This three part Comedy/Sci-Fi/Musical; staring Broadway veteran Neil Patrick Harris, almost ceased to exist due to the Writer’s Strike of the previous season in 2007.
Director and writer Joss Whedon created Dr. Horrible during the writers strike as a way to avoid the studio system and use the time during its 100-day run.
Whedon and his brothers made clever use of limited resources and released Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog online in three parts via iTunes on July 15th, 2008.
By stepping away from the traditional medium, Whedon solidified a platform for creators to showcase their original pieces and engage with their audience no matter the obstacle at hand.
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog turned out to be very popular.
According to Imdb.com, the unrated Mini-Series holds an 8.7 rating.
It was filmed at D.C. stages in downtown Los Angeles, CA, has a runtime of 42 minutes, and the log line reads as follows:
“An aspiring supervillain must balance his career and his pursuit of a beautiful
This Mini-Series won a
- Primetime Emmy in 2009 for Outstanding Special Class - Short-Format Live -Action Entertainment Programs,
- Hugo award in 2009 for Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form,
- and a People’s choice award for Favorite Online Sensation.
Later, there was an October 2008 date set for the series to air on theCW Television Network and talk of even adapting the Mini-Series for Broadway.
The dialogue in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog reflects the shift in American popular culture, in terms of, the medium in which this story was originally distributed.
The fact that this was written for the web influenced how Whedon shaped his characters and their words.
The Mini-Series is extremely short and to the point.
This was written to get into a scene and out of a scene as quickly as possible.
The characters are also able to speak in direct address.
Dr. Horrible’s vblogs also allow him to set up the conflict of the backstory as he directly addresses the viewers.
The goal for Dr. Horrible is being accepted into the Evil League of Evil.
All the tactics and obstacles he faces are both external and visual; therefore, the camera can be pointed at them.
The resting period is in Dr. Horrible’s normal world, which I would consider to be both when he is recording his vblog and when he is out in the world as Billy.
This lets the audience/his viewers learn who he is, in the original world, before he is thrown off kilter when Penny begins dating Captain Hammer.
The audience/his viewers can now see how he reacts when his world is falling apart (e.g. his arch-nemesis begins a relationship with his love interest).
In the end, Dr. Horrible chose to pursue his “career” instead of his heart, gaining himself infamy with the Evil league of Evil and losing Penny forever.
Web series visibility, like Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, has become more prevalent than ever with the explosion of Youtube, Vimeo, Blip, Hulu, Netflix, smartphones, etc.
Now, audiences can access their favorite scripted videos at anytime, from anywhere.
Even major television production companies are developing specific media and shows for the Internet (e.g. Orange is the New Black, The Walking Dead webisodes, Breaking Bad minisodes, The Mis-adventures of Awkward Black Girl, etc.).
These shows clearly exemplify the willingness of the audience to venture outside television.
It illustrates that the quality of the programming matters most to the audience rather than the medium it is shown on.
In terms of production and distribution, streaming video technology and Internet popularity have made the web series a viable alternative for television production companies.
Many longstanding entertainment executives are producing more scripted shows for the web because they are relatively low cost by traditional standards and allow producers to reach a potentially global audience who can access the shows regardless of time.
This re-enforces a sense of community between the creator and the audience.
And, this is exactly the innovative ideology possessed by Whedon and his brothers that made Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog such a success.
In terms of upward mobility, the online platform has become a distinct career path, perchance the destination, which is good news for writers and directors in trying times of unemployment.
View Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog Below: