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"Dollhouse" star Eliza Dushku thinks a lot of her co-star Tahmoh Penikett ("Battlestar Galactica").

"Tahmoh could not be a finer man," Dushku says. "He's just a fine man. He's so organic and natural. Of course, he's good-looking, and he brings the money in every scene. As time has gone by, some of my favorite scenes and sequences are with Tamoh."

As of yet, Dushku's character, Echo — a memory-wiped "Active" imprinted with specific identities for specific "engagements" — and Penikett's — FBI Agent Paul Ballard, who's on the trail of the shadowy organization renting out the "Actives" — haven't yet met, but it looks likely to happen.

There could also be some kissing.

"I would hope that's going to happen,"
says Penikett. "We'll see what happens. There's definitely some kissing going on, not a whole lot of it, though. We'll see in this first season, but there's not a lot of romance in Paul's storyline."

Asked what he's learned from Dushku, Penikett says, "I've been watching Eliza and Joss (series creator Joss Whedon) from the beginning, and they're obviously so comfortable with each other, like brother and sister. He's like a big brother to her. They have a quick and easy banter between them. The sense of humor that they've got between themselves, it's hilarious. They've got jokes that they've been cracking for years.

"To be amongst them is great. It's a calming thing, too, when you're coming into a new show. Eliza's a veteran, man. She's a veteran of working with Joss. She's professional. She shows up prepared to do a job. When you've been doing it that long, it becomes second nature."

Having played Faith, a rogue Vampire Slayer, on two of Whedon's previous shows — "Buffy the Vampire Dollhouse_bts_0019_f

Slayer" and its spin-off, "Angel" — Dushku is experienced at doing action scenes. Penikett, who's seen plenty of action on Sci Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica," isn't intimidated.

"You know what,"
he says, "not really intimidating, but there's definitely a respect there. The fact is, I'm coming off a show that had the same thing. It was all about powerful women. ('BSG' executive producer) Ron Moore and Joss both share that respect for the female of the species.

"They love the heroines."

In the first two episodes of "Dollhouse," it's been hinted that a rogue Active called "Alpha" is sending clues to guide Ballard toward Echo and the Dollhouse. He's hot on the trail, and he won't back off.

"Paul is the type of person who needs to get things done," Penikett says. "He was put on this case, and he truly believes that the Dollhouse needs to come down. He needs to expose it. He needs to finish things. But I think there's more to the story.

"Why is he so compelled? Why is he so fascinated with Echo, when he first starts seeing clues of her, when he first encounters her? There's something more to it. Why does he have such a connection to her, that gives him more and more motivation to get to the bottom of the case?

"That's what's really interesting about Paul. There's an interesting backstory there that we're hopefully going to see here soon."

And it pretty nice to be on two shows that air back-to-back, on different channels but on the same night.

"You know," Penikett says, "I couldn't be happier, man. I'm a very blessed boy. There's not a day that I don't wake up and think about that."

It's 'Tahmoh TV.'

Penikett laughs. "There you go."

Posted by:Kate O'Hare