I’ve been following the new TV series “Dollhouse.” Normally, its premise wouldn’t capture me, but as a recently converted fan of the creator, Joss Whedon (Firefly, R.I.P.), I found myself bound to at least giving it a shot.

I’m hopeful that this show could become something great.

The basic premise is that an underground organization recruits, wipes all memory and personality from its new hires, and then imprints them with other personalities and skills, as needed by the high-paying customer. The show focuses mainly upon the heroine, Echo. We see that, during an “engagement,” she may save the world, deliver a baby, or fall in love.

In between “engagements” she is somewhat of a vegetable. She, of herself, now has no personality, dreams, hopes, goals, or even memory. However, we see what she could be by viewing her as other people, as she is programmed throughout the series.

I’ve developed an interest in the character, fairly similar to the way you would feel after briefly meeting a potential new friend. If only you could know more about them. It’s a mix of hope and trepidation.

So you observe this character every week in a different light. And you really like her. But it isn’t her. So the question becomes, which life would make the “real” her happy? If one of the imprints became permanent, would she find contentment? Would it even be a real life? If you cut her, she still bleeds. The feelings of happiness and grief are real to her, so doesn’t that make it real?

What is a life? What determines our outcome: is it programming? Perspective? Expectations? What makes anything real? Are we what we could be? What could we accomplish if we believed it were possible?

I don’t know, but it’s given me something to think about, and that’s what I like to see from media.

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