The damn is starting to break on Joss Whedon’s upcoming FOX show Dollhouse, which was conceived alongside star Eliza Dusku.? The idea for the show came during a lunch meeting between the two, according to an interview that Joss gave with the LA Times.
“But I was trying to get a movie off the ground, “Goners.” “Wonder Woman” had already crashed and burned. “Goners” they had already lost control of the instruments, but who knows? So things were not that auspicious, but I was working it. Not shunning television but not intending to come back. But as we discussed Eliza’s predicament, I started giving her some ideas about what I thought she would need: a genre show so she could be political without being partisan; an ensemble show so she didn’t have to be in every scene. And I thought about it for a bit and then literally went, oh, curse word, I just came up with the show and the title. And it was the title that I knew I was doomed. Because if you have the title, you know it’s right. And that’s just bad,” said Whedon.
“When we really discussed the whole thing, she said, ‘You’re talking about my life. In my life, everybody tells me who they want me to be while I try and figure out who I am.’ And that spoke to me. I agreed that I’ll write and maybe oversee the pilot. So I went home and said, ‘Honey, I’m sorry, I accidentally agreed to a Fox show at lunch.'”
The show is set up as a midseason replacement that will air as the lead in show to 24, probably as good as any time slot as you could hope.? It’s just dependent on how fatigued the audience is for 24. The past two seasons have been pretty poor quality wise.? Regardless, it’s a good slot for Joss and Eliza’s new show.
What’s interesting though, is that FOX is going to try a new advertising model with Dollhouse and the J.J. Abrams produced Fringe. According to the Hollywood Reporter, FOX has decided to show only five-minutes worth of commercials during the hour-long shows, which is significantly less than the standard 15-20 minutes.
“It’s a simple concept and potentially revolutionary,” Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Liguori said. “We’re going to have less commercials, less promotional time, and less reason for viewers to use the remote. We’re going to redefine the viewing experience.”
But ultimately that depends on the quality of the shows.? Whedon and Abrams are two of the best in the business and now FOX needs to stand by them and support the shows by guaranteeing a full season order.? That’s one reason why people don’t become invested in shows right away, because there is no guarantee that the show will air for more than five or six episodes.
So, what can you expect of Dollhouse? Here’s the press release:
Joss Whedon, creator of groundbreaking cult favorites ?Buffy the Vampire Slayer? and ?Firefly,? returns to television and reunites with fellow ?Buffy? alumna Eliza Dushku for a thrilling new drama, DOLLHOUSE.
ECHO (Dushku) is an ?Active,? a member of a highly illegal and underground group who have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas. Confined to a secret facility known as the ?Dollhouse,? Echo and the other Actives including SIERRA (Dichen Lachman, ?Neighbours?) and VICTOR (Enver Gjokaj, ?The Unit?) carry out engagements assigned by ADELLE (Olivia Williams, ?X-Men: The Last Stand,? ?Rushmore?), one of the Dollhouse leaders.
The engagements cater to the wealthy, powerful and connected, and require the Actives to immerse themselves in all manner of scenarios romantic, criminal, uplifting, dangerous, comical and the occasional ?pro bono? good deed. After each scenario, Echo, always under the watchful eye of her handler BOYD (Harry Lennix, ?Commander in Chief,? 24), returns to the mysterious Dollhouse where her thoughts, feelings and experiences are erased by TOPHER (Fran Kranz, ?Welcome to the Captain?), the Dollhouse?s genius programmer. Echo enters the next scenario with no memory of before. Or does she?
As the series progresses, FBI Agent PAUL SMITH (Tahmoh Penikett, ?Battlestar Galactica?) pieces together clues that lead him closer to the Dollhouse, while Echo stops forgetting, her memories begin to return and she slowly pieces together her mysterious past. DOLLHOUSE revolves around Echo?s blossoming self-awareness and her desire to discover her true identity. But with each new engagement, comes a new memory and increased danger inside and outside the Dollhouse.
Sounds intrigueing and the premise leaves lots of room for Whedon to balance the mythology of the show with stand alone episodes.? Something he did to great effect with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Given the time he no doubt would have done it superbly with Firefly.
Update: Seat42F has an exclusive clip of the show.? I’m at work so I haven’t been able to watch.? The clip appears to be a finished scene and is, in all likelihood, out of context.? Take it for what you would.?