Dr. Horrible Teaser

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jul 24, 2008

Filed under: Movies, Nerd Culture 49 comments

Dr. Horrible is gone, and I won’t see him again until DHSAB comes out on DVD, but the teaser trailer is lots of fun:

Teaser from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.

It’s kind of messed up to be looking to the teaser trailer to supplement the offerings of the actual product, since I think it’s supposed to be the other way ’round.

While Dr. Horrible is unmistakably a success from an entertainment standpoint, I’ve been wondering if this project will succeed from a financial one. I lack the knowledge to even do some back-of-the-napkin estimates, but since this is the internet it was a safe guess someone else would. That links to an article discussing some numbers concocted by a guy who Joss Whedon himself said was “not far off”. We have no way of knowing how many iTunes downloads there have been, but the numbers do give us a picture of how many copies they would need to sell to begin to turn a profit, and they seem pretty low. That is to say, I would be very surprised if the show wasn’t making money already.

Now if they would just hurry up with the DVD.


From The Archives:

49 thoughts on “Dr. Horrible Teaser

  1. You can get all three episodes on iTunes, which I promptly did. It’s only $4 for the “season pass”.

  2. yd says:

    He got my iTunes contribution, despite my general dislike of the software and DRM.

  3. Browncoat says:

    Yes, yes. Let’s get the DVD.

    I have the ITunes download. Now I just have to figure how to convert it to .mpg’s. :shrug:

    But I’m waiting for the soundtrack!!!!! The only way to get these songs out of my head, where they keep me up at night, is to get them onto my iPod, and play them forever!

  4. wintermute says:

    I have the first two episodes downloaded from YouTube, but I don’t want to watch them until I can get hold of the final part.

    Either way, I’m almost certain I’ll buy the DVD when it comes out, though.

  5. Darazel says:

    Hello fellow … internet…people… ,

    as a sort-of-longer-time-reader I finally get to leave a comment now, just to report that DHSAB just made it into german news sites today.


    ‘Der Spiegel’ is a rather large german news magazine. So I guess, Joss Whedon suceeded in his attempt to get a huge (international?) audience for his project. Hopefully (for him), he will also be able to convert this publicity into some money. Personally, I’d like to see his creativity and his courage to show his work so freely rewarded.

    And by they way: You have a really great site here Shamus, and I enjoy reading every single post in your blog. Keep going!

    Greetings from germany and please excuse my rather not-so-perfect english.

    – Darazel

  6. Jimmie says:

    Heh. Instead of just letting your eyes glaze over the green screen “ratings” blurb at the very beginning of the trailer, give it a read.

    I hadn’t noticed that until just now.

  7. Rason says:

    Did the announcer guy sound like G-Man to anyone else? Also, I have bought the Itune’s already, most used 4 bucks I have spent since I was a child. All my close friends are big fans of DH now. So far ITune’s has been a perfectly working piece of code for me, so no complaints against it here. I downloaded it solely for Doctor Horrible.

  8. JFargo says:

    That’s an awesome “teaser.”

    And Jimmie, thanks for the heads-up. Very amusing.

  9. Illiterate says:

    Damn, didn’t think of youtube.
    I couldn’t watch the show when it was on and torrent’d it… don’t want iTunes on any of my machines.

    I plan on obtaining some Dr Horrible merch with my next paycheck, and will definitely get the DVD.

  10. Nazgul says:

    A friend of mine missed the show when it was free but bought it on iTunes, and said it was the best four bucks he’s ever spent. :)

  11. Strangeite says:

    They have my $3.99 and they are installed on my iPhone. I also will get the DVD when it comes out.

  12. Avaz says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if they could somehow turn this into a series? Doubt it’d happen, though. For shame.

    Edit: Thanks Derek K for the link. It’s not quite a tv show series, but it certainly brightens up my day! :D

  13. I was lucky enough to catch all three acts for free. I also bought it on iTunes (supports them) and they do have great rewatching Value.

    Looking forward to the DVDs.

  14. J Greely says:

    According to the comments on the fan site, an online welding-supply company has been inundated with orders for Dr. Horrible’s goggles, gloves, and boots. The goggles and gloves are now their best-selling items, and they’re putting together a package deal.

    People have also tracked down the model of motorcycle gauntlets that Captain Hammer wears. Expect to see a lot of cosplayers over the next year.


  15. qrter says:

    Heh. Instead of just letting your eyes glaze over the green screen “ratings” blurb at the very beginning of the trailer, give it a read.

    I hadn't noticed that until just now.

    Ha! I hadn’t noticed til I just read your post! Great. :)

  16. happyturtle says:

    Apparently they don’t want my money because I live in the UK. :(

  17. Davesnot says:

    It’s funny how this blog rants against pirates.. then discusses openly stealing the Dr Horrible content… lol.. great show, though.

  18. Dev Null says:

    Another interesting attempt at media direct to the web was Sanctuary For All – which did some of the same tapping into a built-in fanbase as a form of initial advertising (in this case hooking into the Stargate fans by casting Amanda Tapping in the lead, though the story itself has nothing to do with Stargate.) I thought they were pretty good, but it sounds like their digital distribution didn’t work out for them long-term, though it did net them a 13-episode season on SciFi this year apparently. (The original website was http://www.sanctuaryforall.com, but it seems to have been replaced by a social networking site for sanctuary fans, with very little actual information about the show… The production company is Stage 3 Media.)

  19. Kevin says:

    I’m sure if I knew why I wasn’t supposed to like iTunes I wouldn’t either, but since I missed that rant I still enjoy it quite a bit.

    The wife and I bought Dr. Horrible immediately when the free version went down, and fully expect to purchase the DVD when that becomes available. We’d do it for the extras, (I’d do it just for the commentary) but we also feel like we’d like to support this type of project moving forward. I’d love to see the Joss Whedons and J.M.S.s of the world, not to mention all the others who have yet to come forward, have a profitable avenue for producing material for me to watch.

  20. Jeff says:

    I want to buy the DVD so I can start distributing it to friends and random strangers…

  21. Blackbird71 says:

    I wish I’d had the chance to check this out while it was available free. I’m considering getting the DVD when it becomes available, as I’m a fan of both NF and NPH, but I need a little more info before investing, so maybe some of those who have seen it can help me out.

    Particualrly, I’m just a little concerned by some things that have been alluded to in other posts. Is this something you would call “family-friendly?” If not, how offensive is it? Are we talking language, mild innuendo, full sexual content, blood guts and gore, or what? I’d appreciate some feedback from those in the know. Thanks!

  22. Derek K says:

    There is one mention of the word “Penis” and one shot of someone that’s dying from an impalement. It’s not graphic by any means, but there is simulated blood.

    Note that the word Penis is used in a hilarious context, so it’s kind of okay. ;)

    I would have no problem letting someone 10 or over watch it.

    @davesnot: I figured I’d spare this thread the piracy fights. ;) I also figure if you can’t/won’t come up with $4 for the show, any discussions will be moot.

  23. Nathaniel says:

    @Blackbird: It’s probably PG13. Having sex is talked about, the word “penis” is used, and there’s a little blood when someone dies. That’s about it.

  24. TehShrike says:

    Some sexual innuendo (use of the word “penis” and reference to “sleeping with the same girl twice”).

  25. Clint says:

    @Blackbird71: Dr. Horrible contains mild innuendo, along with two language instances (“I totally had sex with her” and an explicit reference to the male anatomy). Other than that, it’s pretty clean. No actual violence to speak of, other than cartoonish fistfights and one theatrical death scene.

  26. Sauron says:


    I’d say it’s something my parents would have let me watch in my early teens (though, they were pretty lenient with me on the grounds of making sure I understood fantasy/reality disconnect well enough and a lot of other good parenting things). I’d say low-to-mild language (one instance of “balls”, one instance of “ass”, one instance of “penis”, and I can’t think of anything else), low-to-mild sexual speech (nothing in act 1, a couple minutes of “night of her life” and “giving it up” and the mention of penis in act 2, and a few lines explicitly mentioning sex in act 3), and mild violence, a small amount of blood, but no guts or gore.

  27. J Greely says:

    Working from memory (iTunes version watched half a dozen times) while avoiding spoilers.

    Language: one use each of “balls” (interjection), “penis” (referring to the speaker’s), and “friggin’ ‘tard” (in a song).

    Innuendo: the penis line, one line in Bad Horse, one line in So They Say, and one line in Everyone’s A Hero.

    Violence: threats, punching, warning shots, one bloody injury with no gore.


  28. Taellosse says:

    @ Kevin: The reason is the same why there is hatred of any software around here, of course: DRM. Shamus disapproves of the way that iTunes restricts usage to a limited number of authorized computers. He probably also has issues with the fact that most of the material on iTunes cannot be used with any hardware except that made by Apple, and only Apple’s own software when used on a PC.

    Personally, I don’t disagree with him in principle, but I’m not as good at standing on principle as Shamus is–I’ve got a bunch of iTunes-downloaded music, and if I weren’t waiting for the DVD, I’d have the iTunes versions of DHSAB. I might have an easier time refusing to use iTunes on principle if the software didn’t work quite well, I didn’t have 2 iPods and a Mac, and don’t own more than 5 computers to place my purchases on anyway (and generally avoid putting them on more than one to avoid having to manage multiple sets of data on a massive scale, anyway).

  29. The Lone Duck says:

    I enjoyed it, but I’m not exactly rolling in the dough. When I do purchase Dr. Horrible etc., I would like to do so on DVD or something similar so I can watch it on a TV. Until then, I’ll wait. By commenting about it here, and elsewhere, I’m showing my support.

  30. Doug Brown says:

    I’m only interested in getting this if someone can confirm for me that someone keeps moving his chair.

  31. GeorgeR says:

    I won’t pick it up off iTunes, I just can’t bring myself to do it.

    But I will buy the DVD the second it comes out.

  32. NobleBear says:

    While I love iTunes for sorting my music and podcasts, I positively despise their DRM.

    All that means is I’ll be waiting to support Joss with the purchase of the DVD and OST (things I can own legitimately and enjoy on any TV or computer in my home). I can’t wait.

    That’s the plan
    Rule the world
    You and me
    Any day…

  33. Frogbeard says:

    Ok, I can top everyone else for weirdness:

    I bought it unseen on iTunes, and am waiting to watch it until I buy an iPod Touch, which won’t be until the next round of price breaks. (I’ll pay $300 for 16gb of touch-screen wifi goodness, but not a penny more!)

  34. Griffin says:

    @Doug Brown: Nice! Here I was thinking I was the only one who thought of that line every time I thought of the show.

  35. Elise says:

    I’d buy it on iTunes if they’d sell it to me. Grump.

    Hopefully they’ll put out a region 4 DVD

  36. J Greely says:

    What would be really cool is if they released a region-free DVD. If you’re already working outside the system, why not?


  37. Shamus says:

    J Greely asks a question so obvious that I’m humiliated I didn’t think of it. Why region-lock this thing at all? Ever?

    Joss said he doesn’t want people to get all pirate-y, which I understand, but somehow they can’t manage to sell the thing to people (see above comments) in various countries and I can’t help but wonder why.

    The whole region-encoding thing is an aggravating mess anyway, but perpetuating it in an all-digital realm is just crazy.

  38. Fieari says:

    I’d like to comment that I too will be purchasing the DVD, and not using iTunes. It’s not just the DRM for me though (DRM is still an issue, just not the biggest one). The deal iTunes has with the recording companies means that most artists get paid next to nothing for tracks sold on iTunes, while the publishers get almost everything. I know Joss and company are getting paid in this specific case, but I can’t in good conscience support a company that would do this to any artist at all.

    Some Sources: http://torrentfreak.com/kid-rock-dont-just-steal-music-steal-everything-080618/

  39. A Gould says:

    Re: the “rating” of the show.

    Others have already listed out the offensive material, but as a father myself, I’d put it to you this way – there’s nothing graphic, and the jokes/language are of the sort that if your child doesn’t know about the subject, it’ll go right over his head (the line from Bad Horse comes to mind). If they do get the joke, they’re already corrupted far beyond what the show can do. :)

  40. Nicholas says:

    Soundtrack and DVD and someway of getting them outside of north america is eagerly awaited by me

  41. Frank says:

    Just thought I’d mention that the Sanctuary for All episodes can be picked up free in SD resolution at Vuze, or bought in HD for a small fee. There is also a free trailer and some interviews.

  42. DaveMc says:

    Frank (comment 42): Thanks for the pointer to Sanctuary for All, that does look interesting. I’m excited to see these efforts to do direct-to-Internet productions like Dr. Horrible and, apparently, Sanctuary. If this stuff had been in full swing a few years back, Firefly might be alive today.

    But a question about Vuze, which turns out to be a newly slicked-up and renamed version of Azureus, a BitTorrent client: Do you have any sense of how “legit” this whole thing is? It’s all very nicely presented and professional-looking, and clearly many (most? all?) of the files are being deliberately distributed by their creators, but is it possible that I could click on the wrong link and end up downloading shows that the creators don’t want downloaded? There doesn’t seem to be any way to tell.

    (God help me, I don’t want to reignite the IP/piracy debate in yet another thread, but let me confess that although I’ve never downloaded a game without paying, in my youth I did download the odd movie or music file, so I too am a reformed pirate — there’s no zealot like a convert, as other commenters have noted. All this yammering has fully solidified my conviction that I don’t want to be party to that sort of thing, even by accident, so I’m a little worried about what’s happening behind the scenes in Vuze.)

    If Vuze really is offering content with the full knowledge of the creators, it seems like a pretty exciting development, to me: it’s offering people a way to make BitTorrent into an asset, distributing their stuff widely (and with no bandwidth costs to them), and offering the downloaders the option to buy higher-res versions of things if they want to. This seems like a smart way to go: it’s like they’re distributing “demo” versions of all kinds of video content, and then people can choose if they want to pay for the full (higher res) version.

  43. Doug Brown says:


    I’m surprised our host hasn’t slipped in some throwaway joke about the ugliness man, considering his known interest in the artists in question.

  44. Derek K says:

    On the subject of children, there’s also some cartoon violence that I’d forgotten about – basically Dr. Horrible getting beaten up by Captain Hammer outrageously – no blood, no gore, but the sort of “I’m gonna punch you 50 times” sort of things you see in cartoons.

  45. Betagold says:

    I don’t want to pick up the Itunes download, but rest assured, I will pick up the DVD and Soundtrack. I just don’t like Itunes.

  46. kamagurka says:

    iTunes can go die in a ditch. Not even my love for Whedon and Fillon will change my mind about that.

  47. Grant says:

    Just a note… it’s up on Hulu for free. Now.

  48. I hope they hurry up with the DVD so I can redeem myself and feel like a good person… I had to torrent it because I’m not touching iTunes with an eleven foot pole.

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