This Friday at 9 pm/ET (airing after Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Fox and Buffyverse auteur Joss Whedon welcome you to the Dollhouse.

The new sci-fi series stars Eliza Dushku (aka Buffy's Faith) as Echo, a top-secret "active" who is imprinted with personalities and mad skills to fulfill high-paying "engagements" — only to have her mind wiped clean at the end.

Some critics have noted that that very premise, however, might make it hard for viewers to engage with Dushku's character, who in her "normal" state is almost a blank slate. In this video, though, Whedon counters that Echo is "identifiable because she's growing up" with each mission/personality swap. "She's becoming self-aware."

Says Whedon, "It's not as though at the end of every episode she's completely blank. No matter what they do to her, they can't seem to achieve that."

In Part 1 of our in-depth sit-down, Joss also discusses the big mystery of who becomes an "active" and why; why he resisted making Echo's handler (Commander in Chief's Harry Lennix) an obvious love interest; Tahmoh Penikett's "obsessive" FBI agent; and the "utterly destructive" character of Topher, aka the Dollhouse's master computer wonk.

Coming soon in Parts 2, 3 and 4 of this Q&A:
• Whedon reveals how much it costs to get Echo to do your dirty work.
• Whedon answers TVGuide.com readers' questions about Buffy, Angel and Firefly.
• Whedon answers your other questions — including naming the celebs who make him go ga-ga.