Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dr. Horrible, Act I

For anyone who still relishes the day they first saw the musical Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Once More With Feeling", one of the indisputable high points of an already genius TV series, writer/director Joss Whedon is tunesmithing again. The first act of his web series Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog is up. Whedon isn't a brilliant composer (Dr. Horrible's music sounds a lot like the score of "Once More With Feeling") but he understands the beats of musical storytelling and his love of the genre shines radiantly through. Plus, any opportunity to hear Neil Patrick Harris sing, I take. (He was super fine in Sondheim's Assassins)

Harris --still working that amazing career upswing (cross your fingers for an Emmy nod tomorrow for How I Met Your Mother) since coming out -- is adorable and funny as a low rent super villian trying to gain membership into the Evil League of Evil. The episode begins as he's rehearsing his evil laugh
I'm working with a vocal coach. Strengthening the "aahh-ah". A lot of guys ignore the laugh. And that's about standards!

His nemesis, super smug good guy "Captain Hammer", is played by 'Captain Tight Pants' himself from Firefly (tv) and Serenity (its movie), Nathan Fillion (pictured, right). One of the things I most cherish about Whedon as an artist is that he sticks with his favorite actors. Maybe I'm especially drawn to writer/directors who do that because I imagine that I'd do the same if I were in their line of work. I love the idea of old school entertainment troupes --roving bands of actors, the same faces over and over again in different roles. It's one reason I love the first 2/3rds of Woody Allen's career so much and a reason I cherish Almodovar's entire filmography. I get why P.T. Anderson (another troupe friendly auteur) recently went with all new players for his fifth picture There Will Be Blood but I hope it's not a sign that he feels he needs to slough off any old skin. His team (Moore, Reilly, Hall, Walters, Guzmán, Macy) was killer after all.

Anyway... enjoy this 15 minute musical and report back. I'd also love to hear what other web series you're watching. There are more and more of them vying for our attention.


Anonymous said...

This thing is brilliant. I am not a fan of Whedon, actually. He almost single-handedly destroyed ALIEN RESURRECTION, among his many other crimes. Oh, and BUFFY sucks.

This, however, is inspired, fun, and, most significantly, an important gunshot in the war between traditional and web-based media.

Neil Patrick Harris amazes me. He very easily could have been discarded in the trashcan of eighties novelties after DOOGIE HOWSER. Instead, he has carved out a magnificent career with tons of talent and a marvelous sense of humor. LOVE HIM!!!

Janice said...

I second everything Ray said about this blogseries and about NPH. Brilliant, fun stuff - who needs TV anymore?

I love how it plays with every cliche of superhero comics, movie villians and heros, geek fanboys, etc. ("Do you want me to...get something wet for you?")

Great find, Nat - I can't wait to see the other episodes.


Ray, no offense but i totally don't trust people who don't get Buffy. You're SUSPECT. Do you have shifty eyes? ;)

TB said...

Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Serenity, and now this?! God, I love Joss Whedon.

I can't wait for Dollhouse.

Anonymous said...

This was so wonderful. I feel like I talk about this all the time, but Joss Whedon and I went to the same college and has the same film professors, one of whom had one maxim about Westerns that he repeated over and over: "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do." So the final song in Dr. Horrible Act I really gave me a thrill.

I might need to try Firefly again, now that Nathan Fillion is proving himself to be such a hunk.

Kevin Christensen said...

If you're looking for more good webseries, 'Cataclysmo and the Time Boys' is in it's second season. Dr. Horrible is actually very similar to it, they are both hero-action comedy/dramas.

You can find it on youtube or at, and if you like Dr. Horrible, you might like Cataclysmo.

Melinda Seckington said...

I'm loving Dr Horrible, the songs have been stuck in my head ever since I saw it! Then again I am a huge Buffy/Firefly fan and I adored Once More With Feeling.

Not sure about Dollhouse yet. Haven't really seen any of the humor in it and that's what really will make it.

Jimmy Rogers said...

Here is a link to my take on Act I:

At the bottom of that it will take you to my recap of Act II

Anonymous said...

Joss Whedon also co-wrote the first Toy Story. I'm just saying.

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