Watch the trailer for the fan-made Horrible Turn, an awesome-looking, yet unauthorized musical prequel of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
This looks fantastic. A full one-hour musical will debut tomorrow, Nov. 10, 2009 on HorribleTurn.com. The acting and production quality is very impressive for a fan-made project. I will definitely be watching and enjoying this as soon it debuts.
That said, I must say this project makes me uncomfortable. Let me explain, because I’m a huge supporter of fan films. I love all the fan-made Star Wars videos, the upcoming fan film Browncoats: Redemption, inspired by Firefly, and I hate it when studios go after the fans for essentially providing free advertising.
Horrible Turn seems different to me for several reasons. For one, it looks fairly high quality, very similar to the original Dr. Horrible musical. The artwork and theme music is spot on, and really looks like an official Dr. Horrible production.
My main concern, however, is the timing. We’re not talking about a 30-year-old Star Wars franchise, or the 7 years since Firefly debuted.
Dr. Horrible is still a baby franchise. It’s only just begun, and creator Joss Whedon is still deciding where to take us with this story. Everything is new terrority, and the origin of these characters is a major factor in the overall story.
I think it kind of sucks that before Joss Whedon even has time to tell his story, some talented fans decide to tell it for him.
I can only imagine the frustration of trying to write Chapter 2 of my successful new series, only to discover that a group of fans already did. I think I’d feel a little disrespected.
Of course, I think the Horrible Turn fans are trying to show their love, not disrespect. And in a recent TV Guide interview, Joss Whedon went on record about this fan effort.
TV Guide: “So do you love or loathe the fan video faux sequel to Dr. Horrible, Horrible Turn? Have you seen it?”
Joss Whedon: “As long as they’re not charging for it, I think it’s adorable. As long as it doesn’t become copyright infringement, I think it’s itsy kitschy glitzy.”
Clearly, Joss Whedon has decided to take the high road. He’s well aware of the hypocritical situation that studios put themselves in, using social media and fan support to market their product, while slapping copyright infringement notices on the talented fans who are, quite simply, too good at it.
When all is said and done – I look foward to this fan musical with mixed emotions. On one hand, I love Dr. Horrible’s musical world and I can’t wait to see this. On the other hand, I think a quality fan film about the origin of Dr. Horrible is extremely audacious, too soon for a baby franchise, and ultimately disrespectful to Joss Whedon & Co.’s intellectual property. These fans have clearly decided that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission, as the saying goes.
If Joss Whedon changes his mind and decides the high road is too costly, I will totally understand if he slaps this group with a copyright infringement notice. I hope it doesn’t come to that.
Mainly, I just want the real Dr. Horrible story to remain unblemished, so the creators can tell the story they envision without them doing something, or not doing it – because the fans already did.