Of course I was going to stick with the show. It has Amy Acker, people, and I'll watch anything for Amy, and I do mean anything. I started watching SPN because she guest starred. Really. And these days she's even prettier, as she filled out post-pregnancy, and she doesn't look like a gust of wind could sweep her away. (Eliza, however, does. When did Eliza get thinner than Amy? Honestly?). So, yeah, I was going to watch the show no matter how bad it turned out to be (and for the first few eps, it looked to be very bad indeed), but I'm glad it gets better. And better.
The premise itself is flawed. It's full of issues that no tv show that's supposed to be entertaining is ever going to tackle in the right way, the exploitation, the sexualisation of violence against women, the active role for the male characters, the male gaze, it's just the beginning.
The consent issues alone are making my head spin, and making me nauseated. It's not even dubious consent, it can't be argue that it is, despite some people trying to (I'm staying away from the boards now, because, really?) say that since the Actives sign the contracts giving the five years of their life, they consent to everything that happens to them during that time. Well, uhm, no. Part of the consent is the ability and possibility to withdraw it at any given time, and that's taken away from an Active. And that's only speaking of the so-called 'romantic' engagements, it gets more shadier the more you think of it.
But then, something happens in episode six, and the show calls our attention explicitly to the consent issues, introducing textually overt rape into the dollhouse (Sierra's handler raping her), and drawing a clear parallel between this, and what's being done to the Actives on a daily basis. Yes, hello show, thank you, finally.
And even though the rapist is caught and punished and killed, the consequences of the rape don't end there, we see the fallout and the long lasting effects.
And we see the attention drawn to the fact that the characters we're supposed to sympathise with the most, Ballard and Boyd, both have a clear vision of themselves as protectors and champions, effectively taking agency away from the women again. Ballard's vision of Echo/Caroline is a damsel in distress, and all his noble intentions of saving her don't disguise the fact that she is also a fantasy to him, and object of desire, not a sexual one, maybe, but an object nonetheless, the goal in his quest.
What I want for the show to do now, is to explain Boyd and Claire, who are presented as the ones with the conscience, and yet they continue to participate in the whole Dollhouse business. The show wants me to like them (and I do, based on the fact that they're played by Amy and by Harry Lennix, but that's not enough), but they hadn't given me a reason to.
All in all, I kind of started to get involved with the plot, and the last episode was actually very good, somehow in the vein of 'Band Candy' but with a darker core... It's good to no longer feel embarrassed for watching the series. Please continue on this note.
tl;dr: If you watched the first ep and found it lacking, try 1x06 and 1x07. It's almost like a different show.
Now, Sarah Connor Chronicles. Which continues to amaze me this season, and which I love like burning, because how many shows quote Virginia Woolf in the episode titles, and have kick-ass female characters with guns and emotions and mission and badassery? YES.
Can I just say that I'm floored with the awesome parallels between the Connors family unit (Sarah/John/Derek/Cameron) and the John Henry and his makeshift family (John Henry/Weaver/Elison/Savannah)? Certain turns of phrase make me squee and flail, and the indications for future are astounding.
Speaking of, I think it's been clear for a while now, that there's no real chance on erasing Skynet and preventing it's existence, what remains to be seen is, what Skynet would it be. The reveal of the second AI is fascinating, because so far we've been led to believe that John Henry was the baby Skynet, but he might not be.
And there's future!John, so far removed from the humanity, alone and an enigma to his followers, whose mistake with the Jimmy Carter was not predicting the human nature, who sees far enough to know that humanity's survival depends on cooperating with the machines and who doesn't understand human reactions, whose closest companion is Cameron...
(aside: Where's Kate Brewster? I imagine that the jump in time at the beginning of SCC made a relationship of her and John somehow unlikely, which is extremely sad, but she is a great part of the mythos for me, and I would love to see her)
And there's the constant exploring of what it is to be human, from John Henry and Cameron, from Elison and Sarah, and John; and the exploration of what it is to be machine, of how much the programming defines them, can it be overwritten, can rules be broken.
It's difficult to talk about the show without flailing and waving my hands a lot, but let me tell you, it can't get cancelled, it just can't. So of course I'm afraid that it will...