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Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Directed by Joss Whedon

Written by Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, Joss Whedon, and Zack Whedon

Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day

Available online and on iTunes

Don’t make the same mistake I did; at least wait for the singing to start. It is, after all, a sing-along.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is definitely the surprise hit of the summer. The blog/musical turned Internet craze is a glorious mashup of clever show tunes on top of a quirky and somewhat nerdy plot. That said, I almost missed the glorious masterpiece that is Dr. Horrible.

The first two minutes feel a bit like a sad YouTube video made in someone’s basement (which, in retrospect, was probably what the director intended). It doesn’t do a great job of drawing in viewers, and, having a stunningly short attention span, I stopped watching only a minute or two in. I was only barely saved by one of my co-workers at the New York Googleplex, who said I had to watch the whole thing. Trust me, you need to wait for the singing to start.

In the three videos, Neil Patrick Harris (for those of us a bit too young for Doogie Howser, M.D., he’s best known for his Harold & Kumar role) plays a nascent evil villain (Dr. Horrible) who is struggling to establish his notoriety when he falls for Penny (played by Felicia Day). Penny, a woman who goes to the same laundromat as Dr. Horrible, is wooed by the good superhero Captain Hammer (played by Nathan Fillion) when one of Dr. Horrible’s evil plans goes awry. Dr. Horrible then tries to win back Penny, all while concocting an evil plan to take care of Captain Hammer once and for all.

The Dr. Horrible blog postings-turned series were the brainchild of Joss Whedon, the creator of Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Whedon made the show during the Writer’s Strike, and plans to release a DVD with a musical commentary track.

What makes Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog particularly lovable is the dialogue. It’s tempting to open the video in a Firefox tab and go back to your e-mail, but you’ll miss a lot of the hilarious dialogue. I’m a fan of the lines of Dr. Horrible’s co-conspirator Moist (played by Simon Helberg), who can … make things moist.

Not only is Dr. Horrible a great use of 43 minutes (really, you weren’t doing anything else important), it’s just the right mix of catchy tunes, a semi-predictable plot, and passable attempts at wittiness. This is definitely one to watch a few times. Check it out at drhorrible.com.