June 9th, 2018

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The 2018 Hugo finalists for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Feeling a bit out of touch here - two episodes nominated from a TV show that I hadn't previously heard of! Anyway, it was fairly easy to rank them.

6) The Good Place: “Michael’s Gambit”



This would probably have made more sense to me if I had seen any of the previous 12 episodes of the first series, to which this is a climax (and partial reset). I actually found some of the acting a bit ropey in the earlier scenes as the stars tried to convincingly deliver lines that they themselves clearly didn't really believe in.

5) Star Trek: Discovery: “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”



I am of course aware of the latest Star Trek, but I confess that this was the first episode I had watched. I wasn't massively convinced - the set-up of the ship being stuck in a dangerous time loop was well done, but the resolution was really a bit ridiculous.

4) The Good Place: “The Trolley Problem”



I liked this much more than the earlier episode - a decent self-contained story, with some really funny lines, humorising a somewhat serious problem. I'm amazed that the set-up for this show has extended into more than one series, but this was worth watching.

3) Black Mirror: “USS Callister”



I was so impressed with the “San Junipero” episode of Black Mirror last year that I broke my usual rule of voting for Doctor Who. This isn't quite as superlative, but it is none the less very good - a story of sentient AIs attempting to escape from a grimly realistic situation, and a superb central performance from Cristin Milioti.

2) “The Deep”, by Clipping



I thought this was excellent: a short story about the sub-Atlantic descendants of drowned slaves roused from the deep by further human interference, delivered in experimental hip-hop. The annotated lyrics may be helpful.

1) Doctor Who: “Twice Upon a Time”



The Moffat era had its low points, but the return of the First Doctor for the Twelfth Doctor's final story was not one of them. I actually thought that the 2018 season was Capaldi's best in general, and would have rated a couple of the other episodes higher than this; but this one deserves its place on the ballot and gets my vote. Bonus points for having scenes set in Belgium.

2018 Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Related Work | Graphic Story | Dramatic Long | Dramatic Short | Professional Artist & Fan Artist | Series | Young Adult | Campbell Award
1943 Retro Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Dramatic Short | Fan Artist