PaleyFest 09: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
April 14th, 2009
[I got the chance to report on last night's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog panel for the good folks at HitFix while I'm here in California, so below is a bit of a teaser, a link to the story, and after the jump some photos from the event. Enjoy!]
There are a lot of firsts surrounding Tuesday’s (April 14) panel discussion of “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” the fourth event at PaleyFest 09: it’s the first time the festival has ever featured an internet series, the first time that Nathan Fillion has ever been part of the festival and the first time that Joss Whedon has been asked about his relationship with FOX (Okay, so the last one is a lie, that happens every single time he speaks).
Regardless, there’s a lot riding on “Dr. Horrible” as a model for future internet success, but what was most interesting about the discussion moderated by Matt Roush was that it wasn’t Whedon who really spoke passionately about this model.
Read the rest of my report at HitFix, or continue reading for some more photos from the event!
For two acts, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was a musical comedy, but the conclusion of the second act seemed to indicate that things were about to take a turn towards the murderous. There was also a moment wherein Penny (Felicia Day) seemed to indicate that she knew something more than she should (As she recognized Bad Horse as “the thoroughbed of sin”). All of this was leading into a final conclusion that seems like it would prove quite good.
[To Watch Act III, click on the above image or here]
And it was good, but very tonally different than what we saw before it. As opposed to evolving into absurdity, it was instead, like many Whedon stories, a turn towards a dour and almost tragic final moment. It seemed impossible that Whedon could wrap up an entire story like this in forty minutes, resisting that type of serial character development he loves so much, and here is no exception: if the series dies in the here and now, this being its only moment to shine, I’m going to be extremely depressed more than anything else.
Which, when you think about it, is an odd point to leave on for a satirical musical comedy piece.
Admittedly, I’ll have less to say about part two of this little experiment (since I got most of my general comments out of the way for the first part), but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some really positive things to say about it.
Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along-Blog – Act II
What Act II does that Act I didn’t is embrace and engage with all of these characters. It’s still clear that Felicia Day’s Penny is the most underwritten of the characters, but it works because of how fantatic Neil Patrick Harris is on the other side of the equation. Day has a nice ease to her that allows the dialogue to flow and the songs to pop just right, so it’s not an issue of performance: it’s just a really simple character who’s trapped between two really awesome ones.
And no, enough things cannot be said about Neil Patrick Harris: his delivery during his exchange with Penny at the laundromat (In particular, the awesome “Sometimes there’s a third layer that’s the same as the first layer” line). I just love this character, and am glad that they broke my clear issue with the first part about the blog’s feasibility. It seems like before this point he would have run into the obvious problem of announcing a fiendish scheme on his blog and then having Captain Hammer/LAPD on his case, but at least it’s addressed here.
When Joss Whedon announces during the WGA Writers’ Strike that he was writing a musical, you get excited. When you learn that Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion are set to star, you get hyped. And when you find out that it will be streaming live online for free, a true test of the online medium for distribution of this nature, a television blogger like myself gets even more enthused about it all.
Link: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Act One
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is not Whedon’s first entry into the television musical of sorts, considering that Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s “Once More…with Feeling” is considered one of the show’s best episodes. And while I don’t quite think Act One of this experiment lives up to that standard (And I’ll explain why below), it does everything you expect it to do: it carefully integrates musical numbers into a charming story featuring actors who, considering the fun nature of this story, are clearly enjoying themselves immensely.
And for a “Free” (Well, not quite) internet event of this nature? I’d say that this is damn entertaining stuff.