Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: Horrible and Titanic For Me

Everybody's doing a Top Ten list as we say goodbye to 2008. It was a year that had an adequate opening, a nerve-racking middle and a depressing end. It could almost be a horror movie, if not for a bit of hope for the future at the end. Kind of like Battlestar Galactica, or what's happening to Pushing Daisies.

I called this year "horrible" and "titanic" because of the two big events of my life.

1. Dr. Horrible

The first time I heard about this guy was a throw-away comment made by Neil Patrick Harris when he was talking his role as "himself" in Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay:

I’m doing a web short film that Joss Whedon is directing and wrote called DR. HORRIBLE’S SING-A-LONG BLOG. That’s a musical about super villains and crossing my fingers for the next round of Dancing With The Stars. (long pause) No…

Of course, he was kidding....right? That's as silly as creating a show about a girl who can be literally programmed to be anyone, except herself because she doesn't have that ability.
Oh, wait...
Well, as we went into the summer, we learned that this Dr. Horrible thing was real. It's Joss Whedon's way to make something special for the Internet, without the need of a media mega-glob or something. Add unique songs, a Captain with tight pants and a red-headed gal who was last seen with a Guild, and you have.....well....something that just may revolutionize show biz.

Then again, that's putting it mildly: millions of hits on its own website and others, thousands of sales on iTunes, and now the biggest DVD hit of the Christmas shopping season.

As a loyal Whedonista, I was all too happy to lend my support for the project. In fact, I can say Dr. Horrible made me buy a video iPod, and I've never looked back. I was right up front at Comic-Con, willing to see episodes of Eureka and Stargate: Atlantis to wait for the first big-screen showing of Dr. Horrible. The pictures I got from it made it all worth it. Not only that, I got to meet Felicia Day, my first Slayer since meeting Bianca Lawson in Sacramento a few years ago. I was glad that she knew me as one of her MySpace friends, and that's enough. That, and getting my Guild DVD autographed. Too bad I couldn't get closer to Nathan Fillion or Neil Patrick Harris, but I saw history. That's big, and there's always another chance.

2. Cinematic Titanic: The Other DVD Rule-Breaker

Even after Mystery Science Theater 3000 departed from Sci-Fi in 1999, Man still has a basic need to express himself when he realizes he has spent ten bucks to witness a pile of manure made from film...or specifically Fox, Warner Brothers or Universal. Mike Nelson has picked up the slack thanks to The Film Crew, and later Rifftrax (basically the home version of MST that allows him to give recent "films"...even the good ones....the business). Then we hear that Joel Hodgson, who created MST has something new called Cinematic Titanic. He finds his crew from the first season, and adds TV's Frank and Mary Jo Pehl, and recreates the Traditional Method of Riffing. So far, CT has made five DVD's, with a sixth coming in early January. It hasn't been as popular as Dr. Horrible, because it's a niche DVD. This is a mom and pop operation, but it is one that has achieved success and praise.

Like DH, this has touched me in a special way...I finally got to meet Joel, J. Elvis Weinstein (Tom Servo 1.0 and Dr. Ehrhart), Trace Beaulieu (Dr. Forrester) and TV's Frank Coniff in San Jose under a heavy canvas tent that was technically part of the Convention Center. I may have worried Joel because I found a jump suit that fit me. I am hoping I'll get one closer to the official colors, whether it's Joel red or Mike Nelson blue or green.

You know, since Neil Patrick Harris once riffed a movie on Rifftrax, maybe you combine DH with Rifftrax or CT and make something even more glorious. Of course, to make it perfect, you'd have to add Sarah Michelle Gellar, and they all riff on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as in the 1992 movie people usually forget--with some justification, maybe.

After all, who wouldn't want a battle of the mad scientists between Dr. Forrester and Dr. Horrible, which winds up them both of them riffing on the same movie--because Buffy made them.

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