Volley of the Dolls


Ever since Fox canceled Joss Whedon's 2002 series "Firefly," fans have groused that the network sabotaged the show's chances by airing its episodes out of sequence.

Now Whedon himself is shaking up the order of his midseason Fox series "Dollhouse."

The "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator is shooting a new "prequel" episode to serve as the show's pilot. Whedon said he opted to craft a new introduction to the series after meeting with Fox executives.

"When we talked to the network I got a sense of hesitation about what we had, and I understood why," Whedon said Tuesday on the "Dollhouse" set. "There's a concern about the audience coming into this world."

Whedon acknowledged that there are similarities to the "Firefly" experience.

"That's why I hit myself on the head for this," Whedon said. "Having been through this I should know I need to deliver a way to get into a story."

Whedon said the new first episode will allow him to select from previously shot footage to figure out "the most iconic way from what we had to introduce each character."

Added star Eliza Dushku, "And I didn't get to wear my leather pants in the pilot, so that was a deal-breaker."

In "Dollhouse," a group of people are programmed with various abilities and personalities and rented out for assignments to high-paying clients. One of the Dolls, Echo (Dushku), gradually begins to become self-aware.

The tone of each episode will shift based on the Dolls' assignment, making the show's elaborate premise even riskier.

"Every time I'm here, I worry that this is the time I will fail," he said. "At the same time you learn to let go of that or not one word you will write." (partialdiff)