Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku reunited: Best. TV news. Ever.

Attention, Joss Whedon fans.
I want you to look around before reading this post. I mean it: Please
take careful note of your surroundings. Be on particular lookout for
small children and the elderly. If you see either, I want you to find
a pencil, put it in your mouth and bite down. This will prevent you
from making loud, delirious and possibly profane pronouncements of joy
that could frighten and/or alarm the young and weak-hearted. Because
believe me when I tell you that this news is going to make you scream.
Are you ready? Pencil in place?

Joss has a new TV show. And — chomp
down a little harder — he is bringing Eliza Dushku back to TV with him.

I know, right?! When I heard
this, I made an involuntary part-squeal, part-screech, part-strangled
chicken sound that scared the cat. Joss and television are like bacon
and a cheeseburger. They’re both great apart, but together they’re
nothing short of genius. To wit, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly.
Stop me if you’re familiar.

Now that we’ve stopped gleefully
yelping over this news (seriously, stop; now the neighbors are starting
to worry), let’s get the details. The new show, called Dollhouse,
stars Eliza (the artist formerly known as Faith the Vampire Slayer),
who also serves as a producer. The show already has a seven-episode commitment
from Fox. Barring an extra-long writer’s strike, it should be ready
to premiere next fall. OK, sorry, I’m squealing again. Here is the
official Fox description:

“Echo (Eliza Dushku) [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.”

First of all, whoa, that is
some high-concept sci-fi. Second of all, damn, it sounds really cool.
Joss broke the big news to E! reporter Kristin Dos Santos, of Watch
With Kristin fame, yesterday. Both he and Eliza also gave her one-on-one
interviews about the new show (read the whole thing here). And Joss was his delightfully
deprecating self.

The show was born during a
lunch he had with Eliza, during which they started talking about her development
deal with Fox:

“In the middle of lunch,
I came up with the idea of this show and the title by accident. … I
went to the bathroom and came back and said, ‘I figured it out.’
So, there it is. It took longer than between bites. It came so organically
through our conversation, and what I know she is capable of, and what
she was talking about and what people were expecting of her. It just
kinda happened, and when it happens like that and it has a title. That's
a big deal—if it has a title, you can’t just turn your back on it.
So, I told her, and she freaked out, and I told her I was busy with
these films I am trying to set up, but Fox is interested, and Fox said
let’s do seven episodes instead of a pilot, and here I am.”

Besides Eliza, Buffy and Angel
alum/writer/producer Tim Minear should come on board for the new series
as well. But Joss said he wants to get some distance from the Buffyverse,
so don’t expect a very special Sarah Michelle Gellar episode just
yet. He said he wanted to work with Eliza again so he can showcase her true calling talent:

“The thing about Eliza is
that she has a lot of colors to play like most good actresses, but Eliza
has kinda gotten pigeonholed. I see those big eyes, and I see the innocence
they can play, the decency that is in them and the way that we can refer,
and that isn’t just hey, I’m the tough girl. There’s much more
there.”

For her part, Eliza proved
herself to be a card-carrying member of the mutual admiration society:

“[Joss] became my favorite
writer/genius, and I’ve always said I’ll follow that guy anywhere.
He just gets women, which is the most amazing thing. He gets them, and
I think that was clear from all his past things, from Buffy.
He can use the science fiction, and he can use these metaphors or exaggerations—but
he gets women, and he gets people. He gets down to the real human emotion
and the real beating heart.”

Amen. Joss totally gets women. He loves women, he respect women,
he never underestimates women. Forget diamonds: He’s really a girl’s
best friend.

Eliza said she is excited about
tackling all the different dimensions to Echo. As she told Entertainment Weekly:

“She’s fierce and she’s
hot, but she’s also so complex, and she’s going to be so tripped
out because she’s in this world, which I can identify with, where
there are people who can click a button and succeed in making you be
what they want you to be. It’s this whole mindtrip of objectification.
It’s going to have sex and heartbreak and violence and hilarity. That,
to me, is a hot show.”

Amen, again. God, I can’t
wait. Did I mention that Eliza told Variety that she is in training to get in
Dark Angel-on-crack shape where I can do everything.” Oh, sorry,
that was me making that strangled-chicken sound again. Now it’s your
turn. Squeal away.

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