Nerd alert! Geeking out with Joss Whedon and Joshua Jackson at Comic Con



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Joss Whedon, left, with Tahmoh Penikett; Amy Sussman/Fox
Joss Whedon, left, with Tahmoh Penikett (Amy Sussman/Fox)

Pumped for Dollhouse, premiering this Friday on Fox? The action sci-fi drama is from creator Joss Whedon, the god-among-geeks who gave us Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the late, great Firefly. We'll review the show later in the week, but we managed to catch Whedon at this weekend's New York Comic Con to talk hookers and boogers, then had Fringe star Joshua Jackson explain just how his show is like She-Ra.

We had to ask Whedon whether his new program, about amnesiac hot chicks fulfilling the fantasies of ultrarich clients, was more Cathouse than Dollhouse. "Yes," he said, sheepishly. "There was some consternation among the ranks. 'Saaaaay, that sounds like prostitution!' And my answer is yes, that's part of the package." It's also about "morally reprehensible" boundary crossing, and "what truly is a sin." Anything else? Whedon pointed to the show's beefcake star, Tahmoh Penikett, saying, "I'd like to take the hero and find out what's dark and strange and Canadian about him." Expect brooding aboots in the series's future.

As the veteran of both failed and successful television shows, Whedon knows that these days, it's all about bonus content and merchandising. "You're talking about a doll before you're doing Dollhouse," he said. "Webisodes, behind the scenes; you pick your nose [on set] and it's a DVD extra. It'll be fabulous—it's three episodes, I really get in there."

Amy Sussman/Fox
Joshua Jackson (Amy Sussman/Fox)

Over with the cast of Fringe, Joshua Jackson (you know him from your secret Dawson's Creek addiction) was geeking out about his sci-fi show and boss J.J. Abrams. "I love the fact that if you really pay attention, [the mythology] is there." He likens the buried clues to Loo-Kee, a hidden character from '80s kiddie cartoon She-Ra: "I couldn't stand She-Ra, but it was always on after He-Man, and I'd always watch to find that goddamn cat," he said. "At the end of the half hour, he pops out"—just like he trusts Abrams and the rest of the Fringe folks to explain all his show's hidden hints.

Jackson has faith, he says, because Abrams is a fellow fan. "J.J. is a fan of his genre of shows, and he's a fan of his fans. He's still a 15-year-old kid who thinks it's cool that Beastmaster 3 uses the same sword as He-Man. Which he did." If you say so, Josh. Who are we to correct a fanboy?

TUESDAY NIGHT: Want to see Whedon in person? He'll appear at the Apple Store in Soho (103 Prince St, 212-226-3126) at 7pm. There will be a sneak peek of Dollhouse, a fan Q&A and, we hear, a special surprise.

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