SciFi Weekend: Dolls, Olivia’s Ability, The Boss’s Daughter, Summer Glau’s Big Bang, And A Red-Headed Lesbian


After quite a bit of hype, Josh Wheden’s new show, Dollhouse, premiered on Friday. It takes quite a bit of suspension of disbelief to accept the premise of the show. As with many science fiction shows, you first must accept that a private organization can do something which is beyond our science. In this case we have an organization which can wipe people’s minds clear and replace their memories with the memories of others. In this way they create a new personality to satisfy the requirements of whatever rich person is employing them for the episode.

In the first episode a girl (Caroline, played by Eliza Dushku) agrees to work for this organization in exchange for getting out of unspecified legal problems. She is told that after five years she will be free. Will her memories be returned? How can she even know this deal will be kept? What of the new identity created over the five years in between jobs? After having her memories wiped, she first becomes a biker chick to give someone the perfect date, and then becomes an expert in hostage negotiation.

Even accepting that the science of the show is plausible, there are other problems with the premise. It would probably be easier (and safer legally) to hire a biker chick and a real expert in hostage negotiations for the clients as opposed to running this operation. Even if the company finds benefits in operating in this manner, why would someone whose daughter was kidnapped hire a person who only has created memories of being a hostage negotiator as opposed to someone with actual experience? We have a steady supply of rich people who are aware of this service, but the FBI agent investigating it is having difficulty even proving it exists.

One of the many strengths of the show is that it looks like it has an excellent chance for success despite all of these holes in the premise. If they can keep the viewers entertained they will be willing to accept the premise of the show and continue watching. There are avenues left open for future episodes. In the first episode, the actual memories of one of the girls used to create the hostage negotiator became important to the story and presumably other memories will have an impact in future episodes. Over time Echo, as the brain wiped Caroline is now called, is likely to develop more of her own personality and this could also  surface during missions. Perhaps some of Caroline’s original memories will even return. Echo has a handler played by Harry Lennix) who seems quite protective of her, which I can see creating conflict with others involved in this organization.


While there are still many mysteries to be revealed in the final episode, we learned a lot about the history of the final five in this week’s episode of Battlestar Galactica. The information was given both by Anders who, in a situation which appeared overly contrived, has his memories of life on Earth return as a consequence of the bullet in his brain. At the same time Cavill, who now appears responsible for much which has happened, reminisces about the past with a captive Ellen after she is resurrected.


We also learn a little more on Lost along with seeing the death of one character. The intended big shock of the episode was that Daniel Faraday’s mother is Eloise Hawking. While Ben appeared surprise, fans have been predicting this turn of events. We also learn from Christian that when Locke was told, “you have to move the island” this literally meant Locke and not Ben. The most amusing line of the episode was when everyone looked towards Miles, as the only other Asian present, to translate for Jin. Miles was unable to translate, pointing out that, “Um, he’s Korean. I’m from Encino.”


Fringe provided some more hints about where the series is going. It appears that traveling through different dimensions, and the problems this creates, is of major significance. We also find that Olivia was injected with an experimental drug as a child and has some psychic abilities. It was clever to see the light box first used as a test and then again as the means to stop the explosion. I’ve been ambivalent about this series from the start. Now that they got me a bit more interested the show is going on hiatus yet again.


Life on Mars dealt more with the potential complications of Sam sleeping with the boss’s daughter than the reasons for him being back in the 1970’s. One idea was thrown out, without any evidence that it applied to Sam, by a guy who running the X-Files at the FBI before Agent Mulder. Reference awas made to aliens who abduct people and return them to Earth in different time periods. It turned out that aliens were not involved in the apparent abduction of Rocket Girl in this episode, and I suspect they were not involved in Sam’s case either.


Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles returned from hiatus this week, and Summer Glau fans will soon have an additional chance to see her. Entertainment Weekly reports that Glau will be appearing on one of the top comedy shows now on television, Big Bang Theory:

The Sarah Connor Chronicles siren will play herself in the March 9 episode, the set-up of which already has me ROFWLing: A train trip to San  Francisco takes a major detour when Leonard, Sheldon, Wolowitz, and Raj discover that their favorite sci-fi actress in all the land is on board. But the fanboy frenzy quickly gives way to a heated mass debate (tee-hee) when they realize one of them will have to approach her — but who?

Sarah Gilbert will also be returning in her role as Leslie Winkle when Big Bang Theory returns with new issues on March 2.


With Bruce Wayne apparently dead there is conflict as to who will replace Batman. The Independent reports that upcoming episodes of Detective Comics will feature Kathy Kane. The character was originally developed in the 1950’s as a potential love interest to counter rumors that Bruce Wayne was gay. The character changed over time, and is now described as “a lesbian socialite by night and a crime-fighter by later in the night.”

Although Kane has enjoyed only fleeting appearances in Batman comics since being “outed”, writer Greg Rucka – who is in charge of this summer’s run of Detective Comics – said Bruce Wayne’s apparent death had provided the perfect opportunity to make her the subject of his prestigious series.

“We have been waiting to unlock her. It’s long overdue,” he said in an interview with the Comic Book Resources website. “Yes, she’s a lesbian. She’s also a redhead. It is an element of her character. It is not her character. If people are going to have problems with it, that’s their issue. That’s certainly not mine.”

Besides Kathy Kane, we learn that with Bruce Wayne apparently dead, “future editions will revolve around a selection of potential heirs, including Batwoman, Catwoman and Bruce Wayne’s purported son, Damien, fighting to succeed him.” I would not be at all surprised to see it all end with the return of Bruce Wayne.

Bush Lawyers Might Face Disciplinary Over Role In Torture

Despite their attempts at secrecy, it looks like the people at the Justice Department during the Bush years left more of a trail than they would have liked. The Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the development of legal advice in the Justice Department which gave the Bush administration legal cover to break the law.

Newsweek found that, “One of the lawyers said he was stunned to discover how much material the investigators had gathered, including internal e-mails and multiple drafts that allowed OPR to reconstruct how the memos were crafted.” The OPR  is investigating whether  “the memo’s authors deliberately slanted their legal advice to provide the White House with the conclusions it wanted.”

They report further on a Justice Department report:

An internal Justice Department report on the conduct of senior lawyers who approved waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics is causing anxiety among former Bush administration officials. H. Marshall Jarrett, chief of the department’s ethics watchdog unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), confirmed last year he was investigating whether the legal advice in crucial interrogation memos “was consistent with the professional standards that apply to Department of Justice attorneys.” According to two knowledgeable sources who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive matters, a draft of the report was submitted in the final weeks of the Bush administration. It sharply criticized the legal work of two former top officials—Jay Bybee and John Yoo—as well as that of Steven Bradbury, who was chief of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the time the report was submitted, the sources said. (Bybee, Yoo and Bradbury did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

But then–Attorney General Michael Mukasey and his deputy, Mark Filip, strongly objected to the draft, according to the sources. Filip wanted the report to include responses from all three principals, said one of the sources, a former top Bush administration lawyer. (Mukasey could not be reached; his former chief of staff did not respond to requests for comment. Filip also did not return a phone message.) OPR is now seeking to include the responses before a final version is presented to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. “The matter is under review,” said Justice spokesman Matthew Miller.

If Holder accepts the OPR findings, the report could be forwarded to state bar associations for possible disciplinary action. But some former Bush officials are furious about the OPR’s initial findings and question the premise of the probe. “OPR is not competent to judge [the opinions by Justice attorneys]. They’re not constitutional scholars,” said the former Bush lawyer. Mukasey, in speeches before he left, decried the second-guessing of Justice lawyers who, acting under “almost unimaginable pressure” after 9/11, offered “their best judgment of what the law required.”

But the OPR probe began after Jack Goldsmith, a Bush appointee who took over OLC in 2003, protested the legal arguments made in the memos. Goldsmith resigned the following year after withdrawing the memos, and later wrote that he was “astonished” by the “deeply flawed” and “sloppily reasoned” legal analysis in the memos by Yoo and Bybee, including their assertion (challenged by many scholars) that the president could unilaterally disregard a law passed by Congress banning torture.