Halloween always drums up memories. Memories of personal hauntings. Unforgettable costumes. Favorite scary movies. But my favorite part of Halloween is the conversations that begin with, “Have you ever seen…?” Enter this edition of Throwback Thursday, and enter Joss Whedon’s web-series, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”
I’m a fan of Joss Whedon’s. It’s hard not to be when you were a teenager while Sarah Michelle Gellar was slaying vampires and parading around with super-cool David Boreanaz. Whedon has a way with ensemble casts and witty dialogue that escalated him from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly” to superhuman status with “The Avengers” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” which, the more I watch, the more I’m convinced is actually the long-awaited “Firefly” sequel in disguise.
That said, Dr. Horrible had been on my radar but never watched until recently, when a friend began one of those priceless October conversations with “Have you ever seen…?”
“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” debuted as team Whedon’s shoe-string budget free three-webisode series in 2008, featuring Neil Patrick Harris as the title character, a singing super-villain love-struck by Penny (Felicia Day, The Guild), a girl he tries to gather the nerve to talk to at the laundromat. After inadvertently introducing Penny to his arch-nemesis, the powerful Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion of Whedon’s Firefly), Dr. Horrible’s relationship with her, and his pending application to the Evil League of Evil, is jeopardized.
Campy, cheesy and hilarious, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” is a satirical musical masterpiece in a brief 45 minutes. Harris’ Dr. Horrible is incessantly likable and does much to highlight Harris’ singing acumen. Felicia Day’s acting and vocal performance is a sweet and subdued contrary to Fillion’s very anti-Fillion role as machismo dunce Captain Hammer, a comically self-centered buffoon reminiscent of “The Tick.” Simon Helberg (Howard, from TV’s “The Big Bang Theory”) also appears as Dr. Horrible’s sidekick, “Moist,” whose only superpower is his constant sweating and ability to make others want to shower.
The wonderfully amusing musical short is worth a look for anyone who’s missed it, and worth revisiting for those lucid enough to have discovered the sensation as it happened. It’s also worth checking out some of the infinite number of fan films on YouTube dedicated to what is quickly becoming a cult classic and inspiration for independent film-making.
No longer available online, catch “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” on Netflix, iTunes and Blu-ray.
BITTER GRADE: B