I’ve withheld from discussing and dissecting Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly series at great length; there’s a reason some students have written thesis about them. After watching Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog a second time, I feel this 42 minute musical deserves a post all its own. Don’t worry, I’ll leave the singing to Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, and the entire ensemble.
The basic plot is that Dr. Horrible (Harris) needs to prove himself in order to join the Evil League of Evil. He meets the woman of his dreams, Penny (Day), but as with his plots to take over the world, Captain Hammer (Fillion) gets in the way. It isn’t as cliché as it sounds. In usual Whedon fashion, the clichés are poked at and given a good spin. This is just one of the numerous reasons that I think Whedon is bloody brilliant.
Overall, Dr. Horrible is just FUN and full of heart. One of my favorite lines is Dr. Horrible’s response to Penny saying how people can be different underneath: “And sometimes there’s a third even deeper level and that one is the same as the top surface one. Like with pie.” Dr. Horrible is not like pie. It has depth that is peeled back and revealed layer by layer.
Although I’ve gotten to really like Nathan Fillion’s acting through his role as Captain Malcom Reynolds in Whedon’s series Firefly, or the movie Serenity, I wouldn’t have thought he could sing. I’ll give credit where credit is due- I was surprised. On the other hand, Neil Patrick Harris whom I would have really liked to see in the Broadway production of Rent was no surprise. Felicia Day, who I just realized I’ve seen on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has a beautiful voice.
Whedon’s writing and vision combined with the creative talents of the production team and actors make for an Emmy award winner, if it were aired on television. The show was produced during the writers’ strike and released only online for viewing. Due to its quick and growing popularity, the DVD and soundtrack have recently been released. There is also the possibility of more blogging from Dr. Horrible. Although it can’t be nominated for an Emmy, David Bianculli from NPR placed it as number 10 in his top 10 TV shows of 2008. He was looking at what gave him “the most delight, the most joy, and Dr. Horrible did”.
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog can be fully viewed at its website. Or for a quick peek, below is a scene and a song with Dr. Horrible, Captain Hammer, and Penny. Because I thought “A Man’s Gotta Do” is a better and funnier preview, the official trailer is further down.
“A Man’s Gotta Do”: