Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

drhorrible.com

Did you hear? Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Joss Whedon are hitting the Internets! And soon. Their band-new, writers'-strike inspired, straight-to-Web feature Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog premieres this Tuesday at www.drhorrible.com. And here's the only supersecret spoiler I can share with you: If you miss it, you will cry.

I know. It's not much of a tease, but you'd be tight-lipped too if you'd been at last night's premiere screening for the cast and crew, where Joss asked us reporter types to defy our natural busybody tendencies and help protect the story of the show. (Seriously, can anyone say no to Joss?)

So what I can tell you is that Dr. Horrible is an hour-and-fifteen-minute-long show shot specifically for the Web, and it will make you want to jump through the screen and hand Neil, Joss and Nathan a lifetime supply of Emmys, Webbies, Grammys or whatever it is you give to guys who like to sing about being superheroes and supervillains. I totally loved it.

Read on to get more Horrible dish from the screening and powwow with cast and crew...

What It Is: Together with his brothers Zack and Jed, and Maurissa Tancharoen, Joss has created a straight-to-Web musical feature, which they started brainstorming about on the picket lines during the writers' strike. Jed remembers, "Joss said, let's do something for the Internet...a musical?" And Joss added, "That was the only part that was original. Everybody on the strike lines was like, 'Let's do something for the Internet.' Or, 'My feet hurt.' But the musical part was really us."

What It's About: The storyline centers around a marvelous, marginally competent geek who wants to be a villain, Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris); a suave yet silly sex symbol of a hero, Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion); and a lovely, deeply sympathetic and totally identifiable leading lady, Penny (Felicia Day). And lo and behold, Dr. Horrible actually has a videoblog. He talks into a webcam, takes reader emails and does the whole shebang. I think I've found my soul mate! (Plus he's a good kisser.)

Why You'll Sing Along: Not only is the music fiercely catchy, I can also tell you that Felicia sings (and looks) like an angel; Nathan is hilarious and vocally strong; and to the shock of absolutely no one, including the isolated Yanomamo tribe in Brazil, Neil Patrick Harris just kills it. In general, there's a catchy quality to the lyrics (being full, as they are, of funny rhymes and smart metaphors) that is definitely reminiscent of "Once More, With Feeling." For the record, Barney himself testifies that the music sticks with you, no matter who sings it. "Before we started I [got] some scratch tracks that [the writers] had sung already, and I couldn't stop listening to them...I think the songs are just great."

When to Watch (One Night Only!): OK, actually, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog will be available a little more than one night (the precise premiere sked is online, and act one premieres July 15). Still, Joss wants to make the launch of each act a special and timely event, something you really have to show up for, just like TV in ye olden times, before the arrival of TiVo and slingboxes and iTunes killed appointment television. The show will be available only at drhorrible.com, so be there or be square.

What's Next: Will there be a sequel? "Only totally!" Actually, said Joss, there's no direct path to a sequel—no deals or scripts exist yet—but they're totally and completely open to the possibility if this first one works out, and he has a germinating idea for what happens in part two. When prodded on the topic, Joss said, "We're so busy talking about the giant Broadway adaptation, the much longer film version and the much longer musical commentary we're writing now, but...yeah, have I thought up the sequel? Yeah, sort of. And the one after that? Little bit. Actually, what we want to do is a sequel right away that's brilliant and then maybe another one many years later that's terrible."

What It Cost: Joss hinted that an estimate of "less than six figures" is not far off base for the price tag on the whole Horrible production. And according to NPH, the down and dirty feel "gave us the freedom to behave like professional amateurs, and that was sort of worked into the vibe of the show."  It also led to some, er, creativity not unfamiliar to Team WWK. "At  one point," Joss said, "Jed came to me and said, 'I think Neil is in total darkness.' And I said, 'Please! [Cinematographer] Ryan Green knows what he's doing! Ryan, Neil's not total darkness in this shot, is he?' He said, 'Oh yeah!' 'Can we do anything about that? Do we have a light that travels?' And one of the grips was like, 'I've got a light that travels.' [He pulled out a flashlight and] then he just walked in front of Neil."

Told Ya No One Says No to Joss Whedon: Joss said they were planning to do Horrible just for fun with his friends in the backyard, but as cowriter Tancharoen said, at a certain point they thought, "Maybe we should put good people in it." When it came time to entice NPH and Nathan Fillion to sign on, Joss said, "I literally said to Neil, 'We're doing this silly little half-baked Internet musical....' 'Yes.' And then I called Nathan and got the exact same thing. And I got defensive immediately, 'No no, it'll be good!' "

Random Whedonverse-Related Aside: Onetime Buffy scribe Doug Petrie was there, and told Jen he's joining the writing staff of Pushing Daisies! That is truly two great tastes that go great together: Petrie and pie.

Maurissa Tancharoen, Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Jed Whedon, Felicia Day, Neil Patrick Harris, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

E! Networks

From left to right, at the CAA Theater screening: Maurissa Tancharoen, Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Jed Whedon, Felicia Day and Neil Patrick Harris.

Final Thought From Joss Whedon: "If this is just my midlife crisis, it's the most awesome one imaginable."

Now, if you haven't seen the trailer yet, press play below. Anybody else but me excited about this? Post in the comments, and don't forget to hit up www.drhorrible.com this Tuesday to see what the horribleness is all about.

—Additional reporting by Jennifer Godwin

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