Saturday, May 09, 2009

All Hail Joss

Sci-fi routinely deals with deeply philosophical questions in a way other genres just can't. The Mind-Body Problem and related issues of identity and personhood are forefront in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, the Borg race from the Star Trek franchise, the original Star Trek movie, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, The Matrix, Blade Runner, Terminator: Salvation (from what I gather from the ad campaign), and probably a dozen more I can't recall at the moment.

The season finale of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse series on Fox takes the mind-body problem, shakes it, turns it completely inside out, and sets it on fire. Individual episodes of Dollhouse might have been shaky, but the finale "Omega" was brilliant.

Self-aware dolls apart from their original selves or their imprints, references to Nietzche's √úbermensch concept, and the absurdity of Echo chasing down the "wedge" (hard drive) holding her original persona... what's not to like?

I'm not a full-bore Joss-o-phile, never watched Buffy or Angel, and thought Firefly was good but significantly shy of great. This, I'm all on board with.

Which, of course, means it will be canceled promptly.


UPDATE: 5/11 - Dollhouse didn't do too well in the E! "Save One Show" poll.
Terminator- 53%
Chuck - 25%
Dollhouse- 10%
Life- 8%
Privileged- 4%

(via Jonah Goldberg, who is apparently pro-Terminator)

This would have been a tough pick for me. I'm very pro Terminator and Dollhouse. I like Chuck, but think it's run its course and would suffer if extended. I wouldn't have thought Dollhouse was in such jeopardy just yet, but then again, it is Fox we're talking about here.

To paraphrase the Robert Oppenheimer/the Bhagavad Gita, "Now I am become Fox, destroyer of awesome shows."


Anonymous said...

For additional Mind-Body considerations, I strongly recommend "Dark City" by Alex Proyas (same director as 'The Crow'). It explores the theme as to whether a person is the sum of their memories or if the soul is actually something innately held within a human, separate from memories and environment.


JoeCollins said...

Never heard of it.

Memento was good, seemingly along similar lines, but not very sci-fi.

Anonymous said...

It flew under the radar somehow. Great cast, too, with William Hurt, Jennifer Connelly, Rufus Sewell, Keifer Sutherland, Jurgen Prochnow, etc.

I've watched it about 5 times. I'm not sure if I prefer the original version or the Director's Cut. They're both so good...