Months ago it was announced that writer Joss Whedon would be making his long-awaited return to television with a show called Dollhouse.  The upcoming FOX series stars former Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Eliza Dushku as a woman named Echo, who is part of an elite group of people known as “dolls.”  These dolls are humans who have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas, making them the perfect undercover operatives for dangerous assignments.  It’s a high concept series, but we’d expect nothing less from the man who brought us Buffy, Angel, and Firefly.

The promise of a new Whedon project starring a former Buffy actress was exciting enough on its own, but today it was announced that Battlestar Galactica‘s Tahmoh Penikett, who plays Lt. “Helo” Agathon on the Sci Fi Channel series, has also been cast in a major role.  He’ll be playing Echo’s twisted romantic foil in the drama, which will air on FOX in the fall.

According to Michael Ausiello at TV Guide, Penikett’s character, Paul Smith, is described as an FBI agent who becomes obsessed with both the urban myth that is Dollhouse and its most recognizable inhabitant, Echo. Joss Whedon is known as an avid fan of Battlestar Galactica, so this casting doesn’t come as a complete surprise.

Also joining the Dollhouse cast is actor Fran Kranz (Welcome to the Captain), who will be playing the nerdy programmer responsible for imprinting the dolls.  Aussie actress Dichen Lachman and relative newcomer Enver Gjokaj have also joined the ensemble, playing two of Dushku’s fellow operatives.  The series still has four major roles to fill, so it’s possible a few more familiar faces will round out the cast.

The last time Joss Whedon had a show on FOX, Firefly, it was canceled after only a handful of episodes.  The series then went on to sell big on DVD, and even became a major motion picture.  It’ll be interesting to see if the notorious cancel-happy network is more patient with Whedon’s latest creation.  If they’re not, they’re going to have fans of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica writing them angry letters.

– Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
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Staff Writer, BuddyTV