Dr Horrible

You are all aware of Joss Whedon’s new mini-epic, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, I’m sure. If not, get over there now…it’s only freely available until Sunday night.

All I can say is that it is about time someone made a sympathetic, musical tribute to supervillains. Now I’m wondering, though…the ending is not satisfactory. I want more. Whedon cannot simply stop here with a single 3 part event. I want a weekly series on the internet!

I guess that means we should actually pay for these episodes, as encouragement.

Oh, and if you liked Felicia Day in Dr Horrible, check out The Guild.


  1. says

    I just watched the first part earlier today and the first word that comes to mind to describe it is “delightful”. And supervillains get way too much bad press, so this is sorely needed.

  2. MAJeff, OM says

    Come on, Neil!

    Why the hell aren’t you singing to a boy in the laundromat?!

  3. says

    There will be a comic series….

    I think the whole idea was that during the writer’s strike, it was possible to keep doing stuff if it was not already in production by one of the big companies. Whedon financed the production himself. I guess it was just a way of doing something cool, fast and uncompromised by company politics.
    I think a follow up would be very cool, but if this is it, as it stands it makes a nice statement, for independent creativity at the very least.

    And yes, it IS very cool. I hope people will sponsor this project, as that would show you can make productions that can be financed by fan support on an independent basis.

  4. Andre Vienne says

    I loved it, but it’s too bad that it had a standard Whedon Ending. I think I’m still shaking my fist and saying his name like a thwarted nemesis.

    Parts one and two were still excellent, though.

  5. Richbank says

    Loved it, I’ve always wanted to see something more from the villains side of things. And I second that MAJeff, it would be nice if he played a gay character :(.

  6. MAJeff, OM says

    And I second that MAJeff, it would be nice if he played a gay character :(.

    How about a big Hollywood film in which the queer doesn’t die in the end…hell, a romantic comedy even!

  7. says

    Its already gone, “This video is not available on this site.”
    I think it depends on your location. Hulu content is only available to users in the United States. I can’t watch it too, because I am from Austria.

  8. Carlie says

    Yea post!

    Andre, totally with you on that one. It would have been more interesting if he had gone outside of type for the ending. But, my biggest beef with part III is that the songs just aren’t as sing-alongable, and the hero song was way too long.

    Gone – I just watched it again; maybe the server is overloaded? The first day the first installment was out their entire site crashed for awhile. According to NPH, they had something like 1000 downloads/minute at first.

    The DVD is supposed to have a musical commentary. Can’t wait.

  9. True Bob says

    So Doogie Howser changed his name and went evil when he grew up? Must’ve been the work of the EAC.

  10. Julian says

    I actually think it could have been a darker and more obvious ending than it was. If he had caused her death more directly and less accidentally, or if captain Hammer had, if, say, she had stepped in to save Horrible and Hammer had tried to shoot him anyway, and then it had exploded, then I’d have been just as pleased. But, happenstance has been a major theme for Whedon for awhile now, and he goes the distance to make his characters suffer. I think people unsatisfied with the end might be missing its subtlety; it wasn’t Horrible’s attempt to kill Hammer that caused Penny’s death, it was his hesitation to kill. That’s got to be one monumentally bitter pill to swallow.

  11. Thrillhouse says

    I downloaded it all using the season pass on iTunes, but then I heard a rumor that it’s DVD sales that will really help to pay everyone for the time and effort that went into the series. I guess I’ll be picking that up, too, especially since a musical commentary track seems really intriguing. I, too, am shaking my fist in Whedon’s general direction and demanding more. It can’t end like that.

    Julian, I totally got the ending and I think it helped explain Dr. Horrible’s mentality at the very end, but please post spoiler alerts or refrain from giving away the ending for those who are going to read post and check the movie out for the first time.

  12. says

    Agreed… great trio of episiodes… he needs to make more, though. 3 is not enough.

    Nathan Fillion & Neil Patrick Harris did fantastic jobs (as did the girl who played Penny, but I’m too lazy to look up her info)…


  13. Jason Dick says

    I think it depends on your location. Hulu content is only available to users in the United States. I can’t watch it too, because I am from Austria.

    Huh. I was able to watch it just fine from Italy, without using any proxy server.

  14. Christian says

    In order to watch it the referrer needs to be “drhorrible.com”. Some security-software/browser settings however block the referrer from being sent.

    And the girl is of course Felicia Day from The Guild.

  15. Fedaykin says

    Hmm, I love Whedon’s work, but it’s clear he has deep rooted issues with certain things and can’t for the life of him make any ending that doesn’t revolve around that. Sorry for the vagary, didn’t want to spoil it for people who haven’t seen it.

  16. Andre Vienne says

    I get what he was trying to do.
    What I’m saying is, it’s pretty standard Whedon. He always pulls this sort of thing because he hates happy relationships (Said it himself). I didn’t like it, but I was sold on part one and two.
    Some good artists just fail at endings. Whedon is one of them. Just like Lucas has gone on to screw up everything with excessive CG and silly animated cutesy animals, Whedon has to kill the cute one and make sure that the person who loves them never finds happiness.

  17. JoJo says

    Overall it was pretty good. The timing in Act 1 was really slow and I almost stopped watching during the first scene in the laundromat. The combination of humor and seriousness was done well. I particularly liked how Captain Hammer came across as an arrogant jerk just interested in getting into Penny’s pants. That’s not the way that superheroes are supposed to act.

    I’m quite willing to buy more scenes as they come out.

  18. Eric Paulsen says

    I was afraid (even though it was Joss Whedon) it would smack too much of Cop Rock or What was that Las Vegas musical thing – Branson? Anyhow, by the end of the first one I was hooked and even though so many here pan the ending I like it. I detest the typical ‘and they lived happily ever after’ treacle that so many American products are known for. Plus he’s a villain… no matter how sympathetic how’s he going to get the happy ending?

    Nathan Fillions Captain Hammer was a hilarious portrayal of a vain, clueless, self centered ex-football hero type turned “super” hero. I loved how much I didn’t like him.

  19. Stwriley says

    I just saw the first two episodes yesterday, after the NPR story on them. This is fantastic stuff, only Whedon could have done it. It has the flavor of a musical version of the old Flaming Carrot or Mystery Men comics; beautiful, satirical, and timelessly relevant insanity. I’m off to watch the last episode (only for now, we hope) to see how it works out with “the Hammer”.

    And yes, “The Hammer is my penis” is the best line ever uttered in a superhero pic to date.

  20. Marcus says

    There will be a soundtrack! Yay! I’ve seen all three acts, bought the season pass at iTunes (so I have it to watch when the site goes dark), and will be waiting with baited breath to get the DVD. With this kind of work having come out of the writers strike, I could do with more (I mean more stuff like this, not writers strikes). Too bad most stuff on TV doesn’t come close to the level of creativity that Joss seems to do so effortlessly.

  21. e.b. says

    I’m just so glad to hear that I’m not the only one who didn’t like it.’ I thought it was really weak. It was amusing at moments, but not funny or clever. I didn’t have a problem with the “unhappy” ending, but it felt stale.

  22. says

    Best reaction line I’ve seen on any of the various blogs and forums and etc.:

    Joss Whedon, curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

    Nice to see the guy from the Mike’s Hard Lemonade ads in there (the male groupie). I feel bad for him in the Mike’s ads. Which I acknowledge is silly. Can’t help it.

  23. Scote says

    Gotta agree with some others. The 3d act didn’t live up to the potential. With a melancholy ending, the final songs lacked the punch of the songs in act one and two. First two parts, fun, last part? Meh.

  24. Janine ID says

    And yes, “The Hammer is my penis” is the best line ever uttered in a superhero pic to date.

    Posted by: Stwriley

    It scares me to ask this; but how many of you guys are going to make use of this line?

  25. Tophe says

    I loved it! It actually reminds me of some of the musicals performed at the Annoyance Theatre in the 90’s (a good thing :D)

  26. says

    It scares me to ask this; but how many of you guys are going to make use of this line?

    They do already, on the freeway: “The Hummer is my penis”

  27. says

    Found it quite pleasing to watch. Nicely conceived, conflicted protagonist. Had to watch the ending twice just to make sure I wasn’t missing something. The humor was clever, but not laff out loud funny, IMHO. Worth watching if you haven’t done so.

  28. K. Weber says

    #10 –

    I watched all three episodes today, and I’m in Austria, too. I just checked – they are still there for me.

  29. Eli says

    These are enjoyable! I hope they make it to television… not that I would really allot time each week to watch a camp show about a singing superhero… but it’s good.

  30. amk says

    Awesome, including the ending. I expect a series would run out of good songs.

    No problems watching it in the UK.

    It’s often suggested that supervillains would be much better off if they used their powers in a law abiding fashion. For example, if they became vigilantes, they could gain fame and glory and groupies. Captain Hammer may be a bully, but he knows what’s in his interests.

  31. says

    Ya, we all here enjoyed them as they came out!

    In cool, fun, news… a group got together and at the last minute put together people to do the entire thing LIVE at Dragon*Con as a event.

    It will be in the Podcasting Track room, RIGHT next door to Skeptrack, across from the Space and Science rooms. :)

  32. Michael X says

    Smart, subtle humor. Capt. Hammer’s song in the third act did drag, but overall a sharp, concise piece of musical theater. All the music (save the one mentioned) moved the story along and added info, which is always good to see. I also vote for Moist as coolest henchman. I’m still laughing about his double date with Conflict Diamond and Bait and Switch.

    “I thought I was going to end up with Bait, but…”
    “Ooo, yeah I know what you mean.”

  33. foxfire says

    Liked it and agree with PZ – ending not satisfactory and I gots to have mores! I too downloaded it with the season pass…..

  34. Randallphobia says

    “I meant Ghandi!”

    Act II is the best, but I agree with those of you who want more Bad Horse.

    Lately, it seems that NPH can do no wrong. I’d love to see him in a gay(or bi) romantic comedy.

  35. says

    Mmmm Nathan Fillion….swoon.
    Just finished watching them..i hope there is more.
    We bought them off iTunes to show support, I would have paid more than $3.99 for more Joss in my life.

  36. says

    Wow, even PZ “Cracker-Hater” Meyers is blogging about this! :-)

    I loved it. I have to say, I have much more sympathy for Dr Horrible than Captain Hammer. Dr Horrible really doesn’t seem that evil. He was quite careful not to harm innocents (even in his fantasy of being a giant, he was looking carefully where he stepped!), while Captain Hammer didn’t seem to care.

  37. says

    The line “We do the weird stuff” by the groupie trio did it for me. I love Nathan and Neil both, and Felicia Day is also wonderful.

    I find I enjoyed this a good bit, and have part 3 playing in the background right now. Quirky, clever, not laugh out loud, but smile a lot.

    Brown Coat Forever!

  38. says

    i was afraid (even though it was joss whedon) it would smack too much of cop rock …

    cop rock. man, if there ever was a bad idea that went bad, there it was.

  39. says

    Stop complaining about the ending, people. Yeah, it was in family for Joss, but if you want happy musicals, I hear Mamma Mia is still playing at the Winter Garden.

    Seriously, did you feel that tone change between Nathan’s song in Act 3 (which would have fit just fine in Urinetown) and NPH’s song after he fires the freeze-ray? Joss and his family are ready, man! Ready to take the reins (not that Bad Horse would allow any reins) of serious musical theatre from Steph… Sondh…. (Sorry, like the autobiographical Jonathan Larsen in Tick, Tick, Boom, I can’t say his name. Er, type his name.) This is good stuff! I wants me some more.

  40. says

    But the reason I didn’t like the ending was that it wasn’t an ending! It really is simply setting us up for the further horrible adventures of Dr Horrible, and there’s no hint of a promise that it will continue.

  41. says

    Oh well yeah, it does kind of come off as a non-ending, if that’s what you mean. Most people here seem to be upset about the “He —-ed off one of the main characters! Again” (There, that should be spoiler-free, right?)

    It played to me as an origins story. This is how Dr. Horrible got the way he was. In that way that distinguishes good pulp from bad, where we can actually empathize with the villains. So yeah, more would be good.

    But I liked it for what it was, anyway. Maybe because I’ve been indoctrinated into the cult of Sondheim (ooh, I typed it!), and this is really good music. The duets are awesome. Check out how many syllables match, when the characters are singing practically the opposite sentiments.

    Now that, as Sweet would say, is entertainment!

  42. pough says

    Someone keeps moving my-y-y-y chaaaair.

    That song has been stuck in my head since Tuesday.

  43. Feynmaniac says

    Alright so when is Dr. Myers’ Sing-A-Along Blog coming? We already got a good start here. I was actually reading about the “Beware the Believers” video on Richard Dawkins’ site the other day. It was surreal to read commenters explaining to the old, white English professor why the thought of him in a rap video is hilarious.

  44. Michael X says

    Joss and his family are ready, man! Ready to take the reins (not that Bad Horse would allow any reins) of serious musical theatre from Steph… Sondh….

    Lets not get crazy now! Once Joss starts composing while on drugs and begins to write in 5/9, you gimme a call. Until then…
    Well, until then, tell him to get his ass in gear and write more Dr. Horrible episodes.

  45. Michael X says

    Wow, beware the believers. I remember when that got a few hundred comments on different posts and was therefore a big deal. Seems like it was on a whole ‘nother blog.

  46. Scote says

    Killing off Felicia Day wasn’t the problem (though a bit of a waste :-) ) it was that there was no real transformation or swelling of the plot or songs or anything, just a sort of fizzle…it just wasn’t much of an ending, good or bad.

  47. says

    When was the last time you saw a TV pilot that good, let alone an original, self-produced mini-tragedy, financed on less than a shoestring, that got where it did in less than three quarters of an hour? Poor Hammer, doomed to feel for the first time in his life, while Dr. Horrible’s feelings are what doommed him.

    It was unbearable tragedy and there wasn’t enough of it. I want multi-season arcs.

  48. Rayven Alandria says

    Listen carefully to the song Harris sang to the watchers of Hammer’s speech. He calls them sheeples. One of my favorite words.

    I wonder if it’s a secret message to us heathens. Wouldn’t that be cool?

  49. Krzysztof Butkiewicz says

    Hmmm, personally, disliked the 3rd act, not because of the way it ended, but because it wasn’t done as well (especially musically) as the first two. The first 3.5mins of act 1 were also not so great, imo. This is definately Whedon’s second-best musical. :P

  50. says

    I think the ending is the best part. No production company would have allowed it to end the way it did. That ending is the indelible stamp of creative freedom.

    (And people thought I was nuts to suggest that Joss do something independent of the studios and sell it through iTunes.)

  51. Krzysztof Butkiewicz says

    “I think the ending is the best part. No production company would have allowed it to end the way it did. That ending is the indelible stamp of creative freedom.”

    Mmm, I disagree that no production company would allow that. From Joss’s tv/movie work alone:
    -what happens to Angel in “Becoming, Part Two” (BtVS 2×22)
    -what happens to Buffy in “The gift” (BtVS 4×22)
    -what happens to Tara in “Seeing red”(BtVS 6×19)
    -what happens to Doyle in “Hero” (Angel 1×09)
    -what happens to Fred in “A hole in the world” (Angel 5×15)
    -what happens to Wash in “Serenity” (Movie)

  52. says

    Anyone who has ever watched a Whedon production knows full well how things are going to end…still loved this one. Too many good lines to remember to even begin quoting.

  53. Rey Fox says

    “He calls them sheeples.”

    No, I think he was rhyming “people” with “sheep will (line up for the slaughter)”. Which is good, because “sheeple” would just be a lazy redundant rhyme.

  54. scote says

    “Look at these people
    amazing how sheep will
    show up for the slaughter…”

    I thought it was sheeple at first, too, but alas not so.

  55. says

    I love Dr. Horrible.

    I downloaded the acts from iTunes as soon as possible, and I’ve watched them a few times since. How could I not? They’re awesome!

    Plus, I’m a huge fan of both NPH and Felicia Day, so seeing them work together gave me endless joy. Until the ending. It’s Whedon, so I knew what was coming, but still… bittersweet, I think, mainly because there haven’t been any plans announced for a continuation.

    Oh, and I LOVE the first song (“With my freeze ray I will stop the world”) and the one following Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer’s meeting in the laundromat (“Brand New Day”).

  56. Ichthyic says

    cop rock. man, if there ever was a bad idea that went bad, there it was.

    *shudders* recalling the day I sat down on the couch to watch the premier episode.

  57. says


    Yes, but with all of your examples, there were ready-built fanbases who would take anything Whedon did as gold, good or bad. With something like Dr. Horrible, which is original and new, there is no previously established fanbase. A lot of production companies–not necessarily all, but more than a few–would probably shy away from an ending like that in a mini-web-series less than an hour long.

    That being said, comic books and musical theatre are my two favorite things in the entire world. I absolutely LOVED this show.

  58. OctoberMermaid says

    I totally already said this on ERV’s blog and I’m starting to feel like I should be getting paid for plugging this book, but if you liked Dr. Horrible, you’ll probably like Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman.

    It’s mostly written from the point of view of the supervillain and I personally found it pretty moving and poignant, even if things didn’t necessarily turn out the way I would’ve liked them to (and there’s one character I was REALLY interested in that didn’t get nearly enough page-time. I guess that had to be the case because her mystery is sort of the point, but… still).

    Yeah, good book, though.

    And, um, what’d everyone think of the Dark Knight?

  59. mewletter says

    Hmm…I still can see the movie though. A classic look how the making of a super villain. The story reminds me of Sweeney Todd’s tragedy. I wanted to see more of this!

  60. says

    I’ll second what OctoberMermaid says about Soon I Will Be Invincible. It’s an enjoyable book told from a super villain’s perspective.

    And The Dark Knight was way better than i expected. Batman Begins was sorta slow and a bit dull so my expectations were low for this one, but i thought it was pretty amazing.

  61. says

    First things first. Thanks PZ, for pointing this gem out to us. I hadn’t heard about it yet, but spent a delightful hour last night :) (and yes, it was available here in continental Europe as well)

    Second. Yes, it was quite typical Joss Whedon… That’s why it was so frigging good! Good music, good texts, some instant classic one-liners and a-typical character development. What more could you ask for? I join PZ in his demand for MOAR!!

    And for those of you who complain about the Whedonesque ending. To quote Bugs Bunny “Eh, what did ya expect? An opera with a happy ending?”

  62. Rayven Alandria says

    I listened again, it’s definitely sheeple…I just don’t know whether it’s “sheeple” or sheep’ll. (as in sheep will). I wonder if the song writer posted the lyrics anywhere. I think a few listeners have but I’d like to see the original spelling. Either way, it’s still a cool production, it would just make it all that much more cool if he called people “sheeple”.

  63. OctoberMermaid says

    “Also, wasn’t the girl that played Penny in a Cheetos commercial?”

    Yep, I think that was her. She was in a laundr-o-mat, too.

  64. says

    Felicia Day trivia — she earned a degree from UT Austin in mathematics with a 4.0 gpa (or very close to it) — I think she also got a degree in music there, or stopped a few credits short.) And The Guild rocks!

    Another “mathy” actress — Danica McKellar who played Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years. She earned her bachelors at UCLA and was a junior contributor on a published paper.

  65. says

    *shudders* recalling the day I sat down on the couch to watch the premier episode.

    i just saw a plug for some pilot “brought to you by the producers of hill street blues, la law and nypd blue.”

    and i thought: wha …? no shout out for cop rock? now that’s just cold.

  66. Rey Fox says

    “I just don’t know whether it’s “sheeple” or sheep’ll”

    The latter. Like I said, “sheeple” cheapens both the rhyme and the metaphor.

  67. Rey Fox says

    “Someone keeps moving my-y-y-y chaaaair.”

    Can’t believe I didn’t recognize the significance of that line right away. “Dr. Horrible, Dr. Horrible, there’s a phone call for Dr. Horrible…”

  68. Kerry Maxwell says

    It’s funny to see all the Cop Rock hatin’, since the whole time I was watching Dr. Horrible, I was thinking “maybe if this is a hit, they’ll bring back Cop Rock!” I guess I was the one person who loved that series. Loved Dr. Horrible too.

  69. amphiox says

    (Spoiler Alert)

    Whedon’s penchant for bumping off his principle characters is well established. I also note the gender of the bumpee in this case.

    Seriously, Whedon has created so many incredible female characters, only to subject them to hideously gruesome fates.

    From Jenny Calender to Buffy to Tara to Willow to Anya to Cordelia to Fred. . . .

    He seems to like to explore and re-explore the admittedly old and somewhat tiresome theme(dates at least back to biblical Eve) of the strong, intelligent, independent woman getting cosmically punished for her uppitiness.

    Alternatively it might be a sardonic inversion of the classical tragic hero archetype. This time the woman dies the terrible death, while the man is left behind as the passive mourner.

    Admittedly, he’s started offing his men on his later works, but I think the balance is still with the ladies. In Buffy, major good guys who were male simply don’t die (except for Angel, but he came back, and Xander in the alternate finale, but that was not aired.)

    Unfortunately I have not had the pleasure of watching Serenity so I can’t say if the patterns holds there.

  70. Tophe says

    Did anyone else catch who was pouring the soup in the soup kitchen (and missing the bowls)? :D

    Also, just wondering if Penny’s name was chosen to set up the pun… it cost Billy a Pretty Penny to get Dr. Horrible into the ELE.

  71. spurge says


    “Unfortunately I have not had the pleasure of watching Serenity so I can’t say if the patterns holds there.”

    Do you want to know?

  72. cicely says

    I’d also like to plug Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman (and here I was sure nobody else’ld have ever heard of it!).

    So….who was doing the Soup Fail?

  73. says

    amphiox: yes, I’m amazed at how many people seem to have thought this was bold, unexpected, etc. Joss *always* kills people off, he always wants to make the audience miserable, it’s his schtick. And killing a woman to provide the motivation for the male main character? Common as dirt. Common enough to have a name — Women in Refrigerators Syndrome.

    I enjoyed it overall, but throughout the third act, I was just hoping Joss would come up with something different instead of going where it looked like he was going. Sadly, no.

  74. Tophe says

    So….who was doing the Soup Fail?

    Billy (wearing a fake mustache) came in while Penny was singing On The Rise and took over ladling out the soup, but kept missing the bowls because he was spying on Penny and Captain Hammer. :D

  75. Eneasz says

    To quote a friend:
    “George Lucas outta be embarrassed. Whedon just told the story of how Anakin became Darth Vader, far better than Lucas ever could have, at a minuscule fraction of the budget and in the form of a musical.”

  76. Jay says

    I liked it. It didn’t seem to have much to do with a blog, except for the slow beginning, and it didn’t seem to be very sing-alongy for the most part. But it was funny, chilling and thought-provoking, and I still have several song stuck in my head.