The good news: Fans of Joss Whedon, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly fame, don’t have to wait until Fox’s midseason series Dollhouse to see new product from Joss. Beginning today, he’s unrolling a new serialized project on the Internet: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, a three-part comedy with music starring Neil Patrick Harris as a lovestruck mad-scientist villain.
The bad news: Shortly after I saw part one (which, like the others to be rolled out later this week, is about 15 minutes long), the website dedicated to this new Whedon offering, www.drhorrible.com , crashed because of high-density web traffic. Webmasters there predict it’ll be up again in a few hours.
The good news: Even if it’s not up and running by the time you read this, it’s also available as a download on iTunes.
The really, really good news is that Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is so much flat-out fun. Despite the title, it’s neither a blog nor a sing-along – though, like Whedon’s brilliant previous musical experiment with the “Once More with Feeling” episode of Buffy, it’s got music and lyrics with more wit and depth and style than lots of shows that make it to Broadway.
Dr. Horrible begins like what you’d expect from an Internet-produced effort: one actor (Harris, a savvy veteran of such Broadway musical revivals as Cabaret and Assassins), addressing the camera directly in a low-rent location. But very quickly, it opens up, presenting supporting characters, co-stars, and even an outdoor action sequence featuring a runaway vehicle and the sudden appearance of the heroic superhero Captain Hammer, played by Nathan Fillion, captain of the Serenity spaceship on Whedon’s Firefly.
“With my freeze ray, I will stop the world,” Harris’ Dr. Horrible sings. He practices his villainous laugh, but becomes tongue-tied in the presence of a young woman for whom he pines from afar. Harris, playing the flip side of his swaggering, womanizing Barney character on How I Met Your Mother, is delightful, as is the entire, fast-paced Part 1.
Download it, or be patient trying to reach the website. Dr. Horrible is worth it. Actually, it’s Dr. Terrific.
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