I have been considering writing an editorial imploring Joss Whedon to go back to TV. It’s where he belongs, and I don’t mean that in a snarky or mean way; the serialized nature of a television series allows him to play with thematic ideas and evolve characters in ways that cannot happen in a two hour film. And his work in the comic book world, while good, is the creative equivalent of jerking off for a small crowd that is used to much uglier performers.
That editorial will not get written since Whedon has announced that he’s coming home to the boob tube, and he’s going to be working with none other than Faith the Vampire Slayer, Eliza Dushku. Their high concept series, which will be quickly canceled by Fox, is called Dollhouse. It’s about ‘a group of individuals who are ‘"imprinted with personality packages" — meaning that they can assume a variety of indentities (language skills, physical talents, memories, etc.) to be used for all types of tasks. When these missions are over, the individuals have their memories erased and reside in a guarded laboratory known as the Dollhouse; Dushku’s Echo, however, is slowly coming of consciousness. "We call it a suspense-drama-mythology-comedy-action-horror musical," Whedon half-jokes of the show, which will bend and blend genres in typical Joss fashion. "The main thrust is the thruline of Echo as a sort of newly born character who goes, ‘Wait a minute — I exist. Wow. So who would I be? And how dangerous is it for me to let anybody know that I know that I exist?’ Not unlike the Frankenstein myth, it’s, ‘Who made me, who am I, and why am I?’"’
Dushku is producing along with Whedon, and the show – which is shaping up to be expensive (did I mention Fox is already writing the cancellation memo?) – comes on the heels of Joss getting his ass kicked in Hollywood for the last few years. After Serenity limped to the finish line he found himself falling off Wonder Woman, and now his project Goners seems dead. The latest draft handed in to Universal "was not incredibly well-received," he says. "Nothing’s happening with it right now."
Future Dollhouse cancelers Fox have given the show a 12 episode commitment.