A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The Dollhouse is a highly illegal underground operation. Echo is a strong, powerful female character -- albeit one who's not wholly empowered, since the actives are implanted with new personalities before each dangerous secret missions (the personalities are erased after each outing, leaving the actives as blank slates who spend their downtime in a childlike state of innocence). An FBI agent has vowed to find the Dollhouse and shut it down.
Violence & Scariness
Plenty of action -- including martial arts fistfights and military-style assaults with machine guns and other weapons. Some characters are shot and killed, though there's not too much in the way of blood and gore.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some sex scenes that feature partially-clothed characters and touch on topics like bondage, though no sensitive body parts are shown. Some references to sex, and barely/scantily clad male and female characters are sometimes shown showering or changing -- though again, no sensitive body parts are visible.
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Language includes fairly infrequent use of words like "bitch" and "crap."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some social drinking at bars and nightclubs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this sci-fi/action series from the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer plays with the concept of identity. The Dollhouse's "actives" have no personality of their own; each is temporarily imprinted with another identity before a mission. Between jobs, they're left with no character at all, existing as childlike innocents. Those elements could appeal to teens, who are still in the process of figuring out who they are and what they want to be -- but it also means that the characters don't really gain enough traction to become role models. Expect some swearing ("bitch"), social drinking, and sex (nothing too sensitive is shown), and quite a lot of violence -- though relatively little blood.
Is It Any Good?
All of that adds up to a fascinating conceit for a series, giving creator Joss Whedon the freedom to take the show in just about any direction he wants while still providing a compelling framework to hook viewers who will want to know more about the Dollhouse operation. And fans aren't the only ones: FBI agent Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) is also trying to track down the Dollhouse, though his superiors are convinced he's wasting his time on an urban legend.
But it's no legend, and the idea that personalities and experiences can be archived and implanted into other people means that Whedon can place his characters into a huge variety of exciting situations while examining the very nature of what makes us human. Many producers would be happy enough to focus on the action possibilities, which would make Dollhouse just another spy series with a unique concept. But Whedon has track record of creating some of the most fully realized, original characters in recent years, which suggests that he plans to spend some time here evaluating the philosophical underpinnings of identity and reality. And he'll make it really cool.
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