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Whedon Launches "Dr. Horrible" Show

Whedon Launches "Dr. Horrible" Show Writer and producer Joss Whedon has a somewhat mixed track record when it comes to TV shows. On the one hand, he was the creative genius behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of the most popular shows of the past decade or so (as well as the spinoff Angel); but at the same time, he was also the creator of Firefly, which -- while popular with hardcore fans -- never really took off and was eventually cancelled despite an online protest (although it did spawn the movie Serenity). Now, Whedon is experimenting with an online comedy-sci/fi-musical called Dr. Horrible, which stars former Doogie Howser lead Neal Patrick Harris as a shy superhero, and Firefly star (and Canadian) Nathan Filion as the doctor's nemesis, Captain Hammer.

The first episode of the series was posted on the Web Tuesday morning, and promptly crashed the site. American viewers could see it through, the streaming video site run by NBC, but anyone outside the U.S. had to either wait for the site to come back up or download the show through iTunes for $3.99 (the show's official Twitter account said the site was having technical difficulties and was working on resolving them, and added "We love you for crashing the site"). A Joss Whedon fan site had several hundred messages about the outage on Tuesday morning.

As described on the Doctor Horrible companion website, the first three episodes will be streamed on the Web on July 15th, July 17th and July 19th -- but will only be viewable until July 20th, at which point fans will have to buy them through iTunes. A special DVD with all of the episodes and extras will also be available at some point, the site says. Whedon created the Web project -- whose full name is Dr. Horrible's SingAlong Blog -- during the Hollywood writers strike, along with his brother Zach and Jed Whedon, and said he financed the six-figure cost from his own pocket, as a way of showing that there are other creative outlets apart from traditional television.

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