Third-episode verdict: Dollhouse

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 4

Time, I think, for a third-episode verdict on Dollhouse. Should I be withholding my verdict until later? Well, Eliza Dushku reckons the show only gets out from Fox’s interference and becomes great from episode six, but I’m not entirely sure I can stick with it that long.

See, in many ways, Dollhouse is a very bad show. It has a few redeeming qualities: mixed martial artist Tahmoh Penikett is always good for a fight scene; and the over-arching plot shows some signs of intrigue – indeed in the abysmal third episode, the five seconds of quality TV come from a reveal related to that plot, and the second episode was lifted to a far greater high than the other episodes by focusing on the Dollhouse itself, rather than the typically daft as a brush secret agent A-plot with that bloke from The Middleman.

But for the most part, it’s been really bad, mainly for all the reasons I listed in my first episode review. Eliza Dushku ain’t a great actress, Echo isn’t a character you can root for yet and neither are the ancillary staff – not even Amy Acker. And the “secret agent story of the week” has been invariably awful.

But, as young Eliza mentions, the episodes are going to become less self-contained from episode six onwards, so maybe it’ll be worth sticking with from then. I’m just not sure I want to be there.

Carusometer rating: 4
Prediction: Will be cancelled either before or at the end of the first season


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.