Hugo watching 2016: Best Dramatic Presentation

Part 1:

OK, this one is fun, because I don’t actually watch any of these shows in real life.  I have seen some Dr Who – because I live with Andrew, mostly, but also voluntarily – but I actually have very little idea what any of the other series are about.

So I’m going to judge these on whether they stand alone as a story in their own right, and whether they make me want to watch more of the series. 

Grimm: “Headache” written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, directed by Jim Kouf – Oh lord.  So, I guessed the plot and whodunnit in the first five minutes, and it was all downhill from there.  After a while, I just started counting instances of violence against women, because I was finding the whole thing excessively boring and annoying, and watching it through an Angry Feminist hermaneutic at least gave it some sort of purpose.  Sort of.  Seriously, the women in this were just awful – when they weren’t victims, they were randomly evil or very clearly the weakest link.  Also, I really feel that the ‘possessed by Jack the Ripper’ is a plot idea that can be retired now.  Not least because it seems to be an excuse for killing off more women, but mostly because it’s boring and everyone else has done it already.  I am not remotely surprised to learn that this was a Puppy pick.  Andrew tells me that there are some decent episodes in this show, but agrees that this isn’t one of them.  No Award for me – I lost interest after about ten minutes and just counted (female) corpses.

Supernatural
: “Just My Imagination” written by Jenny Klein, directed by Richard Speight Jr.  This was good fun, if a little higher in blood/bodycount than I prefer my media (this is why I rarely watch TV).  The story was nicely self-contained, the dialogue was whimsical, and I enjoyed the story, and the interactions between the characters.  Astonishingly, this one is also a puppy pick – I can’t imagine why, because it was definitely all about the feelings and the heartwarmingness, and even the villain was quite sympathetic.  I expect this to do well on my ballot.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: “The Cutie Map” Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller.  This is the other Puppy pick, and honestly, it was a real disappointment.  A lot of our friends are into My Little Pony, and I haven’t seen any previous episodes, so I was hoping for something fun.  Alas, it’s pretty unsubtle and trying to do a bit of a 1984 thing.  I’m pretty sure the Puppies put it on the ballot because they think the Evil SJWs are just like the pony who is trying to make all the other ponies march in lockstep and be identically mediocre.

That’s enough TV for one evening, I think.  My brain is trying to do Chuck Tingle / My Little Pony crossovers (I’m pretty sure the Ponies want everyone to know that love is REAL), and this is a sure sign that I need to go to bed.  And try not to think about Chuck Tingle or My Little Pony, ew.

Next up will be the two non-puppy choices, Doctor Who: “Heaven Sent” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay and Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile” written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer.

I’m honestly not sure if I’m going to be able to do the rest of the Hugo ballot.  I’m finding this process unutterably depressing – I’ve never spent quite so much concentrated time reading and watching things that I really don’t like, except possibly in Year 12 English, and even that was over the space of a year.  So far, while there have been several *good* stories in the mix, the only ones I’ve actively enjoyed were the Cat Pictures one and Penric, and parts of Supernatural and File 770.  This is not a good hit rate.

I think I need to read something fun as a palate cleanser.  And finish writing about my sentient sewer balls, since my shoulder is rather better.  And then I’ll think about whether I am really morally obliged to read the rest of the puppy picks on the ballot, or whether I can just skip those and read the things I think I might enjoy.

Part 2:

Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile” written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer. This was pretty good, and is competing for first place on my ballot with Supernatural at this point.  I really loved the nurse and Patsy – and quite liked Jessica, but I really found the normal people who were just coping with all the weird more interesting.  Nice dialogue.  Stood alone quite well – I had no idea of the premise of this show going in, and it still worked.  More bloodthirsty than I prefer, but that seems to be the case with everything on this ballot except My Little Pony.  The main issues I had with this episode were the ridiculous soliloquy by the villain, which bounced me right out of the story into a fit of absolute irritation at the cliché of ‘I’ll make her love me, and then reject her.’ Seriously, couldn’t he have a more interesting motivation / revenge fantasy than that.  And there were a few sections which I felt were rather slow and didn’t seem to advance much of anything.  Probably not an issue in the context of the whole series, but it did throw off the pacing when viewed as a standalone.

Doctor Who: “Heaven Sent” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay. Meh.  It works as a standalone, and Capaldi does an excellent job of carrying the entire episode alone.  He should get credit for that.  And I quite liked the puzzle, though the bit about the hybrid was obvious from the first time it was mentioned.  The bird part took me longer, and that was clever.  But oh lord, it felt like it was never going to end – and while this was partly the point, I really got very bored and had to start singing little songs to keep myself entertained.  I’d have enjoyed this as a short story, I think.  I’m not sure if the problem is that I just don’t much like Dr Who, even when played by Peter Capaldi, or if I’m just too shallow for this sort of slow-moving entertainment, or if I’m maybe jaded by the entire business.  Thinking about it, I’ve found every single episode in this category slow-moving in places, so perhaps the problem is simply that I don’t really like watching TV all that much and tend to lose interest?

My final ballot is going to be

1. Supernatural
2. Jessica Jones
3. Doctor Who
4. No Award – the other two were just not for me.

I might swap 1 and 2.  I might not.

I’m still in two minds on whether I’m going to bother with the rest of the ballot.  I’d sort of like to read the novels, but knowing that Seveneves is 900 pages long is pretty daunting, especially as reviews I’ve read suggest that best case scenario for me is that I will find it good, but not actually enjoyable to read.  Which means I will feel obliged to finish it.  And that’s a week of my life I’ll never get back.  I will probably take a look at the films, since I’ve actually seen two of them already and quite liked them, so it might be nice to see the others for comparison, especially if I can find others who want to watch them with us.

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