To me, Dollhouse's ongoing mythology has always been the most intriguing part, and certainly the most original element of the series, shining brighter than some of the hour-long stories that have sent programmable heroine Echo (Eliza Dushku) into somewhat familiar perils.
In one installment she was assigned to pose as the fiance of a hunter who tried to make her his prey. In another she was part of a heist team that wound up trapped in the vault they were pillaging, but those contained stories are really side dishes.
Revelations in "Man On The Street" suggest a much more twisty plot ahead for Echo, a college student whose personality was wiped in order to make her one of the "dolls" --human robots of the shadowy title organization that provides wealthy clients with hot escorts, body guards or backup singers, all customized by science-fictiony techniques that print new personalities and capabilities on the empty human vessels.
Some series might stop with just that premise, but Dollhouse stirs the pot with Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett, Battlestar's Helo), one of those rogue, obessive FBI agents, working outside channels in pursuit of answers in a closed case tied to what many superiors believe is an urban myth.
Just as he did with the seemingly cheesy premise of Buffy, Whedon has crafted a unique and offbeat episodic serial. It's not given to the heavy breathing the premise might suggest, especially with the dual motives that seem to be simmering in Dollhouse franchise manager Adelle (Olivia Williams), who's flanked by Laurence Dominic (Homicide's Reed Diamond at his most sinister) and Echo's "handler," the earnest and ethical Boyd Langton (Harry Lennix). It's actually quite a well-rounded ensemble. Especially when nerdy imprint-wrangler Topher (Fran Kranz) is thrown in.
Top all that with generous doses of kung fu, and you've got an entertaining mixture.
Here's hoping the show gets the cable back-up deals needed to survive. It's TV-in-the-den-worthy viewing, for sure.