Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
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This is a 3-part musical, written by Joss Whedon and his kin, so naturally it reminds me of the musical episode ("Once More, With Feeling") of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Of course, it's bloody brilliant, incredibly hilarious. It was written during the 2007-2008 writers' strike, produced independently for the internet.
The title character, Dr. Horrible (played by Neil Patrick Harris) is an evil scientist, who has a video blog. He's trying to get into the Evil League of Evil, so far without much luck. He's constantly beaten by a superhero called Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion), who seems kind of dumb, self-centered, a total jerk. But everyone loves him. Meanwhile, there's a girl named Penny (Felicia Day), who Dr. Horrible (aka "Billy") often sees at the laundromat. He likes her a lot, but has never been able to work up the nerve to talk to her. That is, until one day he's in the midst of a heist to obtain the wonderflonium he needs to complete his freeze ray (which would freeze time for the person he aims it at). Penny unwittingly interrupts him by asking him to sign a petition to turn a building into a homeless shelter.
After signing, Dr. Horrible continues with his heist, but is thwarted by the arrival of Captain Hammer, who ends up nearly causing Penny's death, but ultimately saving her, so she falls for him, and they start dating, much to Dr. Horrible's consternation. But at least while Hammer is distracted with Penny, it allows him to sneak off with the wonderflonium. Later, "Billy" and Penny become friends, though of course it's hard for him to listen to her talk about Captain Hammer. Who actually shows up, recognizes Billy as Dr. Horrible, but doesn't say anything to Penny. Rather, he torments Dr. Horrible by talking about what he plans to do with Penny, since he knows Horrible likes her. Yeah, the hero's definitely a major ass-hole (which I rather thought should be his name, "Major Ass-Hole"), but actually it's good for plot development, as it strengthens Dr. Horrible's resolve to become more evil and do what he has to do to be accepted by the ELE.
Finally, Captain Hammer is being honored by the city for his part in making Penny's dream of a homeless shelter a reality. From the things he says (or rather, sings) in his speech, Penny seems to begin realizing he's not such a great guy after all, and starts distancing herself from him. But then Dr. Horrible shows up with his perfected freeze ray, and freezes Hammer. He also has a death ray, but you know, songs take time, and the power seems to run out on the freeze ray, thus releasing Captain Hammer to save the day. However... the entire situation quickly goes horribly awry. I don't want to spoil how it all ends, but it was rather tragic, and yet also... a nice change of pace, for any fans of supervillains, such as myself....
Well, anyway. Hmmm. I may have forgotten to mention some things. Like Dr. Horrible has a friend called Moist (Simon Helberg), who is an evil henchman, though I don't think he was supposed to be Horrible's henchman. Anyway... the humor was great, the characters were great, the music was great, the overall story was great. The whole thing about Penny and Dr. Horrible both wanting to change the world for the better, but having wildly different ideas about how to go about it... was great. And I very much hope they do a sequel at some point. And related one-shot comic stories occasionally appeared on Dark Horse Presents (on MySpace), including "Captain Hammer: Be Like Me!", "Moist: Humidity Rising", and "Penny: Keep Your Head Up". (Alas, those stories are no longer online, but they've been collected in a graphic novel.)
Oh, you might also want to check out Bad Horse Death Note, by Tom Smith. It's a very short song about the anime Death Note, to the tune of one of the songs from this series. And it's awesome.