I’ve got to hand it to Joss Whedon, (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) this is a pretty interesting marketing technique. Apparently Whedon enlisted the help of some friends during the writer’s strike to create a super hero villain musical. Dr. Horrible is a three act play in miniature and each act will be debuted a day or two apart over the course of a week at the end of which they will be taken down. Then there will be a comic released and the play will be available for download or on dvd. I understand the idea of creating a sense of urgency around it but all of these releases should probably be pretty close together. It seems to me that something like this would require a flurry of promotion. I’d be curious to gauge the level of buzz around this.
Anyways this week is the aforementioned week. Acts I & II are already up here and act III debuts on the 19th, the vids say goodbye at the end of the 20th.
On to the actual play. The story follows Neil Patrick Harris as fledgling supervillain Dr. Horrible as he tries to get his ticket to the big time by joining an evil alliance. Piling on the trouble for Dr. Horrible, he inadvertently introduced his arch nemesis to his altruistic crush an they’ve begone dating. We’ve all been there. The musical is a quirky production (as I would assume a supervillain musical would have to be) from the characters to the musical numbers to the narrative devices. I really like the character ideas here from the legendary villain bad horse (who speaks through singing cowboys) and a best friend whose power is to make things moist. In my opinion the musical numbers are pretty much a novelty that just serve to make the play seem quirkier and grab a little more notice. I’m sure this is not how the musical aspect was intended though I’m pretty sure Joss Whedon just really likes making musicals (remember Whedon’s musical Buffy?) Because of its truncated length, there’s not alot of time to establish exactly what’s going on all the time. The musical numbers could be meant solve this problem but mostly its the blog aspect of the play that makes the difference. I haven’t really seen the idea of a video blog mined for this type of characterization and plot summary in a fictional work before but it’s a great idea. I mean, the Real World has been doing this for at least a decade and a half. I’d say this is definitely worth watching.