July 17, 2008 |
Joss Whedon and company weren't prepared for the enormous interest in his created-for-the-Web musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which premiered Act I Tuesday online and crashed the servers almost immediately. The online-only musical features several Web 2.0 in-jokes, such as the villain, Dr. Horrible, having a vlog, then being thwarted by police and the superhero Captain Hammer after revealing his plans for a freeze ray on the vlog.
Conceived during the recent writers' strike, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog came with the built-in Whedon cult audience and via a mainly viral campaign, seems to have managed a huge web audience as a result. Even with the server outages on Tuesday, Act I was the most-downloaded TV episode on iTunes on Tuesday, and is still ranked at number two today.
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog combines the low budget of Web productions with the professionalism of a team used to working with a much larger budget, and even with the tight shooting schedule, the episodes have a very different feel than the usual Web-created content that isn't tied to a regular television show (for instance, the Battlestar Galactica Webisodes which were filmed using the same actors and sets as the show itself).
Whedon has said that the goal for the show is to simply make the money back, and with the show's current popularity, it looks like he'll at least meet, if not exceed his goal, which should hopefully lead to more shows like this. Whedon may be changing the way we view Web-created video content, changing the current model where shows that succeed online attempt to cross over to television and just don't make it. With more streaming content made available, it may make more sense to have two parallel markets instead of insisting one kill the other.
Act II is available today, and you can still view Act I as well if you need to catch up.