Tag Archives: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Stop Fan-Casting Neil Patrick Harris

A long, long time ago, back before it was announced that Bane would be the “big bad” in this summer’s The Dark Knight Rises, Bat-Fans everywhere were talking villains. Who would square off against the Caped Crusader next, and who would play him or her?

The most popular pick was The Riddler, as he was deemed the one most suited to Nolan’s gritty, realistic world. It didn’t take long after that for people to settle on the actor most qualified to take on the role: Neil Patrick Harris.

This was popular enough to warrant at least two separate Facebook petitions, fan-made posters [see above], and even a fake movie trailer. A month before the actual film hit theatres everywhere the people at ScreenCrush decided to announce that they too thought that NPH looks like the Riddler.  He was even the picked for the role in a post on this blog that I did not write; just a reminder that my fellow writers and I will (and do) not always agree.

Even more recently, I read a post on reddit titled “My personal pick for the flash.” The accompanying image was a photo of Neil Patrick Harris. I disagreed, and, before you fly into some/any sort of rage, let me defend myself.

I love How I Met Your Mother. That being said, I really, really enjoy the character of Barney and the nonstop energy and enthusiasm the actor brings to the role. It’s how most people know the guy, and I can see why most people are struck with how, well, awesome he is. But after I saw the aforementioned post on reddit and composed a reasonably put response, I knew what I had to do:

To start with, let me list the last few movies in NPH’s filmography, in descending order:

  • American Reunion [2012]
  • The Muppets [2011]
  • A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas [2011]
  • The Smurfs [2011]
  • Beastly [2011]

Comedies and children’s films. To be fair, Beastly appeals to more of a younger, Twilight-loving crowd, and it’s also where Harris plays his most serious role: a blind, wacky, wisecracking tutor.

That’s not to say that he can’t pull off emotional depth. HIMYM‘s Barney doesn’t go through every relationship like it’s nothing, and more than a few times has to face the fact that maybe he does want love, or at least stability. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which you should all watch if you haven’t, is a really enjoyable musical about a supervillain, but also has some deeply heart-wrenching moments.

In spite of all that, I just don’t think Neil Patrick Harris has what it takes to take on the role of a member of Batman’s rogues gallery, or don the cowl of the Fastest Man Alive. Just because he voiced Nightwing in the very well-done animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood doesn’t make him qualified to do anything similar live-action. The headlining role in an independently done musical is not the same as a film in a huge franchise.

If his HIMYM co-star Cobie Smulders’ performance as Maria Hill in The Avengers is any indication, he won’t do a terrible job, he just won’t do great. Neil Patrick Harris is an immensely talented actor, singer, and dancer, but I don’t believe he’s not the next big thing in comic book movies. Feel free to disagree.

This S.H.I.E.L.D. Needs a Little Colour

In the wake of The Avengers‘ 1.5 billion dollar success it was inevitable that Disney/Marvel would be creating a sequel. They also decided to broaden both the universe and the franchise by green-lighting a TV series based on the organization in the comics, titularly named S.H.I.E.L.D.

It marks Joss Whedon’s return to television, as he will be both directing and producing the pilot. Acting as directors and producers, however, are his brother Jed Whedon and his sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen. The three formerly worked together on the online cult classic Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which actually leads me to the point of this post.

The DVD and Blu-Ray versions of Dr. Horrible a commentary track titled Commentary! The Musical, which consists of entirely new songs performed by the cast and crew. Track 10 was written and performed by Tancharoen, and I’ve embedded it here:

While obviously very tongue-in-cheek, as an Asian-American in the entertainment industry she’s more than a little aware of the imbalance in roles for racial minorities. Having her and Jed Whedon take off as showrunners if the pilot is a hit, this is a huge opportunity for a show other than Hawaii Five-0 to feature a good number of Asians in their main cast.

The perfect opportunity for this takes the form of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent James “Jimmy” Woo. Originally starting out with the FBI, he created and led the first ever super-hero team to exist with a government mandate. Although he later left to join the Agents of Atlas, Woo was a high-ranking member of S.H.I.E.L.D. and definitely a possible addition to the upcoming series.

In general, it’s exciting to have the comics come to the small screen as a live-action show. Cartoons like The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the classic Batman: The Animated Series have proven very popular, but were directed at a younger audience. In recent years  The Walking Dead is the only program based on comics that has received any amount of positive attention.

Disney/Marvel have a chance, as they often do, to bring diversity through a form of media, this time television. With Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen at the helm, here’s hoping that we might even see our first ABC series headlining an Asian actor that is also a spinoff of a major motion picture based on a comic book.