The internet is usually a place buzzing about something - actually more like 10,000 something's - but for the week of July 14 through July 20 there was one buzz that took over: Dr. Horrible.
Brought to an Internet audience by Joss Whedon
, he of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer
," and "Firefly
" fame, this approximately 45-minute dramedy musical starred the talents of Nathan Fillion
("Firefly," "Desperate Housewives
"), Neil Patrick Harris
("How I Met Your Mother
") and Felicia Day ("Buffy," online series "The Guild.")
The musical is officially titled "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" and was released in three Acts on July 15, 17 and 19. The viewing audience on July 15 was so high that they "broke" the Internet, causing the website to crash and then the iTunes sales to rocket up to the first place for each episode. Not too bad for a musical lark!
This project was hyped for months due to the fact that Whedon, his brothers Zack and Jed, and Jed's fiance Maurissa Tancharoen wrote it during the writer's strike. It was meant to be a small and inexpensive project solely for the Internet, but no one could have expected how it took off.
"Dr. Horrible" is about Billy aka Dr. Horrible (Harris), an aspiring villain who wishes to get into the Evil League of Evil, led by the nefarious Bad Horse. He also wishes to win the heart of do gooder Penny (Day), who he sees every day at the laundromat and is afraid to talk to. Things get more complicated when he inadvertently causes Penny to meet and fall for his arch nemesis Captain Hammer (Fillion). The sweet hearted Billy is not exactly what one would expect of an evil scientist, but then again the hammy and cruel Captain Hammer is not a typical hero either. Will Billy get his dream of super-villain fame and persuade Penny to love him?
Here's a warning: If Whedon is writing it, probably not. Or if he does get what he wants, it will be in the worst way possible.
A comic book tie-in was also created about Captain Hammer thanks to Dark Horse, and Whedon officially announced at the San Diego comic con that there will be a continuation of the story in one way or another. The main cast and writers of "Dr Horrible" were in attendance during a panel on Friday, July 25, and they discussed the future of the internet hit. Right away, the cast showed their playful natures by having Harris run out with a Dr. Horrible freeze ray, and Fillion pulled the chair out from under him so he crashed to the floor. Later on the tables were turned when Fillion got up to encourage the audience screams, and Harris pulled the chair out from under him! The two continued to be silly by Harris referring to "Doogie Howser
" as his 'heroin years' and Fillion quoting a line from the musical itself and insisting his penis was in fact shaped like a hammer.
One of the consistent questions/themes asked of Whedon throughout Comic Con was his decision to brutally kill several of his favored characters, and it became a running gag for him to defend himself, only to realize he couldn't really think of a happy ending he wrote. Whedon also expressed his interest in using the Web for further projects. The cast asked everyone in the audience to come to the "Dr. Horrible" showing that night and gushed about their favorite musicals and the DVD extras. Get ready for 'Commentary the Musical' which will be on the DVD, and there will also be video submissions for the fans on why they should get into the Evil League of Evil. The showing of "Dr. Horrible" later on was full at least two hours before it even began and involved a lot of off-key singing and loud laughter, which likely disturbed other rooms around it.
The soundtrack will be out in a few weeks, and Hulu.com currently has the entire project online. It is better to just buy it off iTunes because then it can be on the iPod and encourage Whedon for more genius ideas. This musical was very funny, well sung, and sometimes crushingly painful, but overall definitely worth a listen. For fans who want to keep updated, go to www.drhorrible.com, and for the die-hards look out for the Captain Hammer and Dr. Horrible t-shirts. This was quite a phenomenon, so join in on the fun. You better, or Bad Horse will make you his mare!
Story by Chelsea 'Dee' Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer