Though I am still mourning the loss of the brilliant and oft-touching "Firefly," I was heartened to hear that Joss Whedon was returning to episodic form. After watching this preview [2ND UPDATE: Link gone again, sorry] for the new "Dollhouse," however, I am leery. Eliza Dushku reprises her naughty-girl routine in a house of living dolls--thanks to cutting-edge science, they can be anything you want them to be! In the preview, it seems that the dolls can be paratroopers, burglars, and girlfriends; though I can't help but think that something like this would never be much more than a high-tech brothel in reality. And, unlike "Buffy" or "Firefly," it is difficult to see where the humor comes in. Whedon's knowing style lends itself to satire, which is why the wry nods to the ups and downs of high scool were so paramount to "Buffy"'s charm, and why Captain Malcolm Reynolds was the most likeable outlaw on television. "Dollhouse" seems not to be a metaphor or allegory for the real human struggles of loss of innocence or freedom, but more a slick concept show. The one saving grace to the preview was the reemergence of Olivia Williams from Rushmore and The Sixth Sense (can you believe Rushmore was ten years ago?!), a lovely actress who could add a heft to "Dollhouse" not evidenced by the preview.

Finally, I can't help but wonder why Whedon made a show around Dushku instead of the utterly more compelling and beloved James Marsters. Bring back Spike!

So, Whedon fans (cough, cough, talkbackers, Chris, Michelle, Scoblic!), what do you think of the preview? 

--Sacha Zimmerman