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.