Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dr. Horrible is Good Medicine

What do the following works of entertainment have in common? Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Toy Story, Firefly/Serenity, Angel? They are all successful movies and television shows, you might say. True. They are all written, directed or produced by Joss Whedon. True. Joss Whedon has produced a new and very entertaining new musical. TRUE!

If you have not yet discovered it, let me be the first to introduce it to you. “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” is the latest invention of Joss Whedon and like everything else he has made, its outstanding. Just like any blog, its available for viewing online for free anytime (let’s hope Whedon has pioneered the next generation of entertainment distribution). Of course, there are links to purchase CD’s, mp3’s, DVD’s of this great little musical.

How did I find this little gem? I regret that I came across it months later than the rest of it’s cult following. I have spent the last few weeks watching old reruns of Buffy and Serenity. Last night I was satisfying my scifi itch by watching Starship Troopers again. Of course, I was completely entranced by a plucky young Casper Van Dien acting all butch and killing bugs. But, the long and lanky Neil Patrick Harris shows up occasionally on the show and I think to myself, “Gee, its nice to know that Neil is part of the family.” I wondered what else Neil might have done recently. I knew of the “How I Met Your Mother” thing and don’t care for it. A quick blog search found Neil as Dr. Horrible. A quick click later and I was hooked.

The blog begins with Neil as Dr. Horrible reading responses to blog viewers. We find that he is currently building a freeze ray but is in need of Wonderflonium. His nemesis is the dunderheaded hero Captain Hammer played by the hunkalicious Nathan Fillion (captain of the Serenity in Whedon’s Firefly). The story is wonderfully corny and silly. The plot is nothing more than a love triangle with our two male leads competing for the love of Penny (Felicia Day). In the hands of such experts this little jewel really shines. Neil and Nathan ham it up beautifully. The music is top notch the voices are great. Might we be looking at the next Rocky Horror Picture Show? I can certainly see this easily being expanded to a stage treatment. I hope Joss is thinking about it.

At the end of 43 minutes it leaves you begging for more. Whedon created this little indie short back during the summer while the writers strike was going on. Making it on his own instead of in the studio system allowed him to do his own thing. It’s great. If you remember, Toy Story was a musical and one episode of Buffy was a musical. It shouldn’t surprise us that Whedon would find success with Horrible in this genre. But, who knew that Fillion (the hunk) could sing and that Neil actually had comic chops?

Check this out. As Martha would say, “It’s a good thing.”

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