Joss Whedon previewed his new television show Dollhouse to a crowd of enthusiastic fans at New York Comic Con‘s first big Sunday panel.
Dollhouse peers into the life of Echo (played by Eliza Dushku), a human “doll” who takes on a new personality to perform missions for an underground criminal organization and is then mind-wiped after completion. When Echo starts to put together bits and pieces from past missions, she begins a search for her own self identity.
Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica) co-stars as Paul, an FBI special agent who discovers the underground “dollhouse” facility when Echo begins to regain memories from her previous identities.
The clip shown at the panel of the upcoming show, which began with Echo is a counseling session. Next, Echo is on a motorcycle racing down a busy city street against who she believed to be her boyfriend. They end the race at a club where they celebrate the boyfriend’s birthday. At the party, we see how much the two like each other, even though they had begun the relationship with a “no strings” policy. In Cinderella fashion, Echo leaves the party early and boards into a conversion van headed to the mind-wiping Dollhouse facility for what she believes is her “treatment.” There were also flashbacks to Echo’s youth and the people who were in charge of the underground organization.
“It’s by far the most disturbing thing that I can remember doing since season 6 of Buffy,” Whedon said, adding that the show walks a fine line in not being offensive due to its concept in general. “Dollhouse is so morally tricky, so going into it I expect to get a lot of backlash.”
Whedon joked that he can’t nearly be as bad as the guy who had the chance to kill the cylons and did not, referring to Penikett — who joined him on the panel stage — and the actions of his Battlestar Galactica character.
“There are a lot of themes in [Dollhouse] that were very interesting to me for a long time. The idea of recreation, duel identity, and deconstructing concepts of love,” Whedon said. He also told the audience that part of what drove him to do a show like this was because it scared him “witless.”
However, he stated: “If I’m terrified, I’m doing my best work.”
Dollhouse will premiere Friday, February 13 at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.