Bonus Content: Something ‘Horrible’ for Halloween

Just in time for the holidays, here’s a bonus episode examining Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, featuring Katherin(e) the Great and her nerd-crush on Nathan Fillion.

Click on the poster or the title above to download our review of the musical web-based mini-series.

Topics of discussion include:  Joss Whedon’s various creative efforts, the utility of “clever” writing, the nature of super hero films, and what makes for an effective musical.



  1. kimchiagogo says:

    as always AWESOME show. i love the interaction between you two. I have not seen this one yet but hope to catch it upon my return.

  2. I think you used this exact same name for last Halloween. That time, it really was horrible. Cool World, man…

  3. gooberzilla says:

    So I did. Repeating myself — one of the dangers of podcasting. Well, that and ravenous piranhas.

  4. vichussmith says:


    Call me whatever name you wish for pointing this out, but I feel that it’s just as bad to let someone continue on an incorrect path. You’re a short story writer, you’re going to school again, so you’re being graded at times, and you’re a podcaster, so I think from time to time criticism or feedback is OK. A doctor pricing you with a needle hurts too, but in the end it’s for the best. So is this:

    Rabid is pronounced with a short a sound, for Baby Jesus’ sake!

    There, I said it. Now let me get on topic.

    I am a Joss Whedon fan, but I am not a browncoat (A brown Browncoat? Who’s buying that? Who would I cosplay as, anyway? Book? That space rapist? Chiwetel “Redbelt” Ejiofor?), so I am not an apologist for his shortcomings, nor do I oversell his talents. For example, I agree that River Song is a weirdo who isn’t even half as interesting as the other members of the crew. She was put to good use in Serenity, though. Also, I liked Summer Glau more in her guest role in Dolhouse than her whole run on Firefly. BTW, was I the only fool who thought Glau was of an Asian background?

    I am absolutely not in agreement with people who say “it gets better” Maybe for bullied teens, but not for TV shows. At most I say you give a show a story arc, and if it doesn’t impress you in any way, then it has not done its job. I was into Buffy from season 1. I bet I might not feel so strong about it if I saw it now, but it gave me what nothing else on TV could at the time.

    I guess you didn’t pick up any of the new DC Comics, Paul? I totally get why people don’t like the gritty dark stuff, especially if you grew up with more light-hearted comics. I love them all. For example, I can get with the Batman Brave and the Bold cartoon as easily as I can with the Marvel Anime, Young Justice, or One Piece.

    I think the second Spider-man was the best of the 3, and the third one, while aggravating and flawed, was not downright terrible. I just hope that something happens over the course of time where Marvel wins the rights back. It’s not guaranteed that Marvel Films would make a great Spider-man movie, but they’d do better than Sony! Let’s hope this even more emo Spider-man is better with Mr. 500 Days of Summer at the helm.

  5. I sit on the fence about Joss Whedon’s efforts. I like his female protagonists. Not enough to ever watch a whole episode of Buffy but still Firefly and Serenity have Zoe and Kayley has their strong female leads.

    I AM excited to see how the Avengers turns out with Whedon in charge but I hope that it doesn’t descend into Thor, Iron Man, Cap and Hulk spouting hipster dialogue while saving the world. I LOVE Scott Pilgrim The Movie but I don’t need it replicated in Marvel’s headline acts.

    Still, I have not seen Dr.Horrible yet. I might have to pick up the blu ray as, at $9, it’s a villainous steal.

  6. vichussmith says:

    Maybe I’m too oblivious or I didn’t look too closely, but I never got the hate for how Joss Whedon writes characters. I didn’t find them to be written too similar, and not too smart for their own good. The writing may not be sound natural enough, and maybe I let that go over my head.

    I think that Joss Whedon has created a lot of good character, be it female or male. Why do we all say “strong female character” by the way? I’ve heard that so long, and it’s so cliche. It’s a pro-female phrase, but e don’t say “strong male character” so in some very odd way I don’t take it as a pro-female comment; I know it just means that a female character is not the typical distress fodder.

    Also, Joss Whedon: hipster? Maybe he should at least start dressing like a hipster if he is one, because he’s a visually unimpressive, balding man.

  7. timeliebe says:

    I’m pretty sure the Evil League of Evil has a bilateral agreement with the American Bar Association – so as an attorney, Katherin should have no problem moving over into supervillainy.

  8. timeliebe says:

    I really enjoyed BUFFY (at least the first five seasons), liked ANGEL, could never really get into FIREFLY though I liked SERENITY, and thought the only time DOLLHOUSE really came together was in its final episode, “Epitaph: Part 2”. (Whedon had an idea for a good SF movie or short miniseries with serious questions about the nature of identity – but expanded it into a network version of a Skinemax show, so it was all tease and took far too long to get to what was substantial.)

    Since leaving the BUFFYverse, Whedon seems to have a problem with worldbuilding – not in figuring out what to add to make it hang together (the usual worldbuilding problem), but in figuring out how these elements will let him tell compelling stories that don’t force him towards his premise’s endgame. I can’t help but notice that, for me at least, FIREFLY and DOLLHOUSE share this problem – that the “vamping in the sandbox” episodes feel like they’re just marking time, and you’re eager to see the overall story arc progress. Tying it back into Katherin’s nerd crush Nathan Fillion, CASTLE has the opposite problem – the “vamping” episodes are the only ones worth watching because you don’t watch CASTLE for its broad story arcs (which suck harder than a Dyson), but for the wisecracks, flirtation and banter between Fillion’s millionaire playboy mystery writer and the women in his life. (Well, except for the story arc where Fillion’s Rick Castle finally scores with the woman cop he’s been chasing for four years now!)

  9. Jung-ho says:

    Vichussmith, I totally thought Summer Glau was of Asian descent.

    I don’t know if I can listen to this episode – I haven’t seen Firefly in a few years, but I loved it when I saw it, and I’m really sensitive to harshness over the things I like, something I have to get over

  10. vichussmith says:

    It’s about Dr. Horrible, mostly, and, SPOILER, Paul mostly bags on Summer Glau’s character and the Buffy show.

  11. Eduardo M. says:

    If Katherin decides to go full-on supervillain, can I be her evil minion? I promise not to go all Starscream and try to secretly usurpe her.

  12. Jung-ho says:

    Well, River is pretty… eh, but not as bad as Morena Baccarin’s character. So pointless…

  13. timeliebe says:

    River Tam was clearly meant to be damaged goods – somebody the Alliance messed with to create a super-soldier, who spent most of her time suffering from the side effects of that. This is yet another case of Whedon letting something go on too long in a series, when if he’d been writing a movie or miniseries she’d have been functional enough by the end to actively particpate as a character (as she was at the end of SERENITY).

    Inara ::sigh:: – well, while Whedon can write good female characters, he’s also a bit of a male comic book geek, and Inara is part of that.

  14. vichussmith says:

    I get the companion character much more than River. River’s an anime cliche! Girl in a box has super powers?

  15. timeliebe says:

    I get the companion character much more than River. River’s an anime cliche! Girl in a box has super powers?

    And the Hooker With A Heart of Gold isn’t, Vichuss? Inara’s an incredible cliché, too – it’s just she had more lines and more to do, so Baccarin could expand on her somewhat.

    All Summer Glau had was “vaporlock” and “mega-asskicker” – we never really got to see what she was like when she wasn’t either wasn’t rocking in the corner, or killing hordes of armed men deader than Hell. Which I guess sort of proves your point….

  16. vichussmith says:

    Yeah, true, but she’s not as unappealing as River. Also, she’s the hooker with a heart of gold, but she keeps doing her business. She doesn’t become a wife or anything.

    I don’t hate River, but I’ve seen that character done the exact same way too many times. Having a person-as-thing is hard to pull off. She’s an escort mission that takes too long, a walking treasure box that everyone wants.

  17. timeliebe says:

    She’s an escort mission that takes too long, a walking treasure box that everyone wants.

    Okay, Vichuss – that we can agree on, that it took them far to long to develop River past that point. (Yeah, I’d say “The End of the Movie That’s Supposed to Represent FIREFLY Season 2” is “too long”.)

    I recently watched all of See-Fee’s ALPHAS first season in a single block while dubbing it off my TiVO to conserve space, and I have to say that their “mentally-challenged superbeing” (the autistic mega-hacker who can read wireless signals with his mind, Gary) is much better developed and believable, and you see him grow and in his own way mature throughout the season. I wish Whedon had done something similar with River throughout the season FIREFLY got – let her become more than an “escort mission” and very occasional dea ex machina to the show, to a functioning (within limits) member of the crew. Taking off Gary in ALPHAS (and RAIN MAN), it might have been funny to see her keep insisting on getting to fly the SERENITY while everybody’s trying to keep her away from the controls – or have her go out with the others on a supply run and discover something the others can’t that advances the overarching story arc.

  18. timeliebe says:

    PS: Paul – the Browncoats are massing at the border of the CASTLE fan boards to assault you for not loving Joss Whedon. You might want to hide behind Katherin and let her kick their asses – though given she loves Nathan Fillion, she might just turn on you….

    Of course, given you’re her brother, that’s not a new feeling, is it? >:)

  19. Jung-ho says:

    Having only seen Firefly and Doc Horrible– I have yet to see the Whedon Strong Female. As it stands, Inara was at the end of the day useless, and River was very annoying. If she wasn’t played by Summer Glau I’d HATE River. ‘Sides, she only ever really kicked ass in the movie

  20. I thought River did a serious asskicking once in the series, early on, when some horde that the crew of the SERENITY couldn’t overcome on their own threatened her – and Mal (who’d been threatening to kick both Simon and River off his ship up to that point) did one of those “Uh – okay, guess she can stay then….” bits that Nathan Fillion does so well. But she never repeated it in the show, sadly – though it’d be stupid to have her “Hulk Out” weekly, they should have done it more than once….

  21. Jung-ho says:

    Hmm… Perhaps I should review the whole show. As we know, it’s not a huge commitment of time………

  22. oh my god goob.
    u should learn some manners when it comes to hating the Buffy TV Series, try keelhauling yourself to teach yourself a lesson.

    Quote of the Day:

    “Don’t Mess With A Black Belt Caveman.”
    – Grandmaster Tsurugi

  23. gooberzilla says:

    My dislike of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has nothing to do with manners. I hope you don’t mean to imply that any dissent when it comes to a popular property is somehow unworthy of being voiced. If that’s how you feel, you shouldn’t listen to this podcast.

    Similarly, keel-hauling requires at least two people to man the ropes; it’s not something one can do to oneself, although it is a particularly violent and horrifying way to die. If you’d truly wish such a fate on anyone, even in jest, I suggest you stop listening to this podcast. Trollish and unproductive comments are not welcome here.

  24. Sugar-Chan says:

    Can I just say that I love how the comments thread has shattered into talk of Firefly and Serenity and has absolutely nothing to do with the content provided? Oh, you Joss Whedon nerds slay me.

    Also, I love Summer Glau when she is not in Joss Whedon works. I HATED her in Buffy, she was way too obvious.

  25. i apologize for my last inconvenient comment. Its just that I REALLY listen to this podcast A LOT, along with Anime World Order and Fast Karate For The Gentleman and in most situations I really AGREE with your criticism and thoughts on such great works of film (or so, MAYBE great works). I guess I should watch what I post more often and ACCEPT criticism more. Sorry dude.

    That “keel-hauling” talk, sorry. Caveman humor. ha ha.

  26. gooberzilla says:

    Apology accepted. Just remember, me not liking something is not a condemnation of the people that do. I know a lot of people that enjoy Buffy, and my criticisms of the show only apply to the first season.

  27. vichussmith says:

    Sorry Sugar, but Buffy and Firefly AND Serenity were all mentioned on the podcast in addition to the main topic. So, kinda on topic! Even if we were on topic, we’d still be Joss Whedon nerds, so I guess you’d look down on us either way.

    Is there much more to say about Doctor Horrible? Out of all the things Whedon has been involved in, I think it’s the thing people are least divided on. I think if people really don’t like it, it’s because it’s a musical, and they don’t like the concept of people breaking out in song.

  28. Sugar-Chan says:

    I mean, you mention Joss Whedon, you HAVE to mention Buffy and Firefly and Serenity, but they weren’t the focus of the podcast. They are the focus of the comment thread, and I think thats funny.

    Although, to your point, the podcast did say quite a lot about Dr. Horrible, so there’s not too much else to make comments on. You guys are still fucking nerds, though. Fucking nerds.

    I do actually like Joss Whedon. I’m a sucker for the unnatural, pithy dialogue. Thats what got me hooked onto Buffy in the first place. I stay away from properties like Firefly and Serenity because I have to keep some sort of non-geek cred. That, and sci-fi don’t do it for me.

  29. vichussmith says:

    Then I will gladly take your compliment. Not a blind fan of Whedon, but I do follow him quite a bit.

  30. What’s there to say about DR. HORRIBLE other than “It’s an awesome low-budget comedy-musical – see it!”?

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