Musings of a fandom geek

Sometimes, you’ve just got to say “The laws of time and space? Who gives a smeg?”

“So, that’s, you know, coming along…”

Posted by Michael Warren on July 15, 2008

After some fairly major glitches – specifically no-one outside the United States being able to watch the thing – Act 1 of Joss Whedon’s latest project, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, launched today.

So, how was it? (Spoilers within)

Dr. Horrible (or Billy, to give him his real name) is a low-level supervillain, desperate to gain membership to the Evil League of Evil, and to win the girl – namely Penny, the cute redhead from his laundrette who works at the local homeless shelter. His masterplan, the FreezeRay – “it’s not a death ray or an ice beam” – needs only one more component, Wonderflonium (do not bounce), to be completed. And it’s being transported in a simple courier van. But his nemesis, Captain Hammer, is always listening for imminent danger. And a chance confluence of events leaves Penny enamoured with the Captain…

It was a fun ride, this, despire the faults in transmission. Just the right mix of dialogue and song, not too much of either. The songs are inventive, catchy, and, as the name implies, sing-along…able. (Is that a word? It is now.) My favourite of the four so far is probably “Man’s Gotta Do” – it’s a nice mix of counterpoint and harmony to close out the act, and a strong tune to boot.

The acting performances are top-notch – Neil Patrick Harris plays Dr. Horrible with an eagerness and bumbling charm that works very well, Nathan Fillion sells the arrogance and smarm of Captain Hammer perfectly in his performance, and Felicia Day is adorable as always as Penny. Although, I’m not sure the love interest falling for the villain of the piece is exactly how it’s supposed to work… 😀 And seeing Simon Helberg (from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) as Moist was a nice surprise.

The writing is full of Whedon’s typical playing with words – “A letter of condemnation from the deputy mayor – that’s got to have some weight.”, “Wow, sarcasm. That’s original!” – and his lyrical talent hasn’t diminished since Once More With Feeling.

The production values were extremely high, too, when you consider the whole thing was filmed on a budget of nothing (well, slightly more than nothing – but not much…) – well lit, well directed, with strong camera work.

Overall? Magnificence. Sheer magnificence. Looking forward to the remaining two parts – although hoping they don’t have the same problems this one did.


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