I have read all of the novel finalists and I’ve watched all the Best Dramatic Presentation finalists. I’m waiting for the Hugo Packet to complete some other categories but in the meantime, I need to start somewhere.
The finalists are:
Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form
- Black Mirror: “USS Callister,” written by William Bridges and Charlie Brooker, directed by Toby Haynes (House of Tomorrow)
- “The Deep” [song], by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes)
- Doctor Who: “Twice Upon a Time,” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Cymru Wales)
- The Good Place: “Michael’s Gambit,” written and directed by Michael Schur (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television)
- The Good Place: “The Trolley Problem,” written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan, directed by Dean Holland (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television)
- Star Trek: Discovery: “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad,” written by Aron Eli Coleite & Jesse Alexander, directed by David M. Barrett (CBS Television Studios)
And overall, it’s a bit lacklustre. The clear favourite is Black Mirror’s Star Trek riff USS Callister but I had issues with it. Doctor Who traditionally gets a slot here but I found that episode overly sentimental. One of my least favourite episodes of Star Trek: Discovery got nominated. There’s just not enough of Clipping’s The Deep and two episodes of The Good Place just seems odd.
Oddly, The Good Place is my favourite show on that list and the only one I haven’t reviewed. Here is my first cut at a personal ranking:
- The Good Place: I would have prefered Dance, Dance Resolution (Season 2 Episode 2) but these are two good episodes. Michael’s Gambit (Final episode of season 1) is hard to discuss without a huge spoiler as its key story point is a revelation that reshapes the series. That revelation was a masterful piece of writing that was set up from the first episode and was always apparent but disguised as casual plot holes in the story. The Trolley Problem is the most overtly philosophical of the episodes – playing on Phillipa Foote’s famous thought experiment as a way of placing characters not just in moral dilemma’s but also creating great comedy.
- Doctor Who. A bit gimmicky and overly sentimental. There have been stronger Christmas Episodes but it was nice to farewell Peter Capaldi and also greet Jodie Whittaker (if briefly) as the new Doctor.
- Black Mirror. The longer I think on it the more I dislike this episode. Yes, it was very, very well done but it rests on a cliche of equating social incompetence with dangerous.
- Star Trek: Discovery. Everybody loves a time loop but this episode was undermined by its ending which was ethically bad and by plot holes. Episode 3 was better and some of the mirror universe episodes, while lacking a strong Star Trek aesthetic, made for great over-the-top space opera.
- Clipping. Really not enough substance there to rate this highly. I’m putting it above No Award but only just. Fine for what it is but in the end as a dramatic presentation there just isn’t enough there.
Next time: BDP-Long!