2018 Hugo Dramatic Short Form is a part of the 2018 Hugo Awards Series
Hugo Dramatic Short Form
This is definitely one of my favorite categories! I already loved Black Mirror and the Good Place, and I’ve needed an excuse to get into Doctor Who and the new Star Trek series.
My pick: Star Trek: Discovery, Magic to Make the Sanest Man go Mad
As a preface, I had firmly chosen Black Mirror until I got to the Star Trek episode. I don’t know much about this series, but it was a well executed episode, with striking technology, time travel and a tightly written script that was both dramatic and comedic.
See my review of each episode below the robot!
Black Mirror: USS Callister
I’m a huge fan of Black Mirror and this episode is in the top 5 for me. While the general concept of copying a person isn’t new to this series, the execution of the idea is so fun for the sci-fi nerd in me. It looks at the absurdity of old school space travel shows, the situations and the language, and throws in an unethical dilemma and drive. Painting the all knowing, benevolent role of the starship captain as a major villain definitely tells a new story. I also appreciated the technology, both the featured and the random little bits thrown in. This was definitely my favorite of the episodes and I felt that it told the best story.
Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time
Admission – I’ve never seen an episode of Dr. Who before this. I know, pathetic, but I’ve just never had the time and I feel like I just have to start at the beginning to really understand it. I broke the rule to watch all of these and I have to say, this seems like a really solid episode to start on. It gave me a summary of the show, taking me through the various ships and two versions of the doctor. I love the humor of the characters, the absurd gadgets and creatures, and the occasionally off-kilter graphics. It was especially powerful to tell the WWI story. I obviously should have been watching this for years.
Star Trek: Discovery: Magic to Make the Sanest Man go Mad
Stuck in a time warp that sees the entire crew dying hundreds of times, the crew must figure out how to save themselves and the war by overcoming a madman bent on destroying the captain. It’s a tight, compelling script with well written characters and a brilliant use of time travel through an interesting mechanism. I was surprised at the humor as well.
The Good Place: The Trolley Problem
The episode put the trolley problem into play, forcing the inhabitants of the Good Place to reenact the problem over and over again. The concept of this show is hilarious, and this episode takes the overarching conversation on ethics to a new level.
The Good Place: Michael’s Gambit
This was an a-ha finale for me, and caught me by surprise. The concept of hell as a series of experiments and constructs is played out in wacky manner, which just adds to the brilliance of this show’s concept.
A strange entry to be sure, though I’m new to following the Hugo Awards. It’s a fascinating take on a tragic part of history, using rap as a language to tell an alternate history of slavery. It’s a fascinating interaction between past and present.
Interested in more Hugo award reviews? Read here.