Wednesday, July 16, 2008

'Horrible' Is Terrific

When "Buffy" creator Joss Whedon writes out his grocery list, it's news, at least for me.

So when I hear that Whedon created a one-hour musical online called "Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog," you know I'm going to be logging in.

The problem is, so is the rest of the planet. So many people logged in to the Web site Tuesday night when it debuted that the server crashed, making it difficult to see what the fuss was about.

Eventually, though, I did, and it's brilliant. Whedon (along with his brothers) creates a love story revolved around the not-very-evil Dr. Horrible (Neal Patrick Harris), who longs to join the Evil Society of Evil and win the heart of the pretty redhead (Felicia Day, one of the slayers on "Buffy") who does laundry at the same laundrymat he does. Unfortunately, he's thwarted time and again by the city's big jerk of a superhero, Capt. Hammer (Nathan Fillion).

Whedon, who created one of the most memorable hours of TV ever with the "Buffy" musical episode, "Once More, With Feeling" shines again mixing comedy and music, and has a cast worthy of his efforts. Harris is pitch perfect as lovelorn title villain, and Fillion relishes his role as the pompous superhero. Day has a breakout role as the love interest.

"Dr. Horrible" is being shown in three, 15-minute parts. Part 2 airs Thursday and Part 3 debuts Saturday. The special, which was created during the strike and financed entirely out of Whedon's and his partners' pockets, will be free to watch this week. Afterwards, it will cost money to download it from platforms like iTunes, but it's definitely worth $1.99 if you miss it this week.

AROUND THE DIAL: William L. Petersen announced he will be leaving "CSI" — sort of. According to several sources, Petersen will depart midway through the season as a regular, but return to the show for guest spots. He will also remain on as a producer for the series. ...

In other casting news, Amy Poehler of "Saturday Night Live" will be the new lead in "The Office" spinoff for NBC this fall. ... FX announced a couple of big guest star roles for its series. Michael J. Fox will guest star on "Rescue Me" in 2009 as Janet's (Andrea Roth) new boyfriend. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease, will use a wheelchair on the show, which should be a great touch for the politically incorrect Tommy (Denis Leary). Meanwhile, Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden has signed on for "Damages" as an attorney who takes on Patti (Glenn Close). ...

The Home Run Derby on Monday set a record for such events with a 6.4 rating, meaning 6.2 million viewers tuned in to watch Josh Hamilton's sizzling performance and Justin Morneau's victory. Last year's Derby clocked in with a 5.1 rating. This Derby was the highest-rated non-NFL related programming on ESPN since the Miami-Florida State football game in 2006. ...

Stratford alum Jon Allen, a pianist who has performed with the likes of Dolly Parton, Rod Stewart and Stevie Wonder, will appear on "The Today Show" Thursday morning.

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: With so-called reality shows dominating the airwaves tonight ("Big Brother," "So You Think You Can Dance," "The Baby Borrowers" and "Celebrity Circus"), my advice is to check out "Dr. Horrible."

The one reality show worth noting is the season premiere of "Project Runway" (Bravo, 9 p.m.), making its last appearance on the network before moving to Lifetime next year.

Finally, as a wrap-up for All-Star weekend, ESPN is running a special on the history of Yankee Stadium at 6 p.m. as well as the Triple-A All-Star Game at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.


zodin2008 said...

Ahem, Phillip...when telling us about some great online video like this Whedon thing, it HELPS TO TELL PEOPLE THE WEBSITE. (shakes his head).

But how can you go wrong with 3 big talents like Whedon, Harris and Fillion?

William L. Peterson is on "CSI"? Jk. That show nor any of it's sisters, remotely interest me.

I am skeptical of the Amy Poehler hire.

I think she's actually not as funny as she makes herself out to be. I will take Tina Fey's subtle humor, any day of the week. Poehler is someone who strictly relies on characters and those people get old fast. Fey is witty which is why she works wonders as the lead on "30 Rock".

I am worried "The Office" spinoff is the next, "Joey".

A better lead for the show, ironically, would be her husband, Will Arnett, who is of course recurring as Jack Donaghy's rival on "Rock".

Phillip Ramati said...

I did list the Web site -

I think Poehler has a lot of talent and will fit in well to the new Office. You can't complain about any of the producers' casting choices in the original. But hey, I'd love to see Will Arnett on any show.