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'Dollhouse' Offers Joss Whedon Another Chance


Back now with Day to Day, I'm Madeleine Brand. The premiere of the new Fox series "Dollhouse" on Friday marks the return to television of Joss Whedon. Since his big breakthrough with the WB series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," there may be no television writer/producer working today with a more passionate fan base. Critic Andrew Wallenstein is not among them.

ANDREW WALLENSTEIN: Now that it's been about six years since "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" left the airwaves, it's time to finally get something off my chest: I never liked "Buffy."


NICHOLAS BRENDON: (As Xander) You're not bone; you're Buffy, eradicator of evil, defender of, um, things that need defending.

SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR: (As Buffy) Tell that to Theresa. She could have used my defending before she was ripped apart by that...

BRENDON: (As Xander) Werewolf.

WALLENSTEIN: Unidentified Man: Hello, Echo. How are you feeling?


ELIZA DUSHKU: Unidentified Man: For a little while.

DUSHKU: Unidentified Man: If you like.

WALLENSTEIN: (Soundbite of Web show "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog")

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS: (As Dr. Horrible) (Singing) My wish is your command.

NATHAN FILLION: (As Captain Hammer) (Singing) Stand back everyone. Nothing here to see. Just imminent danger In the middle of it: me. Yes, Captain Hammer's here, Hair blowing in the breeze. The day needs my saving expertise...

WALLENSTEIN: But will Whedon's fans come out strong for "Dollhouse"? The "Buffy" comparison is inevitable, considering its lead actress, Dushku, was a standout late in the show's run. And even though she's got a star quality that rivals Sarah Michelle Gellar, my guess is "Dollhouse" will challenge even Whedon loyalists. "Dollhouse" seems such a pale imitation of "Buffy," even as most ardent champions may have to second-guess themselves.

BRAND: Andrew Wallenstein is digital media editor for the Hollywood Reporter.


BRAND: Well, if spending your Valentine's Day weekend reliving the glory of "Buffy" isn't your thing, coming up later in the program we'll have a few suggestions for some forgotten romantic films. Mark Jordan Legan will make a special non-Friday appearance to help you plan your Valentine's Day celebration on the couch.


BRAND: NPR's Day to Day continues. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Andrew Wallenstein
Andrew Wallenstein is the television critic for NPR's Day to Day. He is also an editor at The Hollywood Reporter, where he covers television and digital media out of Los Angeles. Wallenstein is also the co-host of the weekly TV Guide Channel series Square Off. His essay on Holocaust films was published in Best Jewish Writing 2003 (Jossey-Bass), and he has also written for The New York Times, The Boston Globe and Business Week. He has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.