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When the Hugo nominations were announced on Saturday night, I was not terribly surprised that I had already seen the majority of the shortlist in the Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) category. I was slightly surprised that I had seen four out of the five, and that I had never heard of the fifth, Remedial Chaos Theory, an episode of the American sitcom Community in which a group of friends meeting for dinner must choose who goes downstairs to pick up the pizzas, and we then follow seven different timelines over the next twenty minutes as each of the seven gets their alternate-history turn, with hilarious consequences, for certain values of hilarious.

I suppose it just about qualifies as Hugo-eligible, but only to the same extent as the film Sliding Doors. The only thing that really surprised me about it was my discovery that Chevy Chase is still acting. It goes firmly to the sixth place in my list.

Next in order comes Chris Garcia's (and James Bacon's) acceptance speech at the Hugos last year. It was a lovely heartwarming human moment, but I would find it deeply embarrassing if it came anywhere near winning; it's a joke nomination, not even as serious as last year's Rachel Bloom video.

In fourth place, No Award.

Doctor Who has done well this year. We have had three Who stories in the mix before, but never with such weak opposition. But I found it pretty easy to rank them as follows:

In third place, A Good Man Goes To War, which had lots of brilliant bits including a lesbian reptile woman but was not wholly satisfactory in tying them together, in resolving the first half of the season, or in setting up the second half. I would not be devastated if this episode won, but I think it's unlikely. In particular, it will be completely impenetrable to non-Who fans, though I don't know how large a fraction of the voting base they are.

In second place, The Girl Who Waited. This was much better executed because it was a single idea, without too much ambition in terms of sets and CGI, and it allowed Karen Gillan a decent opportunity to function in the limelight in which she comprehensively succeeded. I think it is probably the most accessible of the three stories for non-Who fans; the notion of three time-travellers, one of whom gets caught in a different time zone to the others, is pretty accessible. In a different year it would be a strong contender for the top spot.

But I will be astonished if The Doctor's Wife does not take first place by a very large margin, and my vote will be among those making it so. Neil Gaiman had never made a secret of his desire to write for Who some day, and he took the most basic part of the show apart from the title character, and gave it a new twist that was still compatible with 48 years of continuity. The BBC obviously knew that this would be a showpiece episode and lavished money and care on it; and Suranne Jones gave a gloriously bonkers performance to which Matt Smith reciprocated with his usual impressive style. I don't know how comprehensible it will be for people who know nothing about Who; but there can't be many of them left among Hugo voters. The crowd will vote for The Doctor's Wife, and the crowd will be right.

So, in summary:
6) Community: Remedial Chaos Theory
5) The Drink Tank's acceptance speech at the 2011 Hugo ceremony
4) No Award
3) Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes To War
2) Doctor Who: The Girl Who Waited
1) Doctor Who: The Doctor's Wife


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 12th, 2012 06:59 pm (UTC)
Heh. I saw someone posting on Usenet saying "If there is a God, The Doctor's Wife will not win."
Apr. 12th, 2012 07:02 pm (UTC)
People still post on Usenet?
Apr. 12th, 2012 07:05 pm (UTC)
I'm still there, so naturally. Do you think people would leave a medium that allowed them to speak with ME?
Apr. 12th, 2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
I love Community to pieces - and think that RCT stands up better once you know the show and the characters - but I can't argue with your #2 and #1. (Less keen on #3 for various reasons and I would drop it further down the list. I have not seen the acceptance speech yet but would put it at the bottom because of what it is.)
Apr. 12th, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
"was not wholly satisfactory in tying them together"

shurely "Completely failed to tie them together in anything approaching a useful manner"?

I think I'd go:
1) Doctor's Wife
2) Remedial Chaos Theory
3) Girl Who Waited
4) No Award
5) Drink Tank (not seen it, so making a stab here)
6) A Good Man Goes To War
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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