If you’re a geek you’ve probably watched Buffy: The Vampire Slayer at some stage in the last 10 years or so. If you’re a bona fide geek you’ve probably seen Firefly and Serenity.

What do both these shows have in common? Other than lots of beautiful women… Joss Whedon!

Continuing his fine streak of sci-fi-fantasy-with-hot-girls we’ve just been treated to the first episode of Dollhouse, some kind of modern-day Matrix-esque action TV series. The first episodes asks more questions than it actually answers, so I can’t tell you a whole lot about the show other than this: it has potential!

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Even if the plot turns out to be weak, which I doubt, we still have Eliza Dushku to watch. It seems she’s been in a bunch of awful films since she left Buffy (and really, you want to avoid Wrong Turn like the plague, unless you have a weird hankerin’ for cannibalistic pygmies), but she certainly seems to be back in force for this new tasty television morsel. Unfortunately, most men that watch the show won’t be able to get past the impossibly short dress that she wears in the first scene (after taking off full biking leathers, no less), but her acting is pretty sharp — no doubt, given the premise of the show, she’ll be testing her characterisation abilities to the full (probably not as good as, or to the extent of Toni Collette in United States of Tara though).

Don’t worry though, it looks like it’ll be anything but weak — it might be, if anything, too complex — which is often a quick and easy way to be axed in America. Personally I like shows that don’t answer every question within the first 15 minutes and spend the next 22 episodes just repeating the same formulaic tripe. ‘Oh, another police station?’ ‘Ah, this crime-solver has a special power…’

We need more shows like The Wire, or Regenesis. Shows that encourage the viewer to actually engage in the story, to feel for the characters. We should be given more insights into other facets of real life, or perhaps alternate realities; anything to grow our awareness, rather than to dullen and shrink it.

I can understand the use of TV as ‘chewing gum for the eyes’, but when it comes to the stage that 90% of all high-rated TV shows in America are sitcoms… well, what we have there is a dumbing down of a nation — and the world, after the shows are inevitably globally syndicated.

Anyway, getting back to Dollhouse, it features an all-star cast, with Tahmoh Penikett (Helo from Battlestar Galactica) taking the second starring credit. He didn’t have much of a role in the first episode, but I imagine the later episodes will be a bit of a 50/50 split between Dushku looking beatiful and having weird engagements, and Penikett trying to unwrap the riddle of the Dollhouse.

There’s also Amy Acker from Alias, and Harry Lennix from… well, just about every American TV show in the last 15 years. But most importantly, just sneaking in at the end of the episode… Dichen Lachman! (What a crazy name, I know). You probably have no idea who she is — but me, being a fully-qualified red-blooded male know her as ‘that absolutely beautiful Asian-looking girl from Neighbours‘. Yes, she’s stepped up from that Australian soap to wield a rather big gun and blow some baddies away. No doubt we’ll get to see her in a kimono in future episodes… I will be sure to keep you updated.

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You can watch Dollhouse at 9pm on Fridays (USA), or download it from all reputable TV download websites!

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I am a tall, hairy, British writer who blogs about technology, photography, travel, and whatever else catches my eye.