Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon
Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day
Producer: New Video NYC, Mutant Enemy Inc.
Review by: Bill Jones
For those unfamiliar with the Emmy Award-winning Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, it was a project Joss Whedon put together in 2008 strictly for Internet release during the Writers Guild of America writers’ strike. It originally hit as a free release, and later as a paid download in other digital formats, such as iTunes, released in three roughly 15-minute acts.
Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) is an aspiring supervillain, trying to find the right job to impress the Evil League of Evil and join its ranks. Standing in his way is Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion), a decidedly douchebaggy hero who doesn’t seem as interested in doing good for the right reasons as he is in making Dr. Horrible’s life a living hell. This includes taking up the same love interest as Dr. Horrible, Penny (Felicia Day), and wooing her with his heroic feats. And of course, with the “Sing-Along Blog” subtitle, they are guaranteed to break into song, musical style, multiple times in each act.
With Joss Whedon at the helm, and his two brothers and Maurissa Tancharoen helping with the writing duties, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is guaranteed to win over the nerd crowd, and the songs are funny enough that even the most die-hard musical haters might have to give in. Fillion’s hair, voice and stature all help us love to hate the hero, while Neil Patrick Harris makes us care for the villain as much as we laugh at his failures. And as fans of The Guild will know, Felicia Day has no problem playing the awkward girl stuck in the middle of it all. Dr. Horrible has no problems holding up to repeat viewings two years later, and newcomers shouldn’t hesitate to give it a try.
But unfortunately, fans of Dr. Horrible aren’t getting a lot extra with the Blu-ray. “Commentary! The Musical” features a full, 42-minute commentary track with the cast and creators doing commentary in song. This is in addition to a regular commentary track by the cast and creators. Neither are super-informative, but the musical track is a pretty amusing concept. The making-of featurettes are decent, but the Evil League of Evil application videos are throwaway.
All in all, it’s not a bad set of features, but they are the same as what fans already received with the DVD released at the end of 2008. So, the only real upgrade here is to HD video and an ideally better surround sound track. But Dr. Horrible was shot for digital release to begin with, so it’s not a huge upgrade. Maybe fans who got the original copies burned on DVD-Rs will want to upgrade to this proper release, but otherwise Dr. Horrible on Blu-ray is really only for newcomers. It’s a solid release, but essentially brings nothing new to the table.
For more info, www.newvideo.com
Pads & Panels received a copy of the Blu-ray courtesy of New Video for review purposes.