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

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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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