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More Hugo Thoughts

Continuing the conversation I began in my Not A Post of November 2...

Last time I talked about some possible nominees for Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. This time I want to focus on Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. In other words, best television episode. (No, not officially, but that's what it usually comes down to, and let's ignore the silliness of nominating an Easter Egg or an acceptance speech from the previous year's Hugos).

I was no fan of the efforts of Puppies to game the Hugo Awards last year. I don't think I have been shy in my opinions on that subject. But I will give the Puppies this much -- their efforts did break the decade-long hold that Dr. Who fandom had on the nominations in this category. I have no problem with episodes of DR. WHO being nominated, and indeed winning, mind you... and the Doctor has won plenty of times in this category over the past decade... but when four of the six finalists are from the same category, that strikes me as way unbalanced and, well, greedy. The Doctor's fans love their show, I know, but there is a LOT of great SF and fantasy on the tube right now. Nominate DR. WHO, by all means... but leave some room for someone else, please.

(And yes, I would feel the same way if it was four episodes of GAME OF THRONES being nominated every year, rather than four episodes of DR. WHO).

Last year, for the first time in recent memory, we actually had five different series represented on the final ballot. In addition to GAME OF THRONES and DR. WHO, the two shows that had dominated the previous three years, we also had ORPHAN BLACK (the eventual winner), plus episodes of THE FLASH and GRIMM. The Puppies had something to do with that, I can't deny that. Nonetheless, I do think it was a healthy development. I hope we have five different series represented this year as well... though maybe not the same five.

There's a lot to choose from, actually. Yes, DR. WHO. No way to keep the Doctor off the ballot. Yes, GAME OF THRONES. I am only human, so I do hope we contend again... I'd favor "Hardhome" myself, but "Mother's Mercy," with Cersei's walk of shame, could be a strong choice as well. ORPHAN BLACK is the defending champion, and should get another nod as well.

THE FLASH? Maybe. But there's also ARROW and GOTHAM and AGENTS OF SHIELD for the comic book fans out there (I count myself as one of those), and now SUPERGIRL as well.

GRIMM was nominated last year, and is still going strong. And there's ONCE UPON A TIME as well. That one has never gotten a nod.

However, looking beyond previous nominees, there are lots of shows out there that might be due for a bit of Hugo love. Start with the zombie triad: the very grim WALKING DEAD, the very tongue-in-cheek Z NATION, plus I, ZOMBIE. The undead are well represented.

And for horror fans, there's also AMERICAN HORROR STORY. A perennial Emmy contender, yet it never seems to get any notice at Hugo time.

I love scary stories myself, count myself a fan of Lovecraft and Poe and Stephen King, so I've sampled and enjoyed most of these shows. The one I like better than any of them, though? PENNY DREADFUL. That's the one I'll be including on my own Hugo ballot.

I am tempted to mention THE LAST KINGDOM as well... but as much as I love it, it really isn't eligible. A terrific show, one you should all be watching, but it's straight historical fiction, with no fantasy elements.

However, I will mention another show that might otherwise be overlooked: OUTLANDER. Yes, it is a historical. Yes, it is a romance. But it is also a science fiction show. TIME TRAVEL, remember? Plus, it's just flat out terrific. Great production values, first rate writing and directing, and some amazing acting... all three of the leads gave performances worthy of Emmy nods this past year, though the Academy overlooked them. I hope that fandom doesn't make the same mistake.

Let's spread the love. Lots of people are doing good work in television right now, and deserve some recognition. Five nominations, five different series, that's my hope. When the time comes to make your nominations, look beyond the usual suspects.


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Nov. 12th, 2015 08:11 pm (UTC)
I really enjoy American Horror Story and Outlander, so fingers crossed... Unfortunately the new seasons of AHS have split the fandom quite a bit
Jordan Feigerle
Nov. 12th, 2015 08:12 pm (UTC)
Don't forget Daredevil in the comic book category. Netflix did a great job with the first season.
Nov. 13th, 2015 12:41 am (UTC)
Re: Daredevil
Haven't seen DAREDEVIL myself, but I do hear it was good.
Re: Daredevil - Frank Probst - Nov. 14th, 2015 02:25 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Daredevil - mneme - Nov. 15th, 2015 03:40 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 12th, 2015 08:13 pm (UTC)
Gotta agree
Penny Dreadful is a lot of fun. I was not entirely sure what to expect at first, as I have watched other terrible mish-mashes of stories centering around characters from different books and authors showing up. But they are not heavy handed about it and Eva Green is a fantastic actress. Seeing Timothy Dalton at 72 years old running around doing an action series is also great fun.

Outlander has phenomenal production values, a great story, and really fleshed out characters. Ron Moore hit this one out of the park with the production altogether.
Nov. 13th, 2015 03:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Gotta agree
Eva Green is becoming one of my favorite actors. I love Penny Dreadful. It's basically doing League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (African Explorer, Scientist, etc...) but in a much better version than that horrendous movie.
Nov. 12th, 2015 08:17 pm (UTC)
I didn't get a chance to say...
My Raiders finally beat your Jets! Yay for all those times you kicked us when we were down and beaten by your mean, green, fighting machine!

And, now, of course, you're ahead of us in the wild card race.

Nov. 12th, 2015 08:19 pm (UTC)
H.P. Lovecraft
Hey George, what do you think about the World Fantasy award trophy not being modelled after H.P. Lovecraft anymore?
Nov. 12th, 2015 08:19 pm (UTC)
How about...
I think THE LEFTOVERS should qualify. Though it is about a perceived religious event, they've also introduced these scientific theories about whatever happened to the 2%. I really feel like Lindelof has been influenced by his love for GAME OF THRONES (and your books, since he was a fan long before ASOIAF) since season 2 is thick with these notions of perception determining reality.
Nov. 12th, 2015 08:37 pm (UTC)
And honestly as big a fan as I am of Doctor Who, I'm not convinced it's deserved to be nominated for several years now. It would truly be nice to see some new names up there.

Da Vinci's Demons deserves recognition. (A far better Doctor Who show than Doctor Who of late.)

And yes, season 2 of Penny Dreadful was absolutely delightful.
Jesse Wilson
Nov. 12th, 2015 08:42 pm (UTC)
Outlander was amazing and those last two episodes put it in my list for most compelling television to watch. I haven't been affected by a show like that in a long time but those scenes in the dungeon just pull you in and wont let you look away even though all you want is for it to end.

Any show that can connect on such an emotional level with its audience shows masterful work by the cast and crew from the actors, producers, and director to the set designers and makeup artists and it deserves all the recognition that it gets.
Nov. 12th, 2015 08:46 pm (UTC)
The Venture Brothers has a special eligible ("All This and Gargantua-2", aired January 2015). Despite being one of the most brilliantly-written series on television, and unquestionably SFF, The Venture Brothers has never even been nominated for a Hugo.

Individual episodes of Welcome to Night Vale (season 2) are also eligible, as let's not forget that this category is not limited to television shows.

Edited at 2015-11-12 08:48 pm (UTC)
Nov. 12th, 2015 08:52 pm (UTC)
Jessica Jones looks like it's going to be good, too, and could be worth a nod. Not to mention Daredevil - you seem to be favouring DC!
Ken Marable
Nov. 12th, 2015 09:01 pm (UTC)
Welcome to Night Vale
Personally, I am really hoping the dominance of TV is broken and Welcome to Night Vale gets a nomination. It is a spectacular podcast, and my biggest problem is trying to decide which episode is strongest. Their "Investigators" live show I attended is what I want to nominate, but unless a recording is released, I certainly don't see a live show doing very well. ("Sorry you missed it, but trust me, you should totally vote for it!") Besides it would probably be Long Form instead, anyway. ;)

Also, as yet another plug, I'm still encouraging any and everyone to participate in the Hugo Recommendation Season (https://hugorecommend.wordpress.com/). We will be posting about Best Fan Writer this week and Best Professional Artist next week! I'm hoping people will be interested in talking about some of the quieter categories other than Best Novel, Best Dramatic Presentation (LF & SF), etc. that normally dominate the attention. We would love to hear George's and anyone else's opinions on all of these categories as well!
Nov. 12th, 2015 09:06 pm (UTC)
i'd like my current favourites "The Librarians", "Continuum", "Haven" & "Sleepy Hollow"to get a nod.
Nov. 12th, 2015 09:07 pm (UTC)
Partial to Agent Carter and Sense8, as far as this year's TV offerings.
Ken Marable
Nov. 13th, 2015 01:12 am (UTC)
Yes, Sense8 - definitely! As an individual episode, I'm partial to "What is Human?" as the most striking individual episode - plus it stands well on it's own. the final two episodes - which are also strong - are really strongest as part of the whole story. In fact, I plan on nominating the entire season for Long Form as well since it works very well as single long story much more than many other series.

(Still gotta finish watching Agent Carter - geez, I'm behind.)
Red Zen
Nov. 12th, 2015 09:21 pm (UTC)
Georhaerys the Conciliator!
Countdown until the two Hugo camps start intermarrying.
Nov. 12th, 2015 09:23 pm (UTC)
Short From
Second the nomination suggestion for Penny Dreadful. Second season even better than first - and Eva Green. Nuff Said. (Despite love from Emmy not my favorite season of Horror Story - remember Hugo is a year behind).

Would like to nominate Bastard Executioner but like Last Kingdom not enough fantasy to qualify (though a bit more than Kingdom). Has some over the top moments (as does GOT at times - call it cable shock) but good story, costumes and great female lead (plus Welsh rebels).

Orphan Black, Arrow, Flash - lots of Good Stuff (and Who too). Hardhomme for sure. Outlander already has my wife's vote.

Odd that most of these shows have already passed through Emmy's embrace (Mother not Hardhomme got nomination). Hugos are very late in the award season. Something about being hung up on Labor Day...but I digress.

Embarresment of riches for fantasy/SiFi/historical fiction.

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