A lot can happen in a decade. I’ve turned into an adult and now have my very own job when just ten years ago, I didn’t concern myself with any major responsibilities like paying bills and stuff. A modest show like the Big Bang Theory can become the most watch sitcom of the modern era in that same span of time. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was just beginning and is now the biggest Hollywood franchise ever, thanks to guys like Avengers writer and director Joss Whedon.
But not everything can be good, can’t they? There are things that happened ten years ago that have slowly been forgotten and no one really remembers all that much. I’m not talking about just bad stuff; there were a lot of good stuff that happened a decade ago that people can vaguely recall. Remember Joss Whedon, the guy I said who wrote and directed The Avengers? Well, he did a little project that no one seems to be talking about nowadays despite taking the world by storm.
That project was Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
Since Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is rather old (around ten years old if you’ve been paying attention), I’m pretty comfortable doling out SPOILERS from here on out. But this is, at the same time, a warning to those who haven’t seen the wonderful three-act mini movie that is Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Suffice to say, you should watch it. In fact, I just embeded the entire thing from where is still available. If it’s not showing up anymore, don’t blame me. Blame the corporate entities that are making it difficult to show something that was totally free years ago!
Anyway, here’s a summary of the entire thing, which you can watch above (it’s still there, I hope). Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is a story about Billy, who is secretly a misunderstood and kinda evil mad scientist who goes by Dr. Horrible. He desperately wants to prove his evilness to join the Evil League of Evil but his plans are thwarted by the narcissistic but nigh invulnerable Captain Hammer, his arch-nemesis. Billy/Dr. Horrible is also smitten by the kind-hearted and idealistic homeless shelter volunteer, Penny. During one of his crimes, Dr. Horrible inadvertently causes Captain Hammer and Penny to meet and fall in love. Well, Penny falls in love with Captain Hammer; Captain Hammer is just dating her to spite Dr. Horrible. Thus begins a strange love triangle between the three of them.
First of all, there’s a lot to love about Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. The first thing I have to mention is, of course, the music. All of the songs, from the first song (Freeze Ray) to the last song (Everything You Ever) are all catchy in their own right. But, with a musical, it isn’t enough for a song to be memorable. The song has to push the story forward and fit the moment. Thankfully, all of the songs all work in the context of what’s happening with the characters.
My favorite song has to be Brand New Day. I’ve always been a huge fan of the “bad guy” song from Disney films. Whether it be Gaston’s Song from Beauty and the Beast, Poor Unfortunate Souls from The Little Mermaid or Mother Knows Best from Tangled, there’s just something deliciously empowering about them. It just gets me riled and hyped. Brand New Day may be sung by Dr. Horrible, who isn’t necessarily the “bad guy,” but it still invokes the same emotion in me. It’s just great.
The music and the singing is all great. But what about the acting? Well, Dr. Horrible has great performances from all the actors as well. It’s actually pretty amazing how Joss Whedon got Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible) and Nathan Fillion (Captain Hammer) to participate in the project. Then again, Dr. Horrible came about because of the Writer’s Strike of 2008 so they weren’t doing anything. I don’t think they were paid all that much; they probably did it because it was cool.
Still, this was one of the cases of perfect casting. Neil Patrick Harris is a very versatile actor and Dr. Horrible needed that kind of versatility as he not only has to play a geeky guy who wants to be tough, but he also has to be menacing and lovestruck as well. He pulls off a tour de force here as Dr. Horrible. Nathan Fillion as Captain Hammer is also pitch perfect. While he’s definitely not the best singer, he pulls off the cocky and self-obsessed
dick hero extremely well.
The weakest performance comes from Felicia Day, who plays Penny. It’s not really Ms. Felicia Day’s fault, mind you. It’s mostly because of how her character is written. Penny just isn’t all that interesting. In fact, there are times when I found the doe-eyed innocence of Penny infuriating as she refuses to see who the good and bad guy really is. In retrospect, that was kind of the point. I will say that Felicia Day’s voice is really good but, since she’s playing the goody-two-shoes Penny, she never gets to do a really hard-hitting vocal performance throughout any of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog three acts.
The overall story of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is also fantastic. Despite it being all about a wannabe supervillain, it tackles a familiar story arc of a person who’s been underestimated all his life and his quest to show the world he’s better. It’s delightfully funny at all the right moments and has that signature Joss Whedon flavor to it. It’s so good that Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, despite it only being available in the then-fringe Internet medium, won an Emmy for a category that they probably just invented that year for it to win! It was featured on the actual show as well because it was that well-known!
The only real complaint I do have with Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is its ending. Throughout the entire three acts, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was a good lighthearted comedy musical. The ending does turn everything on its head and become a rather dark tale with a “be careful what you wish for” moral. The tone almost feels like the ending of Avengers: Infinity War. It’s that dark! The ending is also very abrupt and from out of nowhere. I understand what Joss Whedon was going for and, in all honesty, I felt the way they did close it out was perfect for what they were going for. It’s just that I wasn’t ready for how heavy things got. I liked it but, at the same time, it left a very heavy feeling in my heart.
Ten years is a long time. The Big Bang Theory is ending its very successful run in just a few weeks. Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to begin. Yet, even though a lot of time has passed, we still don’t have a sequel to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Time seems to be slowly forgetting it even exists because it’s barely mentioned today despite it practically conquering the entertainment world then. I do believe that it deserves another entry as Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was creative and funny then and still holds up today.
Please, Joss Whedon. Make it happen. We need to see what’s happened with Dr. Horrible
Have you seen Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (which you can since I’ve linked the video above)? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments section below!
One thought on “I’ll Review Anything: Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Blog”
Yesss I just re-watched Dr. Horrible a few days ago, and it reminded me of how much I loved it. “My Eyes” and “Bad Horse Chorus” have been looping through my head for days now (which is actually sort of comforting what with the current crisis), and I’m definitely gearing up for another rewatch sometime this year. Thank you for posting about it! I know this is a bit late, but I really enjoyed reading your post (especially with how under-appreciated Dr. Horrible has become in recent years).