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Top 12 Film Industry Stories of 2008:
#11: Writers' Strike Impact Not So Horrible

By David Mumpower

January 7, 2009

They do the weird stuff.

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As the sides argued publicly and, somewhat recursively, on the Internet, several bits of video genius were release. My personal favorite was the creative team behind Everybody Hates Chris warning consumers that putting Hollywood children out of work would endanger them to the point that they may grow up to be like Todd Bridges. And they drove this point home by having Todd Bridges deliver the message. Sure, he has to lack self-esteem to do that, but at least he has self-awareness.

The truly fascinating aspect of the Writer's Strike is that the most creative people in the industry were liberated from work for a while. As they stood in groups and picketed major corporations, smart and funny people interacted and brainstormed. While no one would work while the strike was ongoing, plans could be made for the future. And BOP was pleased to see that one of our very favorite people, Joss Whedon, was among the most inventive in this regard.

While striking with family members Jed and Zach Whedon and their respective significant others, Joss had an epiphany. An idea that had been percolating in his head for a while should take on a new form. The idea was Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog, and the implementation of this new creation was as novel as its title.




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For those of you who have not had Internet access for the past six months, Dr. Horrible is a 43 minute video told in three episodes. The premise is that a would-be supervillain blogs his days and nights while he tries to earn an invite from Bad Horse to join the Evil League of Evil. And he sings about all his ups and downs along the way. Yup, it's a musical. Oh yeah, and there is this girl he likes named Penny whom he semi-stalks at the laundry mat. She seems to like him, too, but rather than date him, she does the weird stuff (I'm talking about sex) with his arch-nemesis, the heroic but vapid Captain Hammer.

Yes, Dr. Horrible is every bit as strange as it sounds, as is the case with most of Joss Whedon's creations. And yes, it's every bit as entertaining as most of Joss Whedon's creations are. Keeping in mind that BOP once named Serenity as the best movie of the year (we clearly drink the Whedon Kool-Aid), we cannot recommend this title any stronger. In fact, I gave the DVD of it to a couple of family members for Christmas and my wife already enjoyed the DVD's musical commentary (as in the cast members and creative team sing their way through the DVD commentary) multiple times. A link to Dr. Horrible has been conveniently placed at the end of this story if you haven't checked it out yet. You will probably want to see why there's all the fuss over such a strange work of fiction.

Odds are that you have already been made aware of Dr. Horrible, though. It's currently featured in Time Magazine and was recently named by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly both as one of the most interesting products of the year. Dr. Horrible received millions of views on the Internet, became a top seller on iTunes (for $4.99, a licensed copy of all three acts was available), produced a soundtrack (that also became a top 40 seller on iTunes) and is now available for purchase on DVD. It has become one of the strangest cross-industry promotional success stories in recent memory. And none of this would have been possible had there not been a Writer's Strike wherein Joss Whedon could look at Felicia Day and say, "Hey, tell me about this Guild thing of yours."



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