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“Dollhouse”: Cheering It Up

Dollhouse So much of the news surrounding Fox’s upcoming Joss Whedon drama “Dollhouse” has been downbeat, you could be excused for forgetting that the show is designed to entertain rather than induce grief-counseling.

Fox asked for a reshot pilot, then decided to launch it and the series in the veritable graveyard of Friday night – the same night that buried Whedon’s previous effort for Fox, “Firefly.”

But with a sprightly sampling released for critics in advance of Tuesday’s session at the TV Critics Assn. press tour, along with some believable spin that the Friday scheduling, which includes a “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” leadin, will mitigate audience demands, you could perceive the makings of a backlash to the backlash.

Eliza 3 “My initial reaction (to the scheduling) was mixed, I think,” Whedon said via satellite from Boston. “I had a bad experience on a Friday night – you might have heard about it. …(But) I’m very excited about being paired with “Terminator,” a show that I love and that shares the same sort of sensibility.”

And although “Dollhouse,” starring Eliza Dushku in the story of an underground agency that imprints personas on (mostly) unsuspecting people to create (mostly) infallible super-agents, is more serious than Whedon’s iconic “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” saying it’s humorless would be a stretch.

“The show is much more straight-ahead drama than what we’ve done before,” Whedon said. “(But) we can’t fight the funny. The funny is going to win … partly because that’s how articulate people react to difficult situations.”

Meanwhile, for fans of Whedon’s side project, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” there was more good news.

“As far as ‘Dr. Horrible’ is concerned, yeah, we’d like to do that again,” Whedon said. “It’s just a matter of time and the venue.”

– Jon Weisman

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