At last we've seen the first installment of Joss Whedon's new web series, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and it's sweeter than we'd ever imagined. And I do mean sweet: It's the tale of a romantic but evil mad scientist, Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris), who wants nothing more than to snag the attention of a cute girl named Penny who goes to his laundromat. Sure, he has a few other goals: He wants to join Bad Horse, leader of the Evil League of Evil (which he's been applying to get into via mail); and he's hoping to take over the world. The songs, one of which we've got for you here, are well-staged and well-written. I am enraptured by the fact that Whedon has turned Dr. Horrible's explanation of his freeze ray into a love song.
Each segment of the series will be a videoblog-style post from Dr. Horrible in which he answers email (in the shot above, he explains how his transmatter device went a little wrong on a gold brick), sings, hangs out with his evil buddy Moist (power of making things soggy), and tangles with his nemesis Captain Hammer (Nathan "Mal from Firefly" Fillion). Fillon is terrifically campy in the role of Captain Hammer, whose uniform is a t-shirt with a hammer on it (about to be The Internet's Most Wanted Tee) and rubber gloves. That all the heroes wear these weird rubber gloves and shoes as their uniforms is a great touch, and reminds me of very much of the sweet but satirical style of Austin Grossman's superhero novel Soon I Will Be Invincible.
Each episode is about 18 minutes long, and will provide you far more minutes than that in entertainment and sing-along fun. Yes, I am already singing the Freeze Ray song. Tune in this Thursday to find out what happens now that Penny thinks Captain Hammer saved her life even though it was really Dr. Horrible!
Whedon says the whole point of this series, aside from making a bunch of silly jokes and adding to the not-very-large body of supervillain musicals, is to change the way Hollywood does business. He writes:
It wouldn't hurt if this really was an event. Good for the business, good for the community – communitIES: Hollywood, internet, artists around the world, comic-book fans, musical fans (and even the rather vocal community of people who hate both but will still dig on this). Proving we can turn Dr Horrible into a viable economic proposition as well as an awesome goof will only inspire more people to lay themselves out in the same way. It's time for the dissemination of the artistic process. Create more for less. You are the ones that can make that happen.
You can watch the episode on Dr. Horrible's blog, or download it via iTunes.