It was 2007. Television was at a standstill due to the writer’s strike, and shows were suffering slumps. Joss Whedon, best known at that time for Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, had been talking to actress Felicia Day about her web series The Guild, and this (at the time) somewhat new idea of putting full productions online for consumption. Whedon wanted to prove that you could produce something professionally done on a limited budget, and ended up producing a 42 minute long musical.
Releasing it in three parts online for free in July 2008, Whedon drew on his contacts for the cast and crew. He cast Nathan Fillion and Day, as well as Neil Patrick Harris in the lead. His brothers Zack Whedon and Jed Whedon, as well as Maurissa Tancharoen, were co-writers of the production.
The production was an overwhelming success, with the servers crashing more than once during those three days. Time named it #15 in its list of Top 50 Inventions of 2008. It won the People’s Choice Award and a Hugo in 2009, as well as seven awards in the first Streamy Awards. It has been hailed as one of the turning points for production of online content.
Like all content now, it became more than just the production. The soundtrack, released both on iTunes and on CD, made the top 40 album list on release, and the DVD included a musical commentary that can also be purchased on iTunes. There is a Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Book, staged sing-alongs at various events (including an officially sanctioned stage production at Trinity College Dublin). There’s even a comic book by Dark Horse Comics. And, of course, the talk of a potential sequel has been around since the production came out.
Tonight, as part of PaleyFest New York 2015, there is a screening of the production and a panel with Harris, Fillion, Day, and Whedon. Starting at 5:30 pm PT, 8:30 pm ET, you can see the screening online as part of the Paley Center’s partnership with Yahoo! To see Dr. Horrible or order merchandise/soundtracks, visit the Dr. Horrible website.
And for your other genre panels, Ash vs. Evil Dead will be streaming October 13 at 4:05 pm PST, Mr. Robot on October 14 at 3:40 pm PST, and Orphan Black on October 18 at 11:25 am PST. For more information about these streams, as well as an app that lets you stream from your phone, visit the Paley Center’s website.
You can see more of Angie’s work over at her website.