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Joss Whedon Returns to the Small Screen: DOLLHOUSE

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Oh my god you guys, SHINY!!! There's breaking news coming from the Whedon-verse, and it spells nothing but J-O-Y.

Your very favorite sci-fi auteur Joss Whedon will be returning to the small screen in 2008 with a new sci-fi drama called "Dollhouse," starring former "Buffy" star Eliza Dushku.

There's already a fan website up called Dollverse (Joss's fans are as obsessive as they are web-savvy), and they're posting daily updates as the program develops. Tim Minear, Whedon's right-hand man on the "Firefly" set, will also be involved.

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The Dollverse website describes the show as follows:

The show centers on Echo, as she slowly begins to develop some self-awareness, which impacts her missions. Echo is a young woman who is literally everybody's fantasy. She is one of a group of men and women who can be imprinted with personality packages, including memories, skills, language—even muscle memory—for different assignments. The assignments can be romantic, adventurous, outlandish, uplifting, sexual and/or very illegal. When not imprinted with a personality package, Echo and the others are basically mind-wiped, living like children in a futuristic dorm/lab dubbed the Dollhouse, with no memory of their assignments—or of much else. The show revolves around the childlike Echo's burgeoning self-awareness, and her desire to know who she was before, a desire that begins to seep into her various imprinted personalities and puts her in danger both in the field and in the closely monitored confines of the Dollhouse.

Dushku is also a producer on the series. She explained that she had signed a development deal with Fox before approaching Whedon; the show's concept evolved naturally out of a conversation between the two. Whedon is no stranger to creating shows around powerful, complex female characters, and while Dushku's acting chops have never been particularly impressive, Whedon has certainly spun gold out of dross in the past (Sarah Michelle Gellar, anybody?).

Fox has already green-lit seven episodes of the show, although there's still no word on how the writers' strike might affect production -- if all goes well, expect the show to air next spring. However, strikes coupled with Fox's lamentable history handling the genius-but-cancelled Firefly do not add up to the most auspicious beginnings for this new project -- but here's hoping that the inimitable, brilliant, and endearing Whedon gets a cozy little sci-fi show to call his own (can you tell I'm a huge fan?).

Now if only they could get Nathan Fillion's butt to do a little cameo....

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Fan artwork courtesy of