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Stephanie DePrez | Tuesday, February 3, 2009

On Friday the 13th, one of TV’s best writers will return. Joss Whedon, creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and “Firefly” returns with his next show, “Dollhouse.”Starring Eliza Dushku (“Buffy”), the show centers on a group of “Actives,” people who have voluntarily donated five years of their life to the Dollhouse, a super-secret community full of people committed to fulfilling your wildest dreams. The catch? They don’t know they’re doing it. Clients request a fantasy, ranging from love to adventure, and the Actives (or Dolls) are imprinted with memories that will help them carry out (and help clients participate in) their mission. When the mission is complete, the Dolls memories are wiped clean.The story was born out of a lunch between Dushku and Whedon. He was looking for a new project, and she was looking for more acting challenges. The idea is that within the world of the Dollhouse Dushku’s character, Echo, will play many different roles.The show has been in production for a while now, thrown off a bit in the beginning by the writers’ strike. (Time which was well used by Whedon to create the Internet phenomenon “Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog.”) “Dollhouse” was set to air in the beginning of January, but Fox’s issues with the look of the show’s first episode caused a series of rewrites and pushed the premier back to mid-February.But it has been time well spent in several ways. The sets themselves are far larger than is usually seen on TV. The Asian-inspired Dollhouse décor is supposed to be a calming environment for the Dolls, with an exercise room and a working fountain in the center of the building, causing the show to have an air of spectacle. The time has also allowed for anticipation to build. Whedonophiles are a small but mighty Internet force who have relentlessly promoted the show as far as the MySpace can see.A lot is riding on this show. Joss’ last show, “Firefly,” also had the Friday night kiss-of-death slot on Fox, and it was cancelled after 13 episodes. Even though the DVD sales convinced Universal to pick it up for a movie (2005’s “Serenity”), many are wondering if the TV genius has still got staying power. If this summer’s “Dr. Horrible” is any indication, fans are ripe and ready for another venture into the World of Whedon.