The other day, I rewatched one of my favorite videos from way back when: "Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog." If you've never seen it, you definitely have to! It's funny, charming, and tragic, and it does so much right! It's only 44 minutes long, which is the same length as most TV episodes nowadays. Check it out!
All right. Once you're back, let's talk storyform. (Spoilers, obviously.)
Main Character Resolve: Steadfast
Dr. Horrible ultimately retains his central desire to join the Evil League of Evil. Despite several moments of weakness where he could have given up and gotten out of the game, he rejects the potential for change and does what he must. "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do."
Main Character Growth: Start
Dr. Horrible is waiting for the world to start taking him seriously. At the beginning of the story, he is no more than a quirky blogger on the Internet with delusions of grandeur. But with each increasing crime he pulls off, the world begins to see him as a real threat. Only once he's become one of the greats can he join the Evil League of Evil.
Main Character Approach: Be-er
Dr. Horrible is an internal character. His central focus is always his attitude; when his plans go awry, he tries to get ahold of himself and become more stolid in his actions. He constantly needs to psyche himself up to do his dirty deeds: this is perhaps no clearer than when he is pointing his death ray at Captain Hammer, his arms shaking with self-doubt. "It's gonna be bloody/head up, Billy buddy/there's no time for mercy." His approach is to overcome his doubt and complete the task at hand.
Main Character Problem-Solving Style: Linear
Dr. Horrible is a linear thinker. He sees the accomplishment of his goals as the simple completion of a series of tasks: steal the Wonderflonium, activate the freeze ray, kill Captain Hammer. He is blind to the subtle emotional bond he has developed with Penny; if he realized what his actions would mean to her earlier in the story, he might not have been willing to go through with it.
Overall Story Driver: Decisions
Each of the major act turns is predicated upon a decision. Bad Horse decides to accept Dr. Horrible's application; Dr. Horrible decides to avoid Penny and focus on the heist; he decides to target Captain Hammer for his final murder. Each of these decisions leads to actions by others. His final decision is to accept the narrative he has created: that killing Penny and crippling Captain Hammer was all part of the plan.
Overall Story Limit: Optionlock
Dr. Horrible must conform to the will of Bad Horse. When he fails his first attempt to gain glory, Bad Horse narrows his options to the more distasteful level of murder. Dr. Horrible sees no good options here, until Captain Hammer swaggers into the laundromat and provokes him, giving him the option he needs.
Overall Story Outcome: Success
Dr. Horrible kills Penny and puts Captain Hammer out of commission, thereby performing the murder demanded of him by Bad Horse. His last trace of humanity wiped out, he quickly rises in the ranks of villaindom and joins the Evil League of Evil.
Overall Story Judgment: Bad
Dr. Horrible may have gained the whole world, but he only did so at the cost of his soul. He inadvertently put the woman he loved in the line of fire, leading to her untimely demise. Worse, she rejects his true self, saying, "It's okay; Captain Hammer will save us." Despite earning everything he wanted, Dr. Horrible ends the movie singing in a minor key and staring dead-eyed into the camera. In the end... was it all worth it?
Thoughts so far? I'm stumbling a bit on the Throughlines. I'd probably put the MC Throughline in Being, so the OS would be in Progress, the IC (Penny) in Doing, and the RS in Preconscious. From there, though, I struggle to get something I like. I think in my last draft, I had the OS Issue and Problem as Fact and Unproven.