One of the Internet's biggest video sensations has fallen flat on its TV debut.
Back in 2008, the low-budget "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
" offered comic relief during a tense Writers Guild of America strike. Written by Maurissa Tancharoen and brothers Joss, Zack and Jed Whedon, the group had set out to create high-quality entertainment on a shoestring budget for the Web. It went on to take home seven Streamy Awards, a Creative Arts Emmy Award and People's Choice Award -- not bad for a show produced back in the day when the term "Web series" wasn't yet mainstream.
Four years later, the CW took "Dr. Horrible" -- with Neil Patrick Harris playing the namesake protagonist -- to the small screen. "They enjoy it, and they thought they'd put it on, and they knew they could get it for pennies," Jed Whedon said.
The show aired Oct. 9 to (forgive me) horrible ratings: a whopping 556,000 viewers and 0.2 in the adult demo. Ouch.
One suspects if a person had any urge to see Dr. Horrible, they’ve already watched it to their heart’s content (of course, the same could be said for 1965′s A Charlie Brown Christmas, yet that special wins its time slot nearly every year). Viewing likely was driven by hardcore fans celebrating the novelty of getting to watch the show on the old fashion big box, and a few curious lookie-loos who never caught it online.
We can point to "Dr. Horrible" as an example of the disconnect between online video and traditional TV. Though it proved a hit online, it took four and a half years for TV execs to bring it to the living room. By then, the once-fresh sensation had gone stale. The show felt more like an old "Friends" episodes rather than a hotly anticipated TV premiere. Let's hope the sequel (yes there is one planned for the spring, on the original's five-year anniversary) will have more allure.