Independent and big-time producers alike have been pouring money into creating shows and films that are aired exclusively online. Some of these Web series have caught the attention of network television, such as “We Need Girlfriends,” which is scheduled to move from YouTube to CBS. I would give you the specific link to go find it, but after watching four episodes, I realized that “We Need Girlfriends” is going to be the worst show on network TV.
So, I then went to Sony’s www.Crackle.com, a host of more original online series. With the exception of a few funny “Groundlings” episodes (episode 12 from season one and episode one from season two), this was also a disappointment. It turns out that the online hype is wrong.
Luckily, I ended up finding one awesome online film that is free and legal to watch from home. The next time it’s raining and you’re too lazy to go to the movie theater, you can cuddle up with your laptop and watch “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog” (http://drhorrible.com/mushortio.html). It is written and directed by Joss Whedon, the former executive producer of beloved TV shows like “Firefly” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
Any loyal “Buffy” fan knows that Joss Whedon should have let the series die with dignity after season five. Instead, Whedon ruined what would have been a perfect ending with two additional seasons that are so poorly produced that even the makeup artist gave up (Buffy’s face resembled an eight-year-old’s who just discovered mommy’s lipstick). But like many other “Buffy” geeks, I am torn, because without the anti-climactic season six, there’d be no “Once More, With Feeling,” an amazing musical episode about a spell that causes the characters to break into song and dance.
Now, fans of Joss Whedon’s witty-yet-weird sense of humor can enjoy more ingenious musical numbers — without the guilt of endorsing season six — on his 43-minute online film. Like many of Whedon’s other ideas, the plot of “Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Blog” might sound incredibly stupid, but it actually isn’t.
Neil Patrick Harris stars as Dr. Horrible, an aspiring super-villian applying to be in the Evil League of Evil. Unfortunately for him, the object of his affection is an embarrassingly non-evil girl who helps the homeless. He also has a video blog, where like many other bloggers, he loves to promote himself and his inventions (such as a device to freeze time) and discussing his feelings. He bursts into song when he sees his unrequited crush, but the best musical numbers come from Dr. Horrible’s arch nemesis, the macho Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion).
With no studio to censor him, Whedon let his film get as weird as he wanted. In one music number, Captain Hammer sings; “I thank my Girlfriend Penny / We totally had sex / She showed me there’s so many / Different muscles I can flex.” Whedon is as wacky and funny as he was back in the “Buffy” glory days, and “Buffy” geeks especially should visit the link.
Also worth checking out is a much shorter video called “The Internet Party” from humor website www.Cracked.com. This video has a very clever premise; if your favorite Web sites were turned into real people, what would they be like? Visit the link (http://www.cracked.com/article_15825_internet-party-what-happens-when-googles-parents-leave-town-weekend.html), and stay tuned for future Artsweek-approved webisodes and Web films.