I love Dr. Horrible.
What in the heck is that, you say? Why, it's the greatest internet coup ever staged. During the most recent writer's strike a few years ago, director Joss Whedon (of Buffy, Serenity and Firefly fame) set out to prove that great entertainment does not need the backing of major studios and mega-million dollar budgets to appeal to people. He set out with a very limited cast and budget to film something people would love - and then proceeded to give it away to the people. Completely free. No tickets were sold, no website subscription fees were charged, no forced advertisements or overly long waits between installments were involved.
Dr. Horrible is a (GASP) musical. A SUPERHERO musical. It was released in three parts over a two-week period for free online viewing. Starring Neil Patrick Harris. Yes, seriously. I balked when my husband suggested I watch it - because, really. Doogie Howser, singing? And NPH was cast as a supervillain named Dr. Horrible. I was not convinced, but I decided to humor him and watch it.
When I got to the end of part three, I watched it again. And again. As many times as I could fit it in on the last day it was up online. I laughed, I cried. It's amazing.
There is no doubting Joss Whedon's brilliance. He's so good, I'm not even jealous. I'm just in awe. Naturally, I bought the DVD as soon as I could, and it happened to include singing commentary. And one of the songs on the commentary is performed by Joss Whedon. It happens to be about making art, and then having yourself and your work picked apart and dissected by everyone and their grandmother once the public gets hold of it.
Of course, the song is tongue-in-cheek . . . but there's a lot of truth there. Anyone who creates anything that generates public interest can expect to have other people tearing into it, trying to find out what makes it (and you) tick. The better you are, the more dissection you're subjected to. And the more you're going to have to conform to what people expect of you, if you want to continue making a living from creativity.
There's a balance somewhere between commercialism and artistic integrity. I believe anyone who can make fun of the idea has found that balance. That means you, Joss - and if it makes you feel any better, I promise not to pick you or your work apart.
I'll just plug it. :-) Watch Dr. Horrible! You won't be disappointed. And then you can sing along with me on tunes like "My Freeze Ray", "Bad Horse Chorus", and "I'm Better than Neil."