27 September 2008 | MisterWhiplash
possibly the single funniest thing I've seen from Whedon...
... I say this though as a quasi-Whedon ignorant; I've only seen about two seasons worth of Buffy, no Angel, and all of Firefly and Serenity. Joss Whedon's sense of humor is playful, crude, warped, and everything one might love from a skewering of superheroes. Hancock, take note, this is how it's done with consistency! The premise of Dr. Horrible can be summed up in one sentence: Boy (Dr. Horrible) with nerdy powers finds and wants girl, boy loses girl to arch nemesis boy Captain Hammer, boy plots revenge, boy finds things end on a pretty bitter and sad note. Or, to put it another way, it's about the nerdy guy wanting the girl and the beefy upstart with an ego the size of a blimp is hogging her for himself.
That's the gist of it, anyway, but to say this is all Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is about is to do a total disservice to Whedon and his large fan-base. This is a musical not quite unlike the Buffy classic "Once More, with Feeling" only without that pesky 'you have to know a and b and c are going on in the series and season' logic. One is thrust into that sharp, laconic, and joyously obvious sense of humor that reveals Whedon as someone who is a kind of curious master of musical comedy with those appropriate doses of barbed satire.
At the same time, as one who may have watched their share of Buffy and even Firefly knows, Whedon is also a hopeless romantic (hopeless in that he can't seem to put people together without *something* going wrong, which is the point of all drama one supposes), and his tale of Dr. Horrible, done through songs that reveal the characters' souls, heartfelt and adorable and totally meat-headed (the Captain's final song at the podium with his award is next to Godliness), and at the same time a cheap joke (random cowboys singing along from the sides of the frame) or a catchy number (the "Man's gotta do" song is far more wondrous than about 99.9% of stuff on the radio now) isn't sacrificed for the sake of what little plot there is.
And lest not forget the acting, or at least the awesome musical prowess. Neal Patrick Harris and Nathan Filion are just about perfect in their roles, as is the woman who plays Penny (the red-headed girl Dr. Horrible meets at the Coin Mart), with Filion especially juicy in a somewhat campy turn where he takes all those heroic qualities of his Firefly character and reveals the dark side ("And yes, we had sex"). Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog is about as close to romantic-comedy-musical-satire amazement as one could hope for, or maybe not expect, from Whedon, particularly as a free web-series running just about the length of a full short film (or an extremely short feature).