Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Review

Words cannot express my overwhelming love for Joss Whedon’s WGA-strike brainchild, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. It combines the snappy dialogue that Whedon’s shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were known for with the musical and comical sensibility inherent in the inclusion of Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion in a production, respectively. Felicia Day continues her online streak of terrific productions after endearing herself to online fans with the still-running series The Guild. Every element that went into the creation of Dr. Horrible makes it an instant fan-favorite. However, what made the DVD release so great is the same thing that makes its Blu-ray release so terrific: for a production with a mere 42-minute runtime, it has more extras than a film two-times its length typically does. Not only that, but the featurettes included are hilarious and the audio commentary, which films usually include as little more than a formality, which is as entertaining as the feature itself. From start to finish the Dr. Horrible Blu-ray is that rare gem that begs for fans to purchase it. Considering the production is a triumph, the Blu-ray (and the DVD release) are sterling examples of what every film should hope to achieve.

People love Neil Patrick Harris. And what’s not to love? The man helped us grow up as Doogie Howser, transitioned into a comical cameo in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, and then rebirthed his entire screen career (after a successful Broadway run) with How I Met Your Mother.

People love Nathan Fillion. As Mal in Firefly, an undeservedly short-lived series killed by Fox, Fillion built on the cult popularity he established after starring in Buffy and Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place. The man has a knack for dry, understated bluster and he brings that and more, with gusto, to his role as the film’s heroic antagonist to Dr. Horrible, Captain Hammer.

People, mostly the denizens who help to make or break the success of popular YouTube vids, love Felicia Day. She’s hot in that “I wish I had a girlfriend who likes geeky things” sort of way, and essentially affirms every nerd’s belief that they can land a hottie who doesn’t just not disdain them for liking Dungeons and Dragons, but wants to participate in the game and the Dorito/Mountain Dew Feast that happens every weekend in a mildew-scented basement. God bless her, and her involvement in Dr. Horrible.

People love Joss Whedon. The best part? Many people, save for the film/TV-savvy, don’t even know that they should love him. The man has contributed terrific writing to many television and film features, and now his incredible online project has wormed its way into the hearts of audiences everywhere. And, as if to further prove the man’s efficacy, Dr. Horrible has become more than a hit with the internet’s “in crowd”. Even those who only frequent YouTube when they need to show off the music video of their favorite indie-rock band have learned of the web-series’ brilliance. Dr. Horrible has effectively surpassed the typical attention given to a “Popular” video on YouTube, it’s a genuine hit and it owes much to the pedigree offered by the cast, but most of all by Joss and his siblings.

My love letter to the cast and crew is over, so let’s hit a summary. Dr. Horrible (Harris) has been longing for entry into the Evil League of Evil for a long time, but just recently he’s received a letter from the organization’s sinister leader, Bad Horse, telling him that a sinister act of great public visibility will grant him admission. So, using his nefarious freeze ray, he sets about the nefarious deed that will fulfill his dream. However, first and foremost, this is a love story. Dr. Horrible is in love with Penny (Day), an activist fighting for the establishment of a new poorhouse, only to lose her attentions to the blustery Captain Hammer (Fillian) when he “saves” her from a botched mission of Dr. Horrible. With Hammer stealing his girl, Dr. Horrible’s resolve to commit the act which will ensure his place in the Evil League is solidified. And, as it’s a sing-a-long blog, a few musical numbers make the entire thing that much more fun.

The series looks quite beautiful on Blu-ray considering it was originally presented as a three-part web series. It’s hi-def transfer is impressive and justifies a Blu-ray purchase over an iTunes or DVD buy.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

Unlike many DVD releases of features, Dr. Horrible’s audio commentaries are both quite amusing. The musical commentary (easily the best of the two) is sheer brilliance. Featuring all-new musical numbers, it’s just as entertaining as the feature itself, even being so well-timed as to make the feature look like a musical video at times. The spoken-work commentary is still funny and tells more about the production, still funny but less so. Internet-generated content finds its way into the extras as people submitted their own applications to the Evil League of Evil. We’ll assume that only the best made it onto the disc (there’s 30 minutes of this stuff) and considering the list of names at the end, you get the sense that a huge number of people participated in this competition. Not all of the application videos are funny, but the ones that hit the mark are simply superb. Finally, some outtakes and short making-of featurettes round out the offerings.

Rarely does a Blu-ray offer such terrific supplementary material exist, making the Dr. Horrible Blu-ray release truly worthwhile. Go get it, you won’t be disappointed. At all.

"Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" is on sale May 25, 2010 and is not rated. Comedy, Musical. Directed by Joss Whedon. Written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Zack Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen . Starring Nathan Fillion, Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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