The last time we saw Mellie, or as they like to call her in the Dollhouse, “November,” she was being released from her contract to be a doll thanks to the work of Paul Ballard, played by “Battlestar Galactica” alum Tahmoh Penikett.
But Friday, our favorite neighbor returns to “Dollhouse” on Fox, and she’s not the same woman we saw last season.
“Her name is Madeline, that’s who I was before I was a doll,” actress Miracle Laurie told Airlock Alpha. “We saw a little bit of her last year, and now we get to see more of her.”
And in a big way, too. Madeline will no longer be the sweet girl that made Ballard dinner and was there when he needed to vent his frustration over trying to find a place most people said was a work of fiction. Instead, viewers are going to get a glimpse of the Madeline we saw in former “Earth: Final Conflict” star Kevin Kilner’s final appearance — a badass you never want to piss off.
“”She couldn’t be anything like Mellie, and I didn’t want [audiences] to see Mellie,” she said. “That was just an imprint. Everything she lived through she did with 100 percent of her heart and soul, and it was all fabricated. Madeline is the real person.”
Madeline will have to deal with what happened at the dollhouse, and how she feels about it now. The result will be plenty of conflict for Madeline as she tries to readjust to the real world once again.
When Laurie read the script for the final episode of Season 1, she at first felt her time on the show was over. Of course, everyone thought their time on the show was over because rumors across entertainment media were adamant that Fox was going to cancel the low-rated Joss Whedon series.
But Fox was never fully convinced the show couldn’t succeed, and Airlock Alpha was the first news outlet to report that “Dollhouse” could see the light of day for a second season, which only helped complement Laurie’s confidence in more episodes for the show.
“I never gave up hope because I’m just an optimist like that,” she said. “I think we’re one of the lowest-rated shows in history to get a second season.”
There was a brief moment, however, when Laurie said she was convinced Fox was going to pull the plug. She and the other actors on the show, including series star and executive producer Eliza Dushku, pushed through social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook begging fans to call Fox and let them know they wanted “Dollhouse” to stay on the air.
“We actually crashed their phone system,” Laurie said. “But I think Fox needed to see that. They saw how these fans will watch the show, will buy the DVD, will watch it on Hulu. The fans stepped up to the plate, and everybody fought really really hard, and that made a difference.”
Fox, however, didn’t give fans everything they wanted. The network left the show on Fridays, and gave it a comedy block as a lead-in.
That’s showing in the numbers. “Dollhouse” earned a 1.6 rating/3 share in its premiere last Friday, barely topping “Smallville” on The CW, which earned the night’s lowest ratings.
It kept mostly even with the audience pulled in by two episodes of “Brothers,” but simply couldn’t compete with “Medium” on CBS, which earned a 5.7/10, according to Fast National ratings from The Nielsen Co.
Those numbers are 33 percent off “Dollhouse’s” average last season, and unless viewership improves dramatically, Whedon’s latest outing may not make it past midseason.
In the meantime, Laurie said she wants to enjoy every moment. Last week, she just started filming Episode 6, and still can’t believe sometimes that she is working on a Joss Whedon show.
“He’s amazing, and I’ve been a fan since the ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ days,” Laurie said. In fact, Laurie auditioned for “Buffy” five different times. She also was one of the finalists to play Kaylee on Whedon’s 2002 series “Firefly,” a role that eventually went to Jewel Staite.
“I’d been close a lot for years, but I knew it would just be a matter of time,” Laurie said. “I am now in a Joss Whedon show and I’m playing the coolest part ever. Each and every moment has been a dream. The writing is just incredible, and the crew rocks.”
This coming season will also see some other Whedonites make their way to the show including former “Firefly” and “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” star Summer Glau and former “Angel” star Alexis Denisof making appearances.
“It’s a trip, and Joss’s always surprising me,” Laurie said. “I never know what to expect, and that’s what makes half the fun.”
“Dollhouse” airs Friday at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.