The Rise of the Webisode (Or, Why Neil Patrick Harris is Awesome)

I know I'm behind a bit here, but I finally got around to downloading and watching the web musical, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog yesterday and it got me thinking. First of all, I was impressed. This is a web-only production with recognizable actors, original music and direction by Joss Whedon (the brain behind everything Buffy, Firefly, etc). Second, as if I needed any more evidence, Neil Patrick Harris is awesome as the villainous Dr. Horrible. ("Muahaha...ahahaha, so that's you know, coming along").

From my understanding, this show was created during the writer's strike to show, in part, that a big studio isn't necessary to produce top quality work. But what impressed me most is how this little production is sweeping the net. Gone are the days when just "in the know" 'net geeks know about stuff like this. The webisode has gone mainstream.

Of course, vehicles like iTunes help with the promotion of web-only features like Dr. Horrible, but that's not the only reason they are successful. People are craving more than the network stations will give them. They want shows that cable won't touch and are either too irreverent or too evocative to make it to standard TV.

For now, the Internet represents a sort of freedom that broadcast television can't offer. How long it will stay that way is hard to tell, considering ads are infiltrating every single aspect of media online. But until the advertising sources take control of the programming, we can be free to sit back and click through memorable entertainment–whether that's NPH trying to take over the world or a cartoon Lucha Libre that answers e-mails.