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Friday, April 23, 2010

Horrible Turn not so horrible

     I may be a tad behind the times, but I discovered only yesterday that there was a prequel out (since November 2009) to Joss Whedon's (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firely, Angel) awesome Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.  Called Horrible Turn, the prequel is not official, and does not involve any of the same actors or crew.  Or even actors and crew who have been involved with TV or movies.  However, unlike most fan-made spin-offs, it is almost as good as what it is seeking to emulate.  The production value and professional look are at least as good as the original, it's a bit longer, and it pays homage to not just it's source material, but also other Joss projects.

     Horrible Turn is the story of a teenage Billy Buddy (Tyce Green), working in a garage laboratory on plants, and pining for Australian exchange student Katie Kitty (Kristin Massa).  So that explains why Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother, Doogie Howser) wanted to create a new Australia!  Billy still has a best friend, this one named Wade (Dominic Difelice), though he had enough similarity, including the water-based name, for me to assume that Wade will eventually become Moist (Simon Helberg,The Big Bang Theory).  The biggest difference is that his lab partner, Kenny Hammerstein (Jacob Buras), who is, by the way, the best part of this prequel, is hated by everyone for his holier-than-thou attitude and giant ego.

     Then Billy discovers that the newly formed Evil League of Evil is creating havoc, and calculates that the next target will be his high school math competition.  Billy has invented a potion to make everyone like each other, and tasks Hammerstein to drip the stuff into the ventilation system.  Hammerstein decides he would rather drink the whole thing himself, making himself instantly beloved by everyone, and completes the transformation to Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion, Castle, Firefly).  Of course, Billy gets everything wrong, and, burned, decides to become an evil genius instead of helping people.

     Among the references to the original are appearances by Bad Horse and Dead Bowie, similar news casters, an Australian girl chorus that resembles the Bad Horse Chorus, and familiar parts of costumes.  The humor, music, and plot arc are also close.  A truck says "Dahlhaus" on the side, a reference to Joss's last series, Dollhouse, and the rival math team is from a school called Serenity, and there's a character on them team named Felicia Night.  The best part may be that Johnny Snow (Christian Haile), only mentioned in Dr. Horrible, is a fleshed out character who worships Hammerstein and hates Billy.  Stay tuned through the credits for more Johnny goodness.

     Hopefully, Joss will include the actors at least in any upcoming Horrible sequel, of which there is sure to be, lending legitimacy to this wonderful project.  Also, it would be smart to cast Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld, Family Guy) as Johnny Snow, to further connect the two, since Haile came across as a young Warburton.  You can watch the entire Horrible Turn for free online.

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