These were people Ballard thought he knew. If he hadn't ended up becoming involved with the Dollhouse, would he have begun feeling paranoid, wondering who else might be a Doll?
The idea of a place like the Dollhouse raises several ethical questions, but a key theme is one often explored in science fiction: a question of identity. In fact, two of my own short stories explore that theme.
Interviewed recently at fearnet.com, Eliza Dushku indicated that Echo "is becoming an entirely different character", and moving farther away from the personality of Caroline. Which raises a question: If Echo become self aware, and rejects aspects of Caroline, does she have any say in whether Caroline returns when the contract expires?
Dr. Claire Saunders (Amy Acker) is wrestling with a similar issue. Late last season, she discovered that she was a "Doll" named Whiskey, programmed with the persona of Dr. Saunders, following the real doctor's murder. Now she seems uncertain about whether she wants to know anything about her true self, let alone resume that identity.
Again, who decides? If "Dr. Saunders" hadn't learned the truth, would the Dollhouse have returned her true persona when her contract was up? Or would it have decided that "Dr. Saunders" was too valuable to let go? And who makes sure the Dollhouse honors its contracts?
Buffy, Angel and Firefly were all well-written, well-acted, intelligent shows. Dollhouse retains a lot of potential, but frankly, some of the more basic questions should already have been answered.
Another show worth noting, Supernatural, recently began its fifth season on the CW (Thursdays at 9). I like how it mixes urban legends, ghost stories, fables, and mythology. And the current storyline concerning Lucifer's release from Hell and a group of angels' involvement in that, so he can be defeated and the apocalypse brought on (because they believe God is either dead or has abandoned them), has possibilities. But it's a shame the writers are limiting themselves to judeo-Christian mythology. Since other mythologies have already played roles in the series, it'd have been more interesting if, say, the battle involved opposing forces in Zoroastrianism.
Which, for the record, pre-dates and has influenced Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
A mix of mythological characters would also have been interesting. For instance, if a group of archangels had helped precipitate events to release Loki in order to bring about Ragnarok.
But maybe Supernatural creator Eric Kripke and his team still have some surprises in store.
Copyright 2009 Patrick Keating.
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!