Few oases shimmered in the desert that was the 2008 Writer’s Strike. TV shows attempted to stretch shortened seasons. Audiences tried to choke down the increasingly ridiculous reality show offerings. After the dust settled, a few projects surfaced, penned by striking scribes during the dry spell. Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was a shining example of what being out of work can do for your creativity.
Dr. Horrible premiered online the summer following the strike, but its digital distribution model and endearingly low production values spoke to the circumstances of its creation. Neil Patrick Harris plays Dr. Horrible, a wannabe supervillain out to prove his worth and win the heart of the girl next door (soon-to-be geek icon Felicia Day). The 42 minute short film featured a host of catchy songs, webcam humor, and superhero parodies. Did I mention Joss Whedon wrote it? So yeah, geeks ate this shit up.
Now Wired.com’s Matt Bush has caught wind of the official plans for a Dr. Horrible sequel: the silver screen. He’s worried, concerned that the short format, low budget, and Internet presence were so integral to the show’s success that a wide release would fail, ahem, horribly. He goes on to warn:
“…they should be aware that there are an awful lot of geeks who won’t go to see it in the theaters because they will feel that if the original was free, so should the sequel be.”
I have to agree with Blum. The people who made Dr. Horrible a success are the same people who know how to torrent games, rip DVDs, and edit Wikipedia. Also, the character of Dr. Horrible, in all his bad-at-his-job glory, thrives on the cheapo format of the video blog. I don’t think anybody wants to sit in the theater and have Doogie Howser sing directly into the camera at them. That’s a form best suited for the faux intimacy of the Internet. And if Serenity’s box office return (or lack thereof) is any indication, Whedon should stick to Internet tubes and DVD-friendly TV.
I will watch more Dr. Horrible, but I’d prefer to do it just as I am now: sitting at a computer, dreaming of revenge on my enemies.