After a day devoted to Fox -- where we saw what's likely to be the best new show for fall from the broadcast networks (Fringe
), sat through a surprisingly civil Fox News press conference (featuring Karl Rove) and tried to pry plot points out of largely reluctant representatives for 24
and The Sarah Connor Chronicles
-- an entertaining jolt arrived from outside the TV press tour umbrella.
It arrived courtesy of Joss Whedon, who today unveils the first of a playful three-part Internet serial called Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. It features original music, as did his classic "Once More with Feeling" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which makes it, more specifically, a serial musical. And it's wonderful...
Neil Patrick Harris, whom I've seen sing and act very charismatically on Broadway in both Cabaret and Assassins, stars in the title role. His Dr. Horrible is a villain with a mission: to perfect his freeze ray, which can stop time, while winning the heart of a sweet young woman (played by Felicia Day) he knows from the local laundromat.
Yes, even though Dr. Horrible has a minion, he does his own laundry. And answers his own email, which contains annoying challenges from wannabe bad guys even lower on the Evil Totem Pole than he is.
"I'm just trying to change the world, okay?" he whines into the camera, rejecting yet another offer for a villain-on-villain duel. "I don't have the time for a grudge match with every poser in a parka."
The episode, some glorious 14 minutes long, is delivered crisply -- looks great, sounds great, and features Nathan Fillion, a Whedon discovery from Firefly, as the hero of the piece, Captain Hammer, who instantly sort of saves the day while also attracting the eye of the bad doctor's possible paramour. Two more episodes will roll out within the week, and you can watch them all on www.drhorrible.com -- and you really, really should.
Meanwhile, to condense the other, less entertaining new stuff that's circulating:
The new stand-alone 24 event, coming in September, condenses a typical Jack Bauer day into one two-hour telemovie -- and the day in question, which involves unrest in Africa, is the day on which the first woman takes office as President of the United States. Why not, since 24 was way ahead of the curve in showing a black man in the Oval Office?
And Fox News executive John Moody defended his network's ugly doctored caricatures of reporters televised recently by saying the morning show Fox & Friends is "an entertainment show that does some news." And yes, some found the doctored photos offensive, "but that's the nature of humor." Oh.
Karl Rove, presidential advisor and current Fox News political analyst, talking about defying a subpoena by not appearing before Congress, told reporters, "I have not asserted any personal privilege. This is between the White House and Congress. This is a longstanding battle over the principle of executive privilege and the ability of a President to receive advice from senior advisors, and for those advisors nor to be at the beck and call of Congress for testimony." Oh.
And about the press: "Have you read some of the ugly things they say about me?" Rove asked, referring to The New York Times, which he says he reads every day. "I mean, who cares?... I know who I am. I'm not the myth that I've been developed into, and there's nothing I can do.
"I'm like Grendel in Beowulf." Oh. Wow.