Joss Whedon is heading back to TV-- along with his "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" ingenue, Eliza Dushku.
Dushku will star in the Whedon-penned series "Dollhouse," which has been given a seven-episode order by Fox. News came as an extra-big Halloween treat for Whedon fans, considered some of the most passionate in all of TV.
Produced by 20th Century Fox TV -- the studio also behind "Buffy," "Angel" and Whedon's late, lamented "Firefly"-- "Dollhouse" follows a top-secret world of people programmed with different personalities, abilities and memories depending on their mission.
After each assignment -- which can be physical, romantic or even illegal -- the characters have their memories wiped clean, and are sent back to a lab (dubbed the "Dollhouse"). Show centers on Dushku's character, Echo, as she slowly begins to develop some self-awareness, which impacts her missions.
Whedon has already hammered out the basic outline for all seven segs.
Barring a strike, Fox hopes to have the show in production by spring, giving the net an opportunity to be so far ahead of schedule by fall that it could potentially air a full season uninterrupted by breaks. Long lead time also gives Whedon, as well as the net and studio, plenty of time to evolve the show if need be.
"To be sitting here talking about episodes of a series in November; that's exciting," said Fox Entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly. "I think we're in great hands." Whedon said he wasn't plotting a comeback to the smallscreen, having turned his attention back to features. But Dushku -- who last toplined 20th's and Fox's "Tru Calling" -- called up the scribe after sealing a talent deal with the studio and network this summer (Daily Variety
, Aug. 27).
"He's my favorite genius," Dushku said. "And my favorite friend. He's been like a big brother ... and the only person out here I've ever wholeheartedly trusted, because he's never let me down."
What was originally simply a lunch to meet up and discuss Dushku's career options soon turned into a partnership, as Whedon threw out a random concept Dushku loved.
That germ of an idea turned into "Dollhouse."