Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Makes Its TV Debut

After finding enormous success online, Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog finally comes to TV

Neil Patrick Harris stars as a lovestruck supervillain in the musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

The television debut of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog will be a thrill for viewers who have yet to discover this online gem

With time on his hands during the 2008 Hollywood Writers Guild strike, writer/director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Avengers) decided to mount an inexpensive, independent musical that would run online and hopefully recoup its meagre costs (reportedly a mere US$200,000) through iTunes downloads and DVD sales.

The result was Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, one of the most creative, clever and downright hilarious pieces of musical comedy ever, featuring top-tier talent and Whedon’s unique take on the superhero genre.

Not only did the project go on to earn more than US$3 million for Whedon and his collaborators (who all took a piece of the eventual profits instead of a salary), the three-act “tragicomedy” went on to win numerous awards and was named one of Time magazine’s “Top 50 inventions of 2008.” 

This Tuesday, several years after its online success, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog finally makes its television debut, airing at 9 p.m. on The CW. 

Neil Patrick Harris is Dr. Horrible

How I Met Your Mother’s Neil Patrick Harris stars as the titular Dr. Horrible, a low-rent super-villain who boasts of his “PhD in horribleness.” Yet Dr. Horrible isn’t feeling particularly evil at the moment; as he confides to his henchman (The Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg), he’s fallen in love with a young woman named Penny (Felicia Day) whom he hasn’t yet had the courage to speak to. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Horrible finds out his application to the prestigious Evil League of Evil is under evaluation, and he hopes to impress the group by stealing a shipment of wonderflonium to use in his Freeze Ray. Before he can pull off the heist, however, he’s foiled by his arch-nemesis, superhero Captain Hammer (Castle’s Nathan Fillion). 

Through a complete fluke, Hammer also falls in love with Penny, which sends Dr. Horrible into a spiral of jealousy and insecurity. Things get even worse for the doc when the Evil League of Evil informs him that the only way he’ll be accepted into the group is to fulfill his “heinous crime” requirement by committing an assassination, so he reluctantly agrees to whack Captain Hammer. 

Fans of Buffy who enjoyed Whedon’s acclaimed musical episode, Once More With Feeling, will find Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog to be a sheer delight, while the uninitiated will enjoy one of the most uniquely entertaining pieces of musical theatre ever devised.

Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog airs Tuesday, Oct. 9 on the CW at 9 p.m.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.