Barring some kind of goofy, character-defying twist like making Penny turn out to be Bad Horse, "Dr. Horrible" was going to end one of two ways: Dr. Horrible gets the girl, or Dr. Horrible becomes the supervillain of his dreams. Joss Whedon chose the latter, and chose to have it play out in the worst way possible for poor Billy. He gets the thing he thought he wanted, but at the cost of what he really wanted. Lovely work by NPH and Felicia Day, particularly that gut punch of a moment where the dying Penny tells him not to worry, that Captain Hammer will save them.
The rest of it was the usual cleverness we've come to expect over the previous two acts. Bad Horse turns out to be an actual horse, and is in the Evil League of Evil with the likes of Fake Thomas Jefferson, Dead Bowie and Professor Normal. Captain Hammer sings a song belittling the homeless, but it's so catchy and he's so handsome that everybody but Penny wants to sing along. And Captain Hammer turns out to be a bully who can dish it out but can't take it, judging by his crying jags after actually being hurt by the backfire of Dr. Horrible's death ray.
All in all, this was a lot of fun, bringing lots of what I enjoy about Joss Whedon's work even on a micro-budget scale.
Will there be further adventures of poor Dr. Horrible? That's one of the questions that came up when I tag-teamed Neil with Mo Ryan (which is why many of the quotes here are the same as the ones you can see in her own "Dr. Horrible" post) at CBS' press tour party last night. Some excerpts:
On the huge day one reaction to "Dr. Horrible," which overwhelmed the servers:What did everybody else think?
"We got an e-mail from Joss that said, 'Gang, we broke the internet.' That's all he said. That's awesome."
On how much he enjoyed being a part of the project:
I will say that once I actually downloaded Jed singing the scratch tracks, I had trouble not listening to it. I was listening to it all the time. Partly because Iw as having to sing it, but partly because I think the songs are really really catchy. And then once I sang it, I listened to myself singing it, and I still will go on an airplane, if there's turbulence, listen to Dr. Horrible. I think I've watched the three parts 7 or 8 times each -- and I was in it! I gain nothing while doing that except that they're really clever.
While we were filming it, I thought we were sitting on something really unique and good, and I know Joss cared about it enough that I suspected he wouldn't fuck it up in editing or change its trajectory.
On how he got involved:
I've been friendly with Joss on a personal level for a while and have always wanted to work with him. I've known him since early Buffy days. ... I usually see him at social gatherings, we have similar groups of friends. He's the kind of person where you talk to him, and he's so clever that you try to keep up with him. So when he wrote a part that I got to play, it was kinda him, him being himself. Then I had a bigger challenge to try to emulate Joss' mind a little bit. The songs are great. Act III is killer.
What would happen if Barney Stinson and Dr. Horrible met, and, more importantly, ho'od win in a fight?
I would suspect that Barney would be very dismissive of Dr. Horrible. He's a bit nerdy in prototype. But I think Dr. horrible would win the fight, just because Barney probably represents all the guys who laughed at him when he was younger. Plus, he has a freeze ray.
On where each iconic character would rank on an awesomeness scale:
Dr. Horrible, on a scale of 1 to 10 is a 10, and Barney's, like, 27.
Will there be more Dr. Horrible?
Joss has some strange giant master plan that includes much more than a sequel. Joss thinks on a great many levels. When he was pitching this to us, he said, 'This will take over the world, and there will be musicals on stage and feature films and we'll get our own television network and they'll name awards after us.'
I think we're all giggling like little schoolgirls for a week or so and then he'll figure out what he wants to do next.