What Should Joss Whedon Do Post-Dollhouse?

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As Whedon fanatics already stumbling through the five stages of grief already know well, Fox has officially pulled the plug on Dollhouse. We could place the blame on everything from overcomplicated plotting to the limited acting talents of star Eliza Dushku… or we could simply lament TV audiences’ contempt for intelligent programming. But we prefer to heal by looking to the future. As PopWatch put it, the cancellation will “free Whedon from a show that, let’s be frank, was never going to climb out of the hole it was in. Dollhouse had too much viewer attrition and too little network support.”

So, what should Joss Whedon’s next project be? We have a few ideas.

The Joss Whedon Variety Hour: From Dr. Horrible to “Once More with Feeling,” Whedon’s musical endeavors always seem to grow into something more than he originally intended. So why not go with what works? This would be your typical, classic-TV variety show (although it may work better as a web series), complete with comedy sketches, musical guests, and homespun production numbers, plus the added twist of Whedon’s dark sensibility. For a man who loves to push the boundaries of story and genre, we can think of nothing more fun or fertile than a program that’s supposed to be wildly different every week. Ideally, the entire Whedon ensemble would make frequent appearances on the Variety Hour and the show would simply hire the entire Dr. Horrible writing staff. Our pick to host? Buffy vet Seth Green. After all, the guy who brought us Robot Chicken surely has the sense of humor to carry it off.

Something else with Fran Kranz: Joss Whedon is eerily adept at creating under-the-radar sex symbols, as anyone who’s ever spent time fantasizing about Alyson Hannigan can attest. In Dollhouse, that actor was Fran Kranz, who played scientific wunderkind Topher Brink. A guy who can make near-sociopathic amorality look sympathetic is worth keeping an eye on. (And, yes, we are unspeakably sad that we may not get to see his character continue his recent evolution.) Yet a glimpse at Kranz’s IMDb profile reveals a serious lack of future projects befitting such a promising (and geekily studly!) player. Joss, we beg of you: Save this man from TV obscurity.

A werewolf show: We know, we know. Whedon’s been there, done that and bought the Three Wolf Moon t-shirt. But if the man who presaged vampire-mania by a full decade wants to create a series that actually stays on the air, he’s going to have to jump on the next big thing before it hits. From Buffy to Twilight to True Blood, just about every successful vamp franchise involves some kind of werewolf-like character. If Whedon can build an entire show around a compelling wolfman (and we’re willing to bet he can create an intriguing premise out of just about any conceit), then he’s sitting on a goldmine. Or, hell, since he loves to play with gender so much, why not a lady werewolf show? The potential for fascinating awkwardness is staggering!

Save Alyson Hannigan and Neil Patrick Harris from How I Met Your Mother: The show may get nominated for Emmys, but Whedon fans know that Willow and Dr. Horrible deserve much stranger and more exciting fare than a prime-time relationship comedy can offer. In fact, we wouldn’t mind seeing either star in the aforementioned werewolf series.