Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Act 1: No bait-and-switch here

After much struggle to get the official site to work -- and before I knew about one alternate viewing method or another -- I went to iTunes to download the first part of "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," and it was legen... wait for it... well, we can talk about that after the jump, and I hope you're not lactose intolerant...

DARY!

Please forgive the tired(?) Barney Stinson reference, but at this point the only other adjective I think I can find to describe "Dr. Horrible" would be another of his favorites: awesome.

We know Joss Whedon loves to mash-up disparate elements of pop culture. So the idea of a comic book supervillain story told for/by the YouTube generation, with Sondheim-style musical numbers, seems exactly like the sort of thing he'd come up with while walking the picket line and letting his brain wander with him.

But the idea behind "Dr. Horrible" would be amusing for about three minutes if that's all he had. Thankfully, the execution is wonderful, from Neil Patrick Harris' quiet, sympathetic performance as the title character to Nathan Fillion's cocky obliviousness as Captain Hammer, to details like Dr. Horrible's sidekick/friend Moist ruining the mail or the cowboy chorus singing along about Bad Horse.

Like the classic "Buffy" episode "Once More With Feeling," I don't know that the songs are so wonderful that they would stand along on their own (whenever a "Once More" song comes up on my iPod on shuffle, I usually skip past it), but in this context, they work perfectly.

I couldn't be more eager to see Acts 2 & 3 over the next couple of days, and will try to blog on them, however briefly, after the debut.

What did everybody else think?

20 comments:

R.A. Porter said...

Hehehehehehehehehe!!!

Despite all the annoying technical issues - and even here in the good ol' USofA I was bitten by one of them - this made me exceedingly happy. I cannot wait for acts two and three!

But now I have to hire a vocal coach to help me with my evil laugh.

Moo ha ha!

Oh, quite a bit off-topic: Mo Ryan tweeted last night that she saw Nicki Clyne with Joss at the FOX party. Please, please...use your voodoo to find out if she's joining Dollhouse. I'd really like the time to save up money for a quick trip aboard Richard Branson's spaceship if so. For her. And Tory of course. Just a friendly trip...

Scott Tobias said...

Very excited to watch the show, which I just downloaded off iTunes, but I need to point out a bit of a typo, Alan. That is, unless you mean to describe Nathan Fillion's obliviousness in that way.

Jenn said...

It was awesomely lengendary. Loved every second of it. I didn't have any technical issues (11 PM ET), but also downloaded it from iTunes in support and adoration. I'm not a Whendon fangirl, but loved OMwF and am a huge NPH fan. When Fillion showed up, I squealed. This really made a crappy week much less so.

Girl Detective said...

I watched this just after I watched the video teaser for season 5 of house, and the same actress is in both of them.

Charles said...

It was teh awesome, especially Captain Hammer's entrance.

One note: the head of ELE is Bad Horse, not Bad Wolf. Too much Doctor Who, I think.

elka said...

Admittedly, when "Once More With Feeling" songs come on my shuffle, I sing or hum along. I'm just wondering if its bad that I fangirled enough watching the third time to clap my hands a little.

@charles: I thought it was. Then I read this post and thought Joss Whedon was making an awesome shout-out. Then there was the aforementioned third viewing and my little heart was crushed. (But then there were singing cowboys... they helped.)

jim treacher said...

It only made me cringe a little bit!

Pirate Alice said...

SO AWESOME I think I may have to SQUEEE!!!

Isn't that the same girl from the Cheeto's commercial in the laundromat? Ya know, where she puts the Cheeto's in the dryer? Or is it just the laundromat making me think that?

melanie said...

No, you're right, Pirate Alice, that's Felicia Day in BOTH laundromats.

Dark Tyler said...

Once more with SQUEE!, right? I caught up with Joss' work like 3 minutes before the release of Serenity, so I've never had this feeling of eagerly awaiting whatever amazing thing he was going to do next, and then seeing it and feeling absolutely worth the wait and the hype. This just made my day; if only there was a Dr. Horrible for every day of the week. Of every week!

(There are 2 or 3 songs from OMWF that are really good by the way, whatever their context. The James Marsters one especially is amazing, and the one where Tara, Willow and Giles all sing together, as well.)

Karen said...

I couldn't get the site to work at all, so I was thrilled to learn I could download from iTunes: 4 bucks for 3 episodes of Josserrific goodness is a bargain to me.

It would have been good with NPH just being evil. His tongue-tied shyness with FD made it great. Poignant, even. The music was good but not as good, I thought, as the Buffy musical. Joss has a great line on the DVD commentary for OMwF, where he's talking about the musical theatre composers who inspired him, that goes something like, "And then there's Sondheim...but of course he's a genius, and I forgot to DO that."

I am a total Whedon fangirl, admittedly, but I can't imagine anyone watching this and not enjoying it.

When does episode 2 drop?

Bobman said...

So... is this just a three-part little web special? Or is this some precursor to a larger series?

As the former, it is utterly awesome. As the latter.... I think it would lose it's charm.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Bobman, I believe it's self-contained -- just an idea Joss had on the picket line and that he was allowed to do during the strike because it wasn't for one of the AMPTP companies.

There's going to be a DVD with a lot of extras, but NPH is busy with HIMYM and Joss is busy with Dollhouse, so I'm assuming this is it.

Mac said...

I think Joss has said that he'd like for this to grow into something more, but I can't imagine that would be a regular series.

Was this shot on the same lot as the HIMYM outdoor scenes? Everything looked awfully familiar.

Grunt said...

I thought it started slow (seriously, I sat there wondering if I had gotten to some sort of teaser and not the first part) but once the first 2 minutes were over I loved it. I can't wait until part two.

Anonymous said...

@mac: I read that Dr. Horrible was shot on the Universal lot (on a section that was destroyed by the recent fire, in fact). HIMYM is shot on the Fox lot.

Nicole said...

I just saw this and enjoyed it so much! NPH works so well in this role and completely steals the show. His past on Broadway obviously helps, but it's nice to see that he can play something beyond the obnoxious Barney.

Rand said...

I'm actually surprised that a lot of big actors and such are doing stuff for free on the internet (while Dr. Horrible impresses me, the history major in me is more impressed by the Drunken Historian skits on YouTube), but I suppose since it's fun and costs them virtually nothing and gives them a bit more fame in fact... well, then it does make sense, sort of like how top programmers do open source code for free software projects. Yet, in the long term, I wonder if this'll dilute the financial stability of television... oh well, such is the way of the world.

jim treacher said...

Plus, they didn't have anything else to do during the strike. NPH also did an episode of some 5-minute web sitcom whose name I cannot remember. It wasn't at all funny, but it was still like, "Hey, cool, NPH likes to keep busy."

Dani in NC said...

I wouldn't call myself a Whedon fangirl, but I enjoyed Dr. Horrible. I think the novelty of it being only available on the internet increased my enjoyment a little.

I also connected to something Whedon said in an interview. He said that he released Dr. Horrible the way he did because he wanted to create an event where everyone had to show up at a certain place at a certain time. That's one thing I miss about TV before DVRs and DVDs. There was some excitement in running home to watch your favorite show or to watch a special TV movie that may never come on again. I'm glad that my TV doesn't rule my life anymore, but I miss that rush a little.