Wednesday, September 1, 2010

2010 Hugo Nominees - Dramatic Presentations round-up

Short Form

Since its inception in 2003, this category has been pretty thoroughly dominated by Dr. Who and Joss Whedon. That makes sense; those are both things that I like very much. Still, it’d be nice if I could vote for Flashforward, the only nominee not Whedon or Time Lord related. Flashforward’s pilot is a compelling hour of television. It was good enough that it got me to watch an entire season that was often not good at all. Still, so much of what made that pilot good was its promise – its mysteries and possibilities. So, the fact that that promise was unfulfilled is a big strike against the series’ beginning.

We can also throw out the first two Dr. Who specials, which simply weren’t up to the high standards of the new version of the show. That makes this a contest between the post-apocalyptic first season finale of Dollhouse and the third Dr. Who special, “The Waters if Mars.” It’s a really tough choice. “Epitaph One” is the opposite of Flashforward – it takes a show with a deficit of promise and explores what it’s really about while upping the ante dramatically. It’s also a neat little story in itself, with its own mysteries and a great framing device for flashbacks. In the end, I still had to go with "Waters of Mars," which was epic and dark.

  1. “Waters of Mars” Doctor Who
  2. “Epitaph One” Dollhouse
  3. Flashforward
  4. No Award
  5. “The Next Doctor” Doctor Who
  6. “Planet of the Dead” Doctor Who

As for a prediction: you’d think Doctor Who might split the vote, but one of these episodes is so far ahead of the others, that I think "Waters of Mars" should still pull it off.

As for Long Form, I had some problems with Star Trek’s clunky, silly plot and District 9’s confused message and splattering gore. I liked both films, but I have no problem putting them out of the running. Moon keeps growing on me, but it just feels more like a vehicle for Sam Rockwell than a perfect little sf film in its own right. That leaves Up and Avatar. I probably liked Up more as a film, and it elicited emotional responses from me that Avatar didn’t even come close to…but Avatar is such a classic piece of science fiction, warts and all, that I had to give it my vote. It's a very strong year overall though.

  1. Avatar
  2. Up
  3. Moon
  4. District 9
  5. Star Trek

But, as I said before, I think there is a real backlash against Avatar. I think it’s really a race between the indie alternatives of Moon and District 9. I think District 9 will win in the end.

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