Whedon’s women
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The women of Whedon

By Jevon Phillips and Todd Martens, Times Staff Writers

He’s completely cool with male vampires, but Joss Whedon has long been a writer who crafts strong female leads. No slouch herself in the strong character department, Eliza Dushku, who played Faith in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and Echo in “Dollhouse,” dubbed Whedon the “ultimate feminist male writer.”

We asked Whedon to quickly rundown some his favorite female creations. Check out the top five women of Whedon, and some honorable mentions that we threw in ourselves. (Damian Dovarganes / AP)
Summer Glau played the mysterious, childlike, deadly River Tam from the planet Osiris on the television show “Firefly” and then in the motion picture “Serenity.”

She and her brother Dr. Simon Tam were outlaws who took refuge aboard Malcolm Reynolds’ battered Firefly-class transport ship known as Serenity. River had been experimented on, and developed abilites and amassed knowledge at an almsot super human rate.

Glau was cast in Whedon’s “Dollhouse” after a few seasons on “Terminator: Sarah Connor Chrocicles.” (Universal Studios)
Buffy Summers was just a regular mall-crawling SoCal teenager, until destiny kicked in and she became a Slayer. She, and she alone was chosen to fight evil supernatural forces like vampires, demons, witches and evil nerds.

Sarah Michelle Gellar infused the character with humanity, and with her side-kicks Willow (see later), Xander, Giles and a host of characters -- demon and human alike -- the show built a ravenous and cult-like following that still misses Buffy dearly. (Warner Bros.)

Dandelion hates vikings but she’s pro-rock’n’roll. She also fronts the inter-stellar rockers Sugarshock. Oddly enough, she works for a government agency, knows some robots and isn’t afraid to use force – or sing a sad song against her foes.

The name of her band doubles as the name of the comic, which Whedon is offering for free for the download via the Dark Horse MySpace page. (http://www.myspace.com/darkhorsepresents)
Eliza Dushku played Echo in the show “Dollhouse.” When not imprinted with a personality package, Echo and the others are basically mind-wiped, living like children in a futuristic dorm/lab, with no memory of their assignments -- or of much else.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Dushku described the character as being like her, living in a world where people may force expectations and personalities on others.

“I think we’re in a time that people have so much -- with the internet and all ...” she mused. “People can have so much control and yet there’s so much out of control.” (20th Century Fox)
Fred, played by Amy Acker (center), came to “Angel” with a super-brain rather than superpowers, joining the vigilante vampire team after being banished as a slave into another dimension. Fred’s book smarts were often the team’s secret weapon – until she got possessed by a demon in the show’s fifth season.

Acker has reteamed with Whedon as the doctor/doll/active Whiskey in “Dollhouse.”

Pictured: Alexis Denisof, who played Wesley on “Angel,” Acker and Joss Whedon. (WireImage.com)
One of the newer dolls or actives in Joss Whedon‘s “Dollhouse,” Dichen Lachman plays Sierra, programmable, as all of the dolls are, to be whatever the company needs her to be. She’s been everything from an agent to Topher’s (Fran Kranz’) best friend on his birthday in the dollhouse.  (David Strick’s Hollywood Backlot)
Willow Rosenberg (played by Alyson Hannigan) was one of the sweetest, most unassuming high school students at Sunnydale High, until she began to master witchcraft in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Best friends with Buffy Summers and Xander Harris, she slowly emerged from her coccoon and became one of the most powerful wiccans in the western hemisphere, though still remaining a friend and computer genius.  ()
Years into the future, a slayer has a battle with demons that causes magic to pretty much disappear, which stops the line of slayers. Hundreds of years later, demons find their way back, which reactivates the slayers and calls Melaka Fray into action. She fights evil, but had no real knowledge of the slayers’ history. (Dark Horse Comics)
Corporal Zoe (Alleyne) Washburne is a career military officer now serving on the ‘rogue’ ship Serenity under guidance of Mal Reynolds. Always calm under pressure, she’s an extremely competent and serious soldier who follows orders, but is smart enough to question their validity at times. Joss Whedon, and through her portrayal, Gina Torres (pictured, far right), gave the character a quiet but tangible strength.  (Michael Lavine / Fox Broadcasting)
Another of Joss Whedon‘s dolls on “Dollhouse,” Miracle Laurie’s November may be one of the most tragic characters on the show. Programmed to love agent Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett), she spied on him unwittingly for the company. A deadly operative, she was seemingly released from her service to the dollhouse after Ballard worked out a deal for her freedom. But who knows? Those mysterious trigger words could still be active. (Fox)