“Where do we go from here?” sang the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the end of Once More With Feeling, the musical episode penned by Buffy creator, the Very Revered Joss Whedon. By that time, frankly, I couldn’t have gone anywhere: my legs had buckled with the pleasure of seeing my favourite programme, like, ever, once more confound my expectations and outclass pretty much everything else on telly.
Buffy ended in 2003. Its spin-off, Angel, which I also adored, ended in 2004. Firefly, Whedon’s subsequent TV series, was axed just as it was getting into its stride (though Whedon saved what he could by adapting it into the movie Serenity). What is there left for me in TV land? The sorry truth is, since Buffy I haven’t really been able to commit to another TV series. Sure, I’ll have a good time with Doctor Who or a fling with Heroes if I’m in (both very “post Buffy” series). But I miss the Whedon touch. I know: very sad, very non-getting-a-life.
So where do I go from here? Well, I just found out! On July 15, I’ll be going to drhorrible.com. And also on July 17 and 19. Because, thanks to last year’s writers’ strike, Whedon found himself at a loose end and so created Dr Horrible’s Sing-along Blog, a three-part musical mini-series which will be available for free from July 15-20. The schedule is: Act I (Wheee!) goes up on July 15, Act II (OMG!) on July 17, and Act III (Denouement!) on July 19.
Whedon pulled in a lot of favours to get the production off the ground, working alongside his brothers Zack and Jed, while almost all the crew came from Buffy, Angel or Firefly, many on reduced fees or for free. When asked why they were so willing to give up their time, producer David Boretz’s answer was simple: “Can you think of a better thing to do with your life?”
Dr Horrible tells the story of a would-be villain (Neil Patrick Harris) who dreams of joining the Evil League of Evil. He’s thwarted by arch-nemesis Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion) and by his affections for the girl from the laundrette (Felicia Day). There will be action. There will be singing. And you can sing along.
Two of the few people to have seen and reviewed it yet are Matt Roush and Variety’s Cynthia Littleton. And while you’re waiting, see the trailer and read about it through Whedon’s own inimitable self-questioning. And, since Whedon is a bit of net-head, you’ll also find Dr Horrible on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and YouTube.
Free viewing finishes on July 20, but the whole 42 minutes can still be downloaded via subscription. After that, a DVD will be available. And – get this – even the DVD commentaries are planned to be in musical form. I’m too excited. I was fully expecting lots of subtext – but meta-music? Now that is something to sing about. Already, the thought of it is giving me a happy.