Sunday 3 June 2018

Supervillain! Sample Chapter

This is a sample chapter from Supervillain!: The Unauthorised And Unofficial Guide to the World of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is out now.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a tragic comedy is three acts. So in sharing the whole of Act One, am I giving away a third of the book for free?

Well, no. Supervillain!: The Unauthorised And Unofficial Guide to the World of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog not only covers all three acts of the online phenomenon, but also the Emmys, the comics and Commentary! The Musical in exhaustive detail.

Anyway with further ado, here's Act One...

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Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Act One

July 15, 2008, a Tuesday

14 Minutes

In order to impress the Evil League of Evil, Dr. Horrible stages a Wonderflonium heist, which turns out to be easier than talking to Penny, the girl of his dreams. In the process, he inadvertently introduces her to his nemesis, Captain Hammer.

First appearance of Dr. Horrible, Penny, Moist, Captain Hammer and the Bad Horse Chorus. First mentions of Bad Horse and the Evil League of Evil.

The Evil League of Evil is led by Bad Horse. Individuals are entitled to apply to join, but the application process is lengthy. The applications themselves require evaluation, but the actions of applicants are watched and graded by the League. Applicants are required to undertake a heinous crime and a show of force. A murder is considered a plus. Letters of condemnation are considered.

Wonderflonium is a substance that is sensitive to bouncing. It can be used in the construction of a device that freezes time.

The Caring Hands Homeless Shelter is a local homeless shelter. They are looking to expand. There is a peition to use a building that the city is planning to pull down and replace with a parking lot. If the city donated it instead, the shelter would be able to provide 250 new beds, get people off the streets and into job training.

Dooley Park is popular with children. Harris and Frank is a locksmiths in the same neighbourhood as Lalonde Inn.

He also goes by the name of Billy. He is an evil scientist and inventor. He blogs a blog, responds to emails submitted by his readers and works with a vocal coach to improve his evil laugh. He has applied to join the Evil League of Evil and this year his application is supported by a letter of condemnation from the Deputy Mayor. He regards Captain Hammer as his nemesis. Johnny Snow recently challenged him to a confrontation at Dooley Park, but Dr. Horrible chose not to attend.

Among his inventions are the Transmatter Ray, the Horrible Van Remote and the forthcoming Freeze Ray. He used the Transmatter Ray to teleport bars of gold from a bank vault, but during the transition the molecules shifted and they came out the other end as a Cumin smelling liquid. The Horrible Van Remote magnetically attaches to a van and allows the user to drive it by remote using a mobile phone-like device. His intention is that the Freeze Ray will be a device that uses Wonderflonium to stop time.

He is in love with Penny, but they haven’t really spoken. In place of speech, there was mumbling. He uses the same laundromat as she does and is acutely aware of when she does her laundry.

Dr. Horrible uses the Horrible Van Remote to steals a courier van that is carrying a briefcase of Wonderflonium. He is interrupted by Penny attempting to get signatures for her petition. His heist continues despite the interruption and he signs Penny’s petition.

When Captain Hammer arrives and crushes the Horrible Van Remote, Dr. Horrible struggles to regain control of the van in order to stop it running Penny over. Dr. Horrible steals the Wonderflonium from under the nose of a distracted Captain Hammer.

She volunteers at The Caring Hands Homeless Shelter and collects signatures for a petition for it.

Penny does her laundry on Wednesdays and Saturdays, occasionally missing Saturdays. Penny frequents the same laundromat as Billy. She is unaware of his feelings for her. She recognises Billy from the laundromat.

Captain Hammer pushes her out of the path of the oncoming van and into a stack of rubbish bags.

He is Dr. Horrible’s nemesis. Captain Hammer crushes the Horrible Van Remote and foils Dr. Horrible’s van theft. He pushes Penny out of the path of the oncoming van and into a stack of rubbish bags. Distracted by Penny’s gratitude, Captain Hammer is unaware of that Dr. Horrible steals the briefcase of Wonderflonium.

He is Dr. Horrible’s friend. He moistens things. Moist went on a date with Bait and Switch, he thought he was going end up with Bait, but…

He rules the Evil League of Evil with an iron hoof. Bad Horse is also known as the Thoroughbred of Sin. He is known for his terrible death whinny. He communicates via a chorus of three cowboys. Bad Horse seals his mail with a hoofmark and apparently sends it in waterproof envelopes. Bad Horse is evaluating Dr. Horrible’s application to join the Evil League of Evil. He recommends a heinous crime, a force of force and a murder to support his application.

A sarcastic emailer to Dr. Horrible’s blog.

He is an emailer to Dr. Horrible’s blog. Johnny Snow believes himself to be Dr. Horrible’s nemesis. He waited at Dooley Park for 45 minutes for a presumably pre-arranged altercation, Dr. Horrible did not arrive. He has ice-based inventions.

An emailer to Dr. Horrible’s blog.

They told Dr. Horrible about Moist’s date with Bait and Switch.

Double act with Switch. They went on a date with Switch and Moist. Moist thought he was going to end up with Bait.

Double act with Bait. They went on a date with Bait and Moist. Moist thought he was going to end up with Bait.

‘Horrible Theme’
Music by Joss Whedon

‘My Freeze Ray’
Music and Lyrics by Joss Whedon
Performed by Neil Patrick Harris.

‘Bad Horse Chorus’
Music by Jed Whedon and Joss Whedon
Lyrics by Joss Whedon
Performed by Jed Whedon, Joss Whedon and Zack Whedon

‘Caring Hands’
Music by Jed Whedon

Lyrics by Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon
Performed by Felicia Day

‘A Man's Gotta Do’
Music and Lyrics by Jed Whedon
Performed by Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day

Dr. Horrible: “Wow, sarcasm. That's original.”

Penny: “I was wondering if - if I could just... Hey, I know you.”
Dr. Horrible: “Hello. You know me? Cool. I mean - yeah, you do... Do you?”
Penny: “From the laundromat.”
Dr. Horrible: “Wednesdays and Saturdays except twice last month you skipped the weekend. Or if that was you, could have been someone else - I mean I've seen you...”

Penny: “I was saying, um, maybe we could get the city to donate the building to our cause. We would be able to provide 250 new beds, get people off the streets and into job training so they could… buy rocket packs and go to the moon and become… florists… You’re not really interested in the homeless are you?”

Captain Hammer: “It's curtains for you Dr. Horrible. Lacy, gently wafting curtains.”

None, but then this is Act One.


The title, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, recalls the 1965 portmanteau horror film Dr. Terror’s House Of Horrors and the 2001 parody series Dr. Terrible’s House Of Horrible.

Dr. Horrible’s lab is in a real-life home. The house was redesigned to look like a mad scientist's lab in an episode of Monster House, a TV series that ran from 2003-2006 and saw people homes renovated along quite stark themes.

During the opening monologue direct to camera, over Dr. Horrible’s right shoulder there is an out-of-focus shape that bears quite a resemblance to Serenity, the Firefly class transport vessel from Joss Whedon’s earlier work Firefly (2002-2003) and Serenity (2005). It was later revealed to simply be a line of pots and pans hanging up in the window.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog does owe a debt to Firefly, however in the form of costume and props. Dr. Horrible's lab coat is the same one that Simon Tam uses to disguise himself as an Alliance doctor in the Firefly episode, Ariel. Neil Patrick Harris reportedly auditioned for the role of Simon Tam, which ultimately went to Sean Maher.

AT&T is the largest telephone provider in the United States.

When Dr. Horrible first uses the Horrible Van Remote, the time reads 5:00 PM, following his conversation with Penny it states that the time is 4:57 PM.

When Captain Hammer is riding on top of the van and he crouches down a safety wire is visible to the left side of the frame.

Joss Whedon would appear to have a minor florist fixation referencing them in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Dopplegangland and Angel’s Spin The Bottle, and both times implying that they are crazy.

A fish doesn’t rot from the head.

When Captain Hammer jumps onto the hijacked van, he punches and destroys the Horrible Van Remote. The fist doing the punching was not Nathan Fillion’s, but Joss Whedon’s.

Dr. Horrible.......................................................................................Neil Patrick Harris
Captain Hammer.....................................................................................Nathan Fillion
Penny.............................................................................................…...Felicia Day
Moist..............................................................................................Simon Helberg
Bad Horse Chorus #1................................................................................Nick Towne
Bad Horse Chorus #2................................................................................Jed Whedon
Bad Horse Chorus #3................................................................................Robert Reinis
Van Driver.........................................................................................Otto Penzato

Neil Patrick Harris is best known for playing the title role in Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989-1993) and later Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014), as well as a fictionalised version of himself in the Harold & Kumar films (2004-2011). He has also appeared in Blossom (1991), Captain Planet And The Planeteers (1992), Quantum Leap (1993), Murder, She Wrote (1993), Capitol Critters (1992-1995), The Outer Limits (1996), Starship Troopers (1997), Homicide: Life On The Street (1997), Stark Raving Mad (1999-2000), Will & Grace (2000), Ed (2001), Spider-Man (2003), Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2004), Numb3rs (2005), Robot Chicken (2009), Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009), Glee (2010), Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (2013), A Million Ways To Die In The West (2014), Gone Girl (2014), American Horror Story (2015) and A Series Of Unfortunate Events (2017-2019). He hosted The Oscars in 2015 and wrote a Choose Your Own Autobiography.

Nathan Fillion found fame as Joey Buchanan in One Life To Live (1995-2007), Johnny Donnelly in Two Guys, A Girl And A Pizza Place (1998-2001), Captain Mal Reyolds in Firefly (2002-2003) and Serenity (2005), Caleb in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (2003) and Richard Castle in Castle (2009-2015). Other appearances include Blast From The Past (1999), The Outer Limits (1999), Dracula 2000 (2000), King Of The Hill (2001), Pasadena (2002), Miss Match (2003), Lost (2006), Slither (2006), Drive (2007), Robot Chicken (2007-2014), Desperate Housewives (2007-2008), The Venture Bros. (2010), Husbands (2011), Much Ado About Nothing (2012), American Dad! (2012), Monsters University (2013), Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014), Gravity Falls (2014-2015), Community (2014-2015), Con Man (2015-2017) and A Series Of Unfortunate Events (2018). He played the other Private Ryan in Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Felicia Day played Vi in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (2003), Codex in The Guild (2007-2013), Fairy in The Legend Of Neil (2008-2010), Mag in Dollhouse (2009-2010), Holly Marten in A Town Called Eureka (2011-2012) and Charlie in Supernatural (2012-2018) as well as appearing in Monk (2005), House M.D. (2008), Roommates (2009), Dragon Age: Redemption (2011), Husbands (2012), The High Fructose Adventures Of Annoying Orange (2012-2014), Con Man (2015-2017) and Stretch Armstrong & The Flex Fighters (2017-2018). She launched a YouTube channel called Geek & Sundry, she blogs a blog and vlogs a Flog. Her autobiography is entitled You're Never Weird On The Internet (Almost).

Simon Helberg found fame playing Howard Wolowitz in The Big Bang Theory (2007-2018). He was approximately one half of comedy duo, Derek and Simon. He also appeared in Sabrina, The Teenage Witch (2002), Van Wilder: Party Liaison (2002), MADtv (2002-2003), Arrested Development (2005), Good Night, And Good Luck (2005), Joey (2004-2006), For Your Consideration (2006), Evan Almighty (2007), Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip (2006-2007), A Serious Man (2009), The Guild (2010), Kung Fu Panda: Legends Of Awesomeness (2011-2014), The Tom And Jerry Show (2014) and Florence Foster Jenkins (2016). He wrote, directed and starred in We'll Never Have Paris (2014).

Nick Towne followed his role as Bad Horse Chorus #1 with a performance as a Roulette Dealer in The Invention Of Lying (2009). He worked as a writers' assistant on second and third seasons of the TV Series Deadwood (2005-2006), in addition to co-writing his own episode, Amateur Night. He went on to write for Preacher (2016).

In addition to portraying Bad Horse Chorus #2, Jed Whedon appeared in an episode of It's A Living (1987) and as Man At Table in the Dollhouse series finale. He co-wrote Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and Commentary! The Musical. He has also written episodes of Drop Dead Diva (2009), Dollhouse (2009-2010) and Spartacus (2012-2013). He co-created Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013-2015) and has co-written nineteen episodes to date, with an adorable habit of alternating first billing with Maurissa Tancheroen. He wrote and performed music for Pootie Tang (2001), Suspension (2008) and Much Ado About Nothing (2012). He directed Commentary! The Musical and Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? (2009). In 2010, he released an album entitled History Of Forgotten Things as Jed Whedon And The Willing.

The third part of the Bad Horse Chorus triumvirate, Robert Reinis has appeared in Manhattan, AZ (2000), Just Shoot Me! (2000-2002), NYPD Blue (2005), Over There (2005), NCIS (2006), MADtv (2005-2007), Jericho (2007), the American version of The IT Crowd (2007), Desperate Housewives (2012), New Girl (2012), The New Normal (2012) and Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2015). He also wrote and produced a short film called Robbers (2008) and a TV movie called The Winklers (2014).

Otto Penzato has appeared in Diamonds In The Rough (1996), credited as Michael Penzato, Good Vs Evil (1999) and had an uncredited, but recurring role in Desire (2006). In Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, he both played the van driver and worked as first assistant director. It is in jobs like the latter that he worked on Human Nature (2001), Ghost World (2001), Wrong Turn (2003), The Plot To Kill Nixon (2005), Desire (2006), Sordid Lives (2008), Supah Ninjas (2011-2013), Happyland (2014) and Gortimer Gibbon's Life On Normal Street (2014-2015).

Act One makes an instant impact. The blogging itself is hilarious and it is wonderfully represented as a piece to camera. The songs are magnificent and somehow both complex and catchy. The cast are wonderful throughout and Neil Patrick Harris holds the whole thing together with a magnificent performance.

In many a musical, the plot takes a back seat to the characters, whereas here the slimness of the plot is acknowledged and becomes an asset in itself. The love triangle is foregrounded and Dr. Horrible’s evil scheme is far less important.

The central trio of characters don’t simply fly, but they soar. As Act One progresses you feel as though you know Billy, Penny, Captain Hammer and Moist innately.

The world building that’s on offer here is incredibly rich. The fantastical is expertly grounded in the ordinary.

In short, Act One leaves you wanting more.

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Supervillain!: The Unauthorised And Unofficial Guide to the World of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is out now.

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