In this week’s episode of “Fringe”, the bad guy forces Agent Dunham to show off her psychic powers to remotely turn off light bulbs. Of course, Agent Dunham does not believe in psychic powers at all, let alone that she has them. The bad guy, however, tells her “Then I have something you don’t, Agent Dunham. I have faith in you.”
In this week’s episode of “Lost”, John Locke is trapped in a cave with a lovely compound fracture in his leg, and his spirit guide Christian Sheppard wants him to turn the big ol’ wooden wheel of time, collect his six friends and talk them into returning to Hell Island. The word “sacrifice” is used which makes Locke nervous; he doesn’t think he can do it. Christian tells him, “I have faith in you, John.”
Both of those are J. J. Abrams shows. But if those characters are searching for faith, they need to look to Friday nights, where Faith the Naughty Slayer has taken up a new job as a mind-wiped puppet solving crimes and kicking ass. (See what I did there?) “Dollhouse” looks complex and dark. Really really dark. You may have thought that a show about living over the mouth to Hell and killing vampires for a living (i.e., “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) was dark but that’s just peanuts compared to Joss Whedon’s follow-up, “Dollhouse”. The creepy submissiveness of the blank-slate Echo, played so well by Eliza Dushku, sets me on edge and makes me eager to see her get some retribution for being put into this position. Actually, from even the very first scene of pre-mind-wiped pre-Echo being recruited for this “job”, Dushku does an eerie good job of showing someone who thinks they have no other options but to… yes, submit… to this 5-year contract. Have I used the word “creepy” enough? It all gets darker from there.
Between Mr. Abrams and Mr. Whedon, I’m getting more than my weekly dose of well-written, well-plotted dark sci-fi. Which is a good thing, considering that “Battlestar Galactica” only has five more episodes left.
It truly is a good time to be a fan of dark sci-fi filmed episodic television.