The first chapter of Joss Whedon’s online project, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is online and it’s everything I was expecting. In less than fourteen minutes (13:49), act one manages to turn the superhero franchise on its ear better than Hancock did in an hour and a half. Good work Joss!

You can find Act One over at the Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog website. It’s also already available for purchase through iTunes for $1.99 for the act, (or all three acts for $3.99).

So what’s going on with Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog? Here’s our recap and commentary below:

The chapter opens with Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) making a blog entry. Intentionally, it’s almost as awkward as those video blogs you see on YouTube all the time. He talks about his aspirations to join the Evil League of Evil, answers viewer mail (filled with sarcasm from both him and the mail), that sort of thing. It almost feels like we may have been duped by Whedon, that this is just going to be Neil Patrick Harris talking to a camera, because it’s 3:45 before we get the first song. Surprisingly, it’s a love song, with Dr. Horrible talking about this girl he loves from afar (Felicia Day).

The song is interrupted by his roommate Moisture (a great cameo by Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg), an equally (dare we say) inept villain type whose power seems to be to dampen things. He has the mail, which includes a response to Dr. Horrible’s application from Evil League of Evil leader, Bad Horse. The response, in song of course, tells Horrible the League is watching, “So make the Bad Horse gleeful, or he’ll make you his mare.” With that in mind, Dr. Horrible moves forward with his next dastardly plan.

Things seem to be going well for Horrible, until, in the middle of his plan, he’s interrupted by his dream girl, who is trying to help the homeless and needs petition signatures. This leads to a great metaphor that explains why Dr. Horrible is doing his evil actions.

Unfortunately, as always has to be the way, the hero finally shows up. In less than thirty seconds Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion) manages to undo everything Dr. Horrible has worked so hard on. He stops Horrible’s heist, endangers and saves the life of Horrible’s dream girl, and suddenly she’s in love with Captain Hammer. Act One comes to a close in a two-part harmony between Hammer and the Girl, with Horrible singing a counter melody about what an ass Hammer is and how he really saved her.

Anyone who loved the musical Buffy episode “Once More With Feeling” is going to love this first chapter. The lyrics are witty, the music is intoxicating, and you just can’t get the tunes out of your head. Neil Patrick Harris really captures the essence of what Whedon wanted him to do, which is great because it’s practically the opposite characterization of his How I Met Your Mother Role. Felicia Day doesn’t have much time to shine, but Whedon sets her up as a face easy to fall for. Fillion only appears briefly, and he isn’t the best singer, but he makes his part work through dedication to being so macho (and an ass).

Because of the awesome performances and catchy music, I’ve already watched through the episode twice (and only been awake about an hour, which means 50% of my time today has been spent watching Act One and the other 50% writing this) and could use a soundtrack - please tell me there will be a soundtrack!

Act Two of Dr. Horrible arrives online Thursday, with the conclusion appearing for only one day on Saturday. Check back for reviews as each chapter is revealed.

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