Thursday, March 27, 2008

Who will live in Whedon's "Dollhouse"?

Before I go any further, I have to say that last night's "South Park" episode about "cheesing" on cat urine - clearly inspired more than a little by Heavy Metal - was the funniest thing I've seen on in TV in years. Definitely check it out if you missed the first airing.

But today, as it fairly often is here, it's all about Joss Whedon's impending return to TV, which looks more and more like it's really gonna happen, even though his "Dollhouse" so far has only a seven episode order from Fox.

Just to catch everyone up, Eliza Dushku, a k a Faith the vampire slayer, plays a young woman named Echo, a member of a group of people known as "Actives" or "Dolls" who have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas for different assignments. In between tasks, they are mind-wiped into a child-like state and live in a futuristic dormitory/laboratory, a hidden facility nicknamed "The Dollhouse". Although the Actives are ostensibly volunteers, the operation is highly illegal and under constant threat from Paul Smith, a determined federal agent who has heard a rumor about the dolls on one end and an insane rogue Active on the other.

The plot is definitely thickening, but - and call me sexist if you must - I just assumed that with this being a Whedon production called "Dollhouse," all the "dolls" would indeed be women. The casting news below shows that, as happens at least rarely, I'm wrong once again. So, who's gonna be in the "Dollhouse" with Eliza? Here's the latest news:

Tahmoh Penikett, who's had a great run on "Battlestar Galactica" as Lt. Karl C. Agathon and has also appeared on "Smallville," will play the FBI agent, Paul Smith, who is obsessed with the urban myth of the Dollhouse and - in the language of the Hollywood Reporter - is "a twisted romantic foil for Echo."

A rather attractive Aussie with a rather unfortunate name - Dichen Lachman - will play Sierra, a doll who (again in the wording of THR) "has every personality in the world but her own" (jeez, that sounds kinda cheesy, doesn't it?) I had no idea they were still making the Aussie soap "Neighbours," but if you happen to watch it, she has played Katya Kinski on that show since 2005.

Fran Kranz, who last appeared on TV with Jeffrey Tambor in "Welcome to the Captain" (though only for the rather brief five-episode run), will play Topher Brink, a genius programmer responsible for imprinting the dolls. Interestingly enough, according to his resume, he also had a bit part in one of my favorite flicks, Richard Kelly's "Donnie Darko."

And finally, Enver Gjokaj will play Victor, another doll who is childlike when he's inactive, and (again in THR's rather cheesy description) "everything from Errol Flynn to a young DeNiro when he's active." I'm not sure I want to know exactly what that means. The photo here, the only one I could find, is apparently from a NYC production of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard."

Will all this add up to anything cool? We'll have to wait until October to find out, but with the Whedon name on it I'd have to bet on yes. Stay tuned.


jeremy said...

So Helo's gonna play . . . Paul Smith? He better be well-dressed.
Sounds a lot like The Pretender. I'm sure the writing will be better, though.

Reel Fanatic said...

It does indeed sound a lot like that, Jeremy, but with "Angel" vets Tim Minear, Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain all on board behind the scenes, I'm also betting you're right that the writing for this will be close to top-notch

Bob said...

I don't remember Fran Kranz being in "Darko." I'll have to watch that again. He's awesome in "The TV Set" though.

Mercurie said...

Wow. I am looking forward to this, even though it does sound a bit derivative. Of course, with Eliza Dukshu and Dichen Lachman on board, I would probably tune in even if Joss Whedon wasn't involved.

Jake Mabe said...

Hey Fanatic: On another topic, I just heard that "Friday Night Lights" is indeed coming back for Season 3 as a partnership between DirecTV and NBC. Have you heard anything?

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