Sunday, March 1, 2009

TV is not reality

I have become a minor fan of the new Joss Whedon show, Dollhouse. The basic premise that there is a secret organization that is able to erase a person's mind and create a new personality They then take these "dolls" and rent them out to rich individuals to be whatever a client wants them to be from a hostage negotiator to a romantic fling. There have only been three episodes aired so far. It usually airs on Friday nights and since GG and I have been out the past two Friday nights when it is on, I was catching up on the episodes online today. It is not the greatest show ever and not my favorite Joss Whedon show, Firefly is my favorite, but it is a good show with an interesting concept, IMHO. After watching the first two episodes and then definitely after the third episode, I started to think that this would make a great one and off show, meaning one season and then the show is over. So it would be an extended miniseries, I am Ok with maybe a three year plan as long as the creator and writers know from the start the general arc of the characters and do not try to go all crazy and keep it on the air forever. I feel as though too many shows stay on for too long as American networks get too greedy and are not willing to let a show go off the air while it is still good. I have never seen Lost or Heroes, but both shows seem to be that they would have been great had they only lasted a season or two and then ended. Both shows just keep staying on and it seems to be dragging on even for fans of these shows, both seemed to have some issues with reviews and fans saying the show had lost their initial spark. (BBC seems to have figured this out and they regularly have shows that only last a season and are really good i.e. Jekyll.) So anyway, I am a fan of shows like Dollhouse having a specific story arc and not meandering all over the place, so I decided to look up the show and Joss Whedon specifically to see if this had been addressed. It appears as though Joss Whedon has in mind a five year story arc, which I think might be too long, but it might work out too. So that was the first complaint from many reviewers that I noticed, that this show would become repetitive after a few episodes. The comments commonly said there is no way you can keep a show like this on for an indefinite amount of time, there are only so many ways in which you can have a person becoming a lover, assassin or other such jobs for which they would be hired. I agree with this, but I had already thought of this and the fact that Joss Whedon does seem to have some kind of timeline in mind then meant I kind of ignored these complaints.

The second complaint and really the reason I am writing this post is that people complained that the show is not "real enough." There is no way that a person's mind can be erased and then have a whole new personality imprinted on them, well no shit. But what makes you think the show has to be based in reality. Lets review the previous Joss Whedon creations: Buffy the Vampire slayer, a group of young adults who slay vampires and other monsters; Angel, a vampire private investigator who fights monsters, demons, and other vampires; Firefly, a series about space cowboys. Do you notice anything about these three series? NONE OF THEM ARE BASED IN REALITY. Joss Whedon is not creating TV that is based in reality, he is creating TV that aims to be entertaining. And who said that TV has to be realistic. Even our "reality TV" is not realistic. Survivor, how many people do you know get stranded on an island with 19 other people to compete for a million dollars? Amazing Race, how many people do you know who are involved in a race around the world for a million dollars? Hell, how many people can afford to just fly all over the world who are not having their airline tickets and other expenses paid for by a TV network? Top Chef, chefs do not generally compete for a million dollars or by having to make all kinds of different types of food, most chefs cook based upon what restaurant they are working in serve. See, reality TV is not based entirely in reality, sure all of these shows have "regular" people and not actors and it can be argued that there are no scripts, but the shows are still manipulated in many other ways. So, since when do we judge TV based upon how based in reality it is? This annoys me when people say, "Oh that TV show is not real enough. or "the things that happen in that movie could not happen in real life." Unless it is a documentary, it is not supposed to be totally real, it is entertainment. If you do not like a show or movie, fine, but judging based upon if you believe that it either can or does happen in your everyday life is beyond moronic, IMHO.

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