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Dollhouse: Season One (Blu-ray and DVD)

Manufacturer: Fox Home Entertainment
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided NewTechReview with a NFR unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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I came across Dollhouse when season one first aired on Fox TV. I made it through the first three episodes and decided that although it starred the alluring Eliza Dushku, the show itself wasn't worth watching… so I stopped. The season passed and the season one Blu-ray was announced. A friend informed me that although the show had a slow start, the rest of the season was excellent. So, when the Blu-ray was released I got my hands on a copy and proceeded to watch. I'm glad I did.

Dollhouse: Season One
Verbiage off the Blu-ray box: "From Joss Whedon, creative mastermind behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, comes the provocative Dollhouse, a sexy, suspenseful thriller starring the stunningly talented Eliza Dushku. As an 'Active,' the mysterious Echo (Dushku) serves as an unwitting agent of Dollhouse, an illegal underground organization that provides its elite clientele with programmable human beings. Actives receive personality imprints, allowing them to temporarily become anyone or anything – the perfect burglar, lover, spy, or assassin. Now, with the FBI and her own shadowy past closing in, Echo must face a rogue Active who will stop at nothing to bring Dollhouse down – forever."

The season starts off with Echo going on various missions, programmed as a different person in each episode. And while it's interesting at first, it becomes a bit monotonous during the initial episodes. Luckily, later episodes begin to allude to the fact that the Dollhouse is actually more than it seems to be and more interesting storylines are formed along with the underlying mystery of the Active codenamed Alpha who is out to destroy the Dollhouse. As the episodes progress, you are taken on a wild ride with a fantastic final episode ("Epitaph One") that you can only see on DVD or Blu-ray because it was never aired on TV. This one episode out of all the rest will make you want to see a second season, and thankfully Fox is letting Whedon continue on this journey.

Dollhouse: Special Features
There's not much to say about the quality of the Blu-ray video and audio because they are excellent. Also, both the Blu-ray and DVD provide the same special features, so the main reason for buying the Blu-ray is the high-definition. All the Blu-ray special features are hi-def and in terms of content, some are good and some are just okay. NOTE: Be sure to watch all the episodes first before going through the special features because they contain spoilers… you've been warned.

* Audio Commentaries: There are three audio commentaries (one on each disc) corresponding to the following episodes: Ghost, Man on the Street, and Epitaph One. For Ghost, we get commentary from Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku. For Man on the Street and Epitaph One, we get commentary from writers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. All of the commentaries are good, but they tend to ramble a bit, which can be a little annoying.

* Making Dollhouse: Other than the two additional unaired episodes, this special feature is the best of them all… providing an in-depth behind-the-scenes documentary of the making of the show by Joss Whedon himself. It's very informative and every Whedon fan will want to watch it. This is also the special feature that contains the most spoilers, so watch it after all the episodes.

* Other Special Features: There's a large collection of deleted scenes (30 minutes worth) that are interesting to watch and they do fill in some of the storylines. There are also some short (5 to 7 minute) featurettes: A Private Engagement (a discussion about the Dollhouse technology); Coming Home (cast and crew talking about working with Joss Whedon); Finding Echo (Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku talk about working together again on Dollhouse); Designing the Perfect Dollhouse (a tour of the Dollhouse set and a discussion about its design). And there are the Original Unaired Pilot and the Unaired Bonus Episode (Epitaph One).

The Dollhouse is Delightfully Delicious
Even though it got off to a slow start with the first few episodes, Dollhouse: Season One has proven to be a fascinating ride through an intriguing storyline with plenty of action, suspense, and mystery to keep any Whedon fan happy. Eliza Dushku fills the part of Echo very nicely and shares the spotlight very well with a full cast of exceptional characters. If you watch the first season from beginning to end (with the final episode being Epitaph One), I can guarantee you'll be eagerly awaiting the second season.

For more information:
* Dollhouse: Season One (Blu-ray 3-Disc Set)
* Dollhouse: Season One (DVD 4-Disc Set)
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