Joss Whedon is at it again. This time with a online-broadcast of a three-act musical he wrote during the Writer’s Strike. Hey, clearly, some people just do it because they love it. Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is a Superhero story pitting the evil Doctor Horrible (played by Neil Patrick Harris) against the hero Captain Hammer (played by Nathan Fillion). Both of whom are competing for the love of the beautiful Penny (played by Felicia Day).
The project is written by Joss and his half-brother Zack, who wrote on Deadwood, and the music was all composed by his half-brother Jeb. Joss and Zack have worked together previously on the Nervouscircus series of YouTube videos, which I had never heard of before today, and will likely be consuming rapidly for a while in my love for all things Joss.
The visual style of Doctor Horrible reminds me greatly of the 1930s and 40s era superhero and monster films, though with perhaps a touch more satirical bent. The first Act went online today, July 15th, with Act 2 due on the 17th, and Act 3 on the 19th. However, the video will only be available online for free until Sunday, July 20th, so if you want to catch this special event, you’ll have to hurry! Luckily, after the fact you’ll be able to get the video off iTunes (I’d say buy, but it’s clearly just a prohibitive license), or on DVD.
The writing appears clever and funny, the acting is well done, and the music is nice to listen to. If you’re a fan of Joss Whedon’s work, like I have been since I first discovered Firefly, you owe it to yourself to at least watch this free webcast. And if you like it, please buy the video when it’s available. YouTube has shown that film production by Independent artists is not only possible, but a great cultural boon (admittedly, 90% of what’s on YouTube is crap. And at least half of what becomes popular on YouTube is crap too). I may be disappointed that the only downloadable version of Doctor Horrible is going to burdened with oppressive DRM, but that won’t stop me from buying the DVD, and enjoying the show for free until the 20th.