Tuesday, August 26, 2008

With a Ph.D. in Horribleness

A few weeks ago I found a little gem that you may have heard about: Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog. I realize that I'm late to the party of telling everyone about how great it is, but if you somehow haven't seen it yet then click that link already!


This blog will still be here when you're done.

Dr. Horrible is a great example of how to tell a story. It really just gets in there, tells the tale, and then is done. And it doesn't hurt to have some clever humor either. It really helps establish an opinion of mine which I've held for some time (and I believe I've written about it a little before) which is basically this:

A good movie (or show in this case) is mostly determined by the writing and storytelling rather than special effects, attractive actors/actresses, or other gimmicks.

(By the way, I'm a fan of the old-school way of calling them actresses instead of actors... although heroine can be kind of a problem.)

There are actually several awesome examples from Dr. Horrible, but to avoid any spoilers I'll just focus on the setup. Within the first 5 minutes of the show you learn basically everything you need to know:

  • Dr. Horrible is an aspiring villain who desires social change (amongst other things) and wants to rule the world.
  • The Dr. has a video blog.
  • The Dr. is an inventor. His current project is the "Freeze Ray".
  • There is an "Evil League of Evil" which the Dr. wants to be accepted into.
  • The Dr.'s nemesis is Captain Hammer.
  • Dr. Horrible has a crush on a girl, but he's too shy to talk to her.

Additionally it provides a nice setup for Bad Horse and Captain Hammer, gives the viewer with a general feel for the show, and has plenty of humor. And it does all this exposition within the regular context of the show. No need to have an intro sequence or some other sort of contrived method of getting the message across.

I guess what it all boils down to is that there need to be more Joss Whedons in the world, and they need to be writing in Hollywood. No one will miss all the drivel-spawning clowns who currently claim to be screenwriters.