DR HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG: Commentary! The Musical


Other Worlds Orbiter presents SEX MADNESS REVEALED, starring Patton Oswalt and Rob Zabrecky. SMR takes the form of an audio commentary that plays out over the little known 1938 STD propaganda film SEX MADNESS (1938). The voice of a persnickety film blogger (Oswalt) interviews the descendant of the original motion picture’s director who harbors a nefarious secret.

Please join us, and director Tim Kirk, for the Texas premiere on Wednesday, September 19 (7:30PM) at Flix Brewhouse. You can get more info and reserve your tickets here. But first, OWA Programmer and Hospitality Director, Debbie Cerda, shares her favorite commentary:

Film commentaries seem to be something that you can either love or hate. As much as I love the “behind the scenes” insight of a beloved film, I’ve never had much patience to sit through an entire commentary.

One of the better experiences that I’ve had was a live commentary hosted by Jason Reitman for a special screening of Rick Linklater’s DAZED AND CONFUSED at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. The two directors were seated in the row in front of me in the historic Egyptian Theatre, watching along with the audience and narrating with behind-the-scene tidbits the movie played.


However, my favorite commentary by far is for DR HORRIBLE’S SING-ALONG BLOG, a 3-act musical comedy-drama miniseries that was produced exclusively for internet distribution. Filmed and set in Los Angeles, the show tells the story of Billy Buddy aka supervillain Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) and his foe, Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion), who compete for the attention and affection of Penny (Felicia Day), an innocent charity worker.

DR HORRIBLE’S SING-ALONG BLOG was co-written by writer/director Joss Whedon, along with his brothers Zack and Jed Whedon and writer/actress Maurissa Tancharoen. The story was conceived during the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. The production was low budget and intended as a way to channel the creative talent and contributions during what was a tumultuous time in Hollywood.

The story and its supporting songs is engaging, wickedly funny, and bittersweet. Each of the songs showcase the various talents of the entire cast — quite a feat with the vocal talents of Neil Patrick Harris. The soundtrack was produced, orchestrated, recorded, and played by Jed Whedon, and recorded at Burnside Studios, Los Angeles. The vocals were recorded over a five day period in Joss’ loft.

DR HORRIBLE’S SING-ALONG BLOG received the Hugo Award for “Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form” and a Primetime Emmy award for “Outstanding Special Class - Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Programs.”

The DVD release special features include “The Making of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog” and a director’s commentary. Funds from DVD sales reportedly allowed Whedon to recoup the expenses of the original production.

My favorite DVD special feature is “Commentary! The Musical,” which not only presents relevant topics in musical format -- such as the writers strike — but was also scored for the film’s progression. The writing team wrote all of the songs, may of which incorporated inside jokes and stories, with Joss and Jed Whedon co-directing.

Maurissa Tancharoen, who married Jed Whedon in 2009, references herself as the “Asian Whedon.” She penned the song “Nobody’s Asian in The Movies” as a reference to typecasting and tropes in Hollywood. Tancharoen won a 2009 Streamy Award for Best Writing for a Comedy Web Series for DR HORRIBLE.

In more recent years, Tancharoen has worked with Jed Whedon and Joss Whedon as co-creator Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and is also executive producer of the popular television series.

In the DVD special feature short documentary “The Making of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog,” Nathan Fillion shares how Joss Whedon told him “more CHEESE” in reference to his performance as Captain Hammer. The dialogue sprinkled between the songs in Commentary! The Musical reveals the banter between Neil Patrick Harris and Fillion. The highlight of this rivalry is best represented in the song “Better (Than Neil).” Here’s a snippet of the lyrics:

I’m better

Better than Neil

At so many things

It’s hard to conceal

Oh sure he does magic

Magic’s not real

How dumb do you feel?

If you’ve not watched DR HORRIBLE’S SING-ALONG BLOG — or it’s been awhile since you’ve watched — I encourage viewing before diving into Commentary! A Musical. Both DVD and Blu-ray are available for purchase on Amazon or iTunes download. Check out the official Dr. Horrible website for more details.

Listen to Commentary! The Musical in its entirety on the official YouTube channel.