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01 November 2007 @ 07:41 am
Joss Whedon returns to TV!  

That's the title, so far, according to an exclusive news flash from Michael Ausiello at TV Guide, for a new hour-long weekly offering from Joss and his Mutant Enemy production team - possibly to arrive on the schedule as early as next spring.

The best part is, Eliza Dushku will star and Tim Minear's probably also on board as producer!


The (big) potential downside is that the development deal is with FOX - the network with a history of screwing over both Joss and Tim (royally). But Joss says he's always had a good working relationship with 20th Century Fox Television (the production company behind all three of his former shows), and he and Eliza are optimistic about the FOX network's support - they've ordered at least 7 episodes, when he only had a pilot concept.

The link to the TV Guide news is HERE, but I' m gonna c/p the Ausiello article with a brief blurb about the show's wildly intriguing concept (and with Joss and Eliza quotage!) under a cut:

Eliza Dushku Lures Joss Whedon Back to TV!

Short of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reunion movie, this is just about the best news you could ask for: Eliza Dushku and Joss Whedon are reteaming for a new series! (Told ya it would be worth tearing yourself away from the candy corn to drop by The Ausiello Report.) Here are the five things you have to know about the show, and I mean now:

1. It's a one-hour drama produced by 20th Century Fox to air on Fox. The first of the seven episodes to which the network has committed could premiere as early as spring.

2. It's called Dollhouse because that's the nickname of the high-tech lab where a group of human chalkboards are kept between assignments.

3. Human chalkboards?! Yes! What else would you call characters like Dushku's Echo who can be given new memories, skills and even personalities, then stripped of them just as quickly, leaving them virtual children.

4. Whedon is the creator, head writer and executive producer, and perhaps in part because Dushku convinced him to do the show, she's getting a producer credit. (Fellow Buffyverse alum Tim Minear is also on board.)

5. I just got off the phone with both of them!

First things first: How in the hellmouth did Dushku get her Buffy and Angel boss to do it? In a word, food. Shortly after she signed a development deal with Fox in August, "I called the one man that I knew I wanted to do [a series] with and had to have to have the best show possible" and invited him to lunch, she says. "And he was seduced!"

Actually, hypnotized, Whedon counters. "Eliza was wearing a hat with a big spiraling wheel on it, and she kept saying, 'Look into the wheel. You want to make television. You want it to be about me… ' It sounds hokey, but it really worked."

And how. Not only did Dushku get Whedon to agree to work on the project, but what she calls their "contagious, freaky, awesome energy" at that very get-together inspired him to create it. "I came up with [the concept] at lunch completely spontaneously, based on my conversation with Eliza," he insists. "It wasn't [an idea] that I was nurturing or that I tailored or I tried to retro-fit to her."

So what is the concept, exactly? Explains Whedon: "Dollhouse is a suspense drama about a girl who can have any personality except her own." So it's part Alias and part Quantum Leap, "because Echo is literally changing who she is," he continues. "She gets into people's lives a little bit."

Even Dushku's. "I relate so much to this character," she marvels. "Echo is essentially the story of my life. I've lived a crazy life the past 16 years, traveling around the world and then tripping and falling into this business. Everyone wants you to transform and be a different person every week."

Great chemistry and intriguing premise notwithstanding, you'd think that after Fox snuffed Whedon's Firefly and hung up on Dushku's Tru Calling, one or both of them would have been more than a little hesitant to get back into bed with the network. "Honestly? Walking back into that building was pretty damn strange," Whedon admits. But "I always had a good relationship with [20th Century Fox], and on the network end, it's a completely new bunch of people, and from what I’ve seen, a fairly impressive bunch."

Dushku seconds that emotion. "I really get the sense that they're committed to [this show]… It feels right."

Besides, as Whedon notes, "I told them I was interested in writing a pilot, and they gave me seven episodes. They’ve already shown more support for it than I have."

Now it's your turn to show the comeback kids some love. And, like Dushku, I don't think you'll let them down. "We have the best fans in the business [in the] the Buffy and Whedon universe," she says. "It’s going to be pandemonium when this [news] hits." And it's only just begun. — Additional reporting by Ben Katner

Needless to say, the comment thread for the news link at Whedonesque is exploding - over 230 comments as of 7:30 AM ET. 

I won't get my hopes up for any long-term success, based on FOX's track-record, but any kind of Joss-developed TV news is worthy of getting excited over, at least until we see how the network responds.  The fact that Eliza has another starring vehicle is icing on the cake.

Kristen Bell is awesome.
~ CinJudes ~: vm - veronica - 2.22 - gotcha_cinjudes_ on November 1st, 2007 02:45 pm (UTC)
Awesome dipped in just more awesome. I've commented on Whedonesque and yeah, just a wonderful day and wonderful news. The Fox Network makes me nervous as hell, especially after what happened when Fox was 'so excited' for and with Drive. *shrug* But I guess all we can do is hope for the best. 'Cause man, Joss back on TV. *shivers*

Just seriously awesome.
Jeff: bx - redshoot1j_mac179 on November 1st, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
You're preaching to the choir regarding the wariness of FOX and their history. But honestly, Joss is still willing to work with the network, to get his ideas for storytelling out there, so I'll have to be willing to follow along, too.

But like I said, no expectations are held of any kind right now. One episode at a time is about the only way we can take things like this - and that's IF something can be accomplished during or after this WGA strike, whenever that end may be. And I believe that strike starts today, unless there's some breaking news I have yet to see.
Shane: Excited KBhavemy_heart on November 1st, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC)
I'm very excited about Joss coming back to TV and about Eliza being in another show!! What I'm not excited about is the premise of the show or that it's on FOX. FOX kills excellent shows, as we all know, and the premise sounds really weird. Of course I'm gonna give it a chance, but I'm wary right now.
Jeff: bxw - friendsj_mac179 on November 1st, 2007 06:04 pm (UTC)
I think every single fan in the Whedon-verse is well aware of the dubious track-record FOX has with Joss and (especially) Tim. But like I told Cin above, if Joss is still willing to work with the network, which is cousin to the actual producing studio for his shows, then we fans and followers will have to deal with it and hope for the best.

That said, all digits will be appropriately crossed, and ass-cheeks clenched with anticipation ;)
ancient_immie: Katamari: night@roxbury spoofancient_immie on November 1st, 2007 09:33 pm (UTC)

Um yeah that's about all I can say to describe the awesomesauce that this show will be. I too shall not get my hopes up...has Andrea heard about this yet?
Jeff: Serenity - shieldj_mac179 on November 2nd, 2007 02:47 pm (UTC)
I would hope that Andrea has heard and subsequently been elated a bit, since Eliza's her girl and all. It's easily one of the top TV news items this week, along with the looming WGA strike which will also affect the show's timetable.
ancient_immie: Theme: Heroes Tardisancient_immie on November 3rd, 2007 07:52 pm (UTC)
I'd hope so as well. Ah yes the WGA strike. What fun this should be this time. :D