I've seen act 2 now. Loved it. Can't wait for act 3.
Yesterday I attempted to show episode 1 to several people, and the result is decidedly mixed reactions. I thought it was fantastic, and so did many other fellow Whedon fans; but I heard a lot of negative reactions too. These range from "I don't get it" to "Does this get better soon?" to "Huh, it's weird. Maybe I'll watch it later."
This is obviously not to everyone's taste, which leaves me trying to sort out the question of whose taste it is for. Mine, obviously; I thought it was brilliant. Then I remembered: I love melodrama. That's what this show is, of course. It's a mid-budget, named-actor, melodrama.
My family and I used to go to a melodrama performance every year in Colorado, where there was a dedicated troupe there that kept putting on new productions. They pulled out all the stops. There were heroes with cleft chins, villains with handlebar mustaches, a piano player to set the mood... and then in some performances, you were allowed to throw popcorn, as well as being encouraged to cheer and boo at the appropriate times.
That's why I love this bizarre little movie, because it's a melodrama in reverse. The hero is the villain, the villain is the hero. And while Neil Patrick Harris is, of course, hilarious, Nathan Fillion has totally stolen the show. Because while ostensibly he plays "the good guy," anyone can see that he's a total bastard. In his smirky poses, you can almost see him twirling his mustache. The villain is the best part of ANY show, and Nathan is just damn good in this role.
Addendum: My alert coworker Newell points out that Dr. Horrible wears white, while Captain Hammer wears black. Classic melodramatic color coding.
My fondest hope for the finale is that the sweet, innocent girl will appear in very last scene dressed as a villainess. Perhaps in white leather.