatment. (I'm glossing over some stuff here because as your about to find out, it really doesn't matter.) We find out that "getting her treatment" basically means that her memory is erased. Seems normal enough. Everyone is calling her Echo now, so that must be her name. I can live with that. She gets released into a house where she has access to what I can only assume is top quality medical care. Being that I'm underemployed, I haven't been to a doctor in forever, so maybe things have changed. In any case, I get it, this is the dollhouse. It's a house full of dolls. Got it.
The rest of the show reveals what will likely play out for the rest of the series. Echo is a "doll" that gets programmed for "engagements." (don't call them missions!) She is given new personalities depending on what the client needs. These needs seem to range all the way from a romantic encounter to negotiating for the release of a kidnapped victim. I won't spoil too much, but it looks like Echo is having some issues with these memory wipes and there's a potential for someone (probably not a main character) to die in every episode. I'm ok with that.
That's not all though, we also have Battlestar Galactica's Helo (I'm not going to pretend like I know how to pronounce his real name) playing the part of Paul Ballard. He's a cop (probably not totally stable) who has been assigned the task of uncovering this Dollhouse, an assignment his superiors seem to think is a bit of a joke. I like him, but he seems like he could end up getting involved with one of these "Dolls" in the future which makes me think if he's not careful, he's always going to get typecast as the human that falls for the evil engineered beings on the other side.
So far, I'm enjoying this show. I like Joss. I like his style. I'm waiting for the musical episode. There's a few other characters on the show that I haven't gotten to yet, but I'm sure I'll get to know them better as the show goes on. Unless they die. Joss likes to kill important people in shows and I like that.