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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Complete Season 2


Starring: Eliza Dushku, Harry Lennix, Fran Kranz, Tahmoh Penikett, Enver Gjokaj, Dichen Lachman and Olivia Williams
Twentieth Century Home Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 15
Available 11 October 2010

Ex-FBI agent Paul Ballard is desperate to free missing girl Caroline from the clutches of the Dollhouse; a secret organisation that preys on vulnerable men and women, and 'buys' their bodies for a period of three years. During this time their minds are wiped blank by the resident programming expert and they are imprinted with an infinite number of different personas; one to suit every new elite client that visits the 'house'... Ballard has been convinced (or coerced?) to work inside the house, and has become Caroline - codename Echo's - 'handler' and guardian. He soon realises that Echo's mind has not been wiped as cleanly as everyone thinks, and as she starts to remember the truth, they work together to uncover the real reason for the Dollhouse's power and influence...

Season two of Dollhouse is a completely different animal to what was built up in season one. There are probably a number of reasons for this. Firstly the show's creator, Joss Whedon, has already resigned himself to the show's cancellation after the first season - due to poor ratings and the fact that the network decided not to screen the season one finale. However, given a second season, Whedon knew they were on thin ice and so decided to just go for it.

Watching the extras in this collection, it seems that Whedon was planning that season three would see Echo, Victor and Sierra being sent out as a team on missions... whether Whedon was joking, or really was planning to go down that road is unclear, but it would have been interesting to find find out if the show had not been cancelled.

This season is darker and there's much more of an ongoing complex story arc - one that pays off well at it's conclusion. Yes, thankfully, the show is neatly rounded off and all the loose ends tied together. And Whedon doesn't do things by half. Well loved characters are killed off and there's more than a few surprises in store for those that have been following the show since the beginning. The final episode, Epitaph Two: Return, sees another trip into the future - this time to see our heroes attempt to save the world.

Extras include audio commentaries for two episodes (although it's worth watching the entire season before listening to these as Whedon lets loose a few spoils for the show's finale); Outtakes (5 min, 22 sec gag reel); Deleted Scenes (10 min, 09 sec); Defining Moments (12 min, 55 sec behind the scenes featurette that sees Whedon talking about how the show progressed and what hurdles he had to overcome); Looking Back (15 min, 33 sec chat with Whedon and the cast over dinner after the show was cancelled. They chat about what they enjoyed and got out of the show).

It's a shame that Whedon didn't get to do everything he wanted with this show (he bemoans the fact that the sexual element was all but cut from the series and that in hindsight it might have been better to have created a series that people actually wanted to watch) and that he wasn't given more time to play with his characters. But then we should be grateful that a second season was commissioned and that Whedon managed to tie everything up.


Darren Rea

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