For anyone who has secretly rooted for the comicbook antagonist or milked a nefarious vendetta to crush the world, Joss Whedon‘s Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog will have instant appeal. Whedon, a screenwriter and creator of the sprawling Buffyverse, has lent his genre-inverting genius to a narrative landscape slightly atypical to his previous work. Written during the writers strike, Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is also unusal in that it will initially be freely available to view on the Internet. It comes in three Acts, totaling 35 – 45 minutes, and focuses on the story of a struggling, low-rent villain self-titled Dr. Horrible. Played by cult television icon, Neil Patrick Harris, the goggle-clad wannabe super-villian plans to undo the status quo, gain entrance into the Evil League of Evil, and win over the heart of a homeless shelter worker (Felicia Day, a potential Slayer from the last season of Buffy). All the while, Dr. Horrible must contend with the barrel-chested, angular-jawed superhero, Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion, from Firefly). Did I mention there is singing?
Whedon draws his characters well. And particularly his villains. The triumvirate of evil nerds from Season Six of Buffy were one of the most memorable malefactors of a television show for me. In this sci-fi internet musical, Whedon further twists conventions with a main character spilling enough flaws to enable an easy sympathetic propinquity despite his obvious alignment. With his lyrical monologues of unrequited love and impotency against his indefatigable nemesis, Dr. Horribles dark schemes are not obstacles to us. Whedon’s unique dialogue (transmogrifying words and grafting pop culture references long before Diablo Cody) is there, along with the whacky musical dexterity Whedon showed in the hugely popular episode of Buffy, ‘Once More with Feeling’. These songs might not have as much saliency as those, but they’re odd and wonderfully peculiar enough (and I’m no devotee of musicals). Eventually, the internet musical will be released on DVD, which is certainly going on my Christmas list.