Amid all the talk about Firefly at Comic-Con last week and the week before, faint murmurs regarding an entirely different Joss Whedon past project could be heard. Two newsy bits about “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” emerged – it will soon air on the CW, and the sequel is indeed moving forward.
If you’re not familiar with “Dr. Horrible,” here’s a brief introduction: The three-part film debuted on the internet four years ago and caused the sort of commotion previously unseen in the online universe. It stars Neil Patrick Harris as sensitive super-villain Dr. Horrible, Felicia Day as Penny, his good girl love interest, and Nathan Fillion as his ultra-cheesy nemesis Captain Hammer. It was conceived during the writers’ strike and scripted by Whedon, his brothers Zack and Jed, and Jed’s then-fiancé Maurissa Tancharoen. And it is amazing.
During the “Dr. Horrible” panel at Comic-Con 2008, Whedon told the audience, “Besides the fact that we all had an enormous amount of fun, this really was designed to be a model for a new way to put out media, a new form of artistic community that involves all of you guys, all of us, and maybe not so much some other people.” Though he was not the first person to create original dramatic content for the internet, he was certainly the most high-profile. Without “Dr. Horrible,” web shows like Jane Espenson’s “Husbands” (in which Whedon will guest star) and Zachary Levi’s “Trailer Park Heroes” (featuring performances by Whedonverse vets Fillion, Alan Tudyk and Adam Baldwin) might never have existed.
Jessie Gagnon appears in “Trailer Park Heroes” as a member of an unruly gang of cosplaying zombies. She also writes about all things Whedon for BigShinyRobot.com. Being on the top secret “Trailer Park” set got her thinking about Whedon’s musical masterpiece – “I wonder if this is what ‘Dr. Horrible’ must have been like.”
Gagnon remembers watching the Emmy-winning film in 2008 and being “blown away.” She notes Whedon’s famous affection for comics, musicals and villains who are not really so villainous. “This was such a cool fusion of all the things that he seems to be passionate about,” she says. “I think Joss Whedon absolutely set a new trend, because people realized that they can do what they want and have immense creative control. And honestly, I think the product that comes out of that is really awesome.”
Regarding the sequel, Gagnon has a wish list (watch out for a bit of spoilage straight ahead). “Obviously we’ve got to see what happens to Captain Hammer after he has his nervous breakdown at the end of the first film,” she says. Gagnon also hopes there will be an organized group of heroes to counteract the villains. “Certainly there has to be something to balance out the existence of an Evil League of Evil.”