A Prescription for Horrible

04-Aug-08 12:00 PM by
Filed under Television; 5 comments.

Though actors enjoy the fame that comes with being in front of the camera, a cineaste has no trouble picking out the talent that raised those actors to stardom. Writers and directors like Carl Reiner, Sidney Sheldon, Gene Roddenberry, and Charles-Burrows-Charles brought us some of our favorite shows. Joss Whedon is no different, having created both Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was a unique combination of comedy, fantasy, sci-fi; and Firefly, a space-western.

Though it may be old news to us hardcore geeks, I'm surprised that Mr. Whedon's latest project continues to fly under the radar of the Internet in general. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog debuted last month and somewhat defies description, thanks in part to its misleading name. It's not a blog so much as a vlog, and not so much that as self-commentary interspersed with action sequences and musical numbers — which, without lyrics and a bouncing ball, are no more sing-along than any other musical. The cast credits include Neil Patrick Harris of Doogie Howser, M.D., Cabaret, and RiffTrax; Felicia Day of The Guild; and Nathan Fillion of Buffy and Firefly. Watch as Dr. Horrible (Harris), an up-and-coming villain who does the wrong things for the right reasons, learns to overcome his own shyness and ineptitude while pursuing his master plan to defeat nemesis Captain Hammer (Fillion), win the girl (Day), and take over the WORLD!

The quirky humor and unusual juxtaposition of genre and music make Dr. Horrible worth checking out, though the means to do so varies day to day, as the producers have seemingly waffled over the property's commercial direction. As each episode was released, it was available as streaming, non-embeddable video — but if you read the fine print (which I didn't), you'd know they would disappear on July 20th, to be sold exclusively at iTunes at $1.99/episode or $3.99 for an all-inclusive season pass. The three "acts" that compose Season 1 recently popped back up on the Dr. Horrible Web site, again as streaming video, but with embedded commercials. Since this format is how broadcast television shows are often archived online, it seems a fair deal to me. Regardless, we bloggers are left with only this trailer to redistribute:

You don't have to be a Firefly fanatic and kiss the ground Joss Whedon walks on to appreciate Dr. Horrible. I've bought all three episodes but haven't watched the second two yet, and I don't suspect I'll be memorizing the lyrics anytime soon (unless a separate soundtrack CD becomes available). It's just a fun show with broad appeal across geek culture, and a nifty demonstration of a series made for the Internet instead of just repurposed for it.

(Hat tip to The Standard)