Conceived as an “online miniseries event” during the 2008 writers’ strike, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is a 42-minute musical romp that bears the distinctive stamp of Joss Whedon. Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) plays the title character, who video-blogs about his twin goals to join the Evil League of Evil and to woo the fair Penny (Felicia Day, of Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Web series The Guild), a woman he met at the local laundromat. Dr. Horrible is foiled on both fronts, however, by his arch-nemesis, the self-absorbed superhero Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion, Whedon’s Firefly).
Dr. Horrible was written by Whedon, his brothers Zack and Jed, and Jed’s fiancee Maurissa Tancharoen, and the songs were written by Joss and Jed (who also produced, orchestrated, played, etc.) with some lyrics by Tancharoen. (Jed and Tancharoen have backup singing roles.) The offbeat, off-the-cuff humor is laugh-out-loud funny, and just like Dr. Horrible wants to take over the world, the songs will take over your head: they’re engaging (“My Freeze Ray’), stirring (“My Eyes”), and sweet (“Penny’s Song’). “So They Say” is particularly evocative of Jonathan Larson’s Rent, but as with Joss Whedon’s musical episode of Buffy, “Once More with Feeling,” the influences are diverse. It’s hard to imagine a better cast. Harris, who’s sung Sondheim on Broadway, is a great lead and clearly the best singer, Day is completely charming, and who better than Captain Tightpants to play the pompous superhero? One could argue about the ending, and the independent budget shows, but Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is a complete hoot for people who enjoy musicals with quirky humor. Plan on watching it multiple times. –David Horiuchi