A Hugo Nomination Question

Just a brief one here, but… I’m not going to be nominating much for the Hugos this year, as I only read about sixty books or so last year, not enough to make a proper judgment. I’ll probably stick in a nomination for The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O, but otherwise I’ll use the Hugos this year mostly as a way to discover stuff when the finalists are announced, rather than to nominate favourites.

But one thing I definitely *do* want to nominate is The Good Place, a series I simply can’t say enough good things about, but which will probably struggle for nominations as it positions itself as a sitcom — even though the comedy aspect isn’t what it does best. It’s funny enough, but where it excels is in its plotting, use of cliffhangers, and the way it does all the “literature of ideas” stuff that SFF prides itself on but so rarely delivers.

But I’m torn on where to nominate it. I’d rather not nominate an individual episode, because it’s a longform work that relies on its serialisation (and it does make a virtue of the serial half-hour format, rather than as so many arc-based series do just being one arbitrarily cut into episodes) but which *is* a longform work. I *could* nominate an individual episode — hell, I could make a good case for the single shot of Ted Danson’s smile in the season one finale being best dramatic work short form, just by itself — but there are no real standout individual episodes, and it’s the series’ overall story I’d want to nominate.

The problem with *that*, though, is that the series doesn’t break neatly into calendar years: season one started in September 2016, with the last four episodes being in January 2017, while season two started in September 2017 and is currently on its last few episodes in January 2018. So I can’t nominate a single season.

(Even more annoyingly, season one started in September 2016 *in the US*, but in the UK it was released as a single binge-watching season on the same day as the season two premiere).

The best compromise I can come up with is to nominate either the season one finale (the best single episode, but one that really depends on having seen the previous twelve episodes) or the double-length season two opener (which is a very good episode setting up the new premise, but relies somewhat on its resonance with the season one premiere). But I’m not sure if they deserve the best short-form award (they may well — I’m far more impressed by The Good Place than by any other SFF TV series I know of at the moment, though I haven’t yet watched the end of the last season of Orphan Black, but I can’t imagine it being better than The Good Place), whereas I’m absolutely convinced that the series as a whole deserves the longform award.

So… fellow Hugo nominators and/or Good Place fans… what would you do in this situation? Is there a way of nominating the whole series that’s within the rules? Is there an episode that other people are going to nominate? Given that I’m not going to fill out much of the nomination anyway, should I just stick five random 2017 episodes on there and hope for the best, or are other people nominating a specific one? Any advice on this would be appreciated. It’s not often I care about the dramatic presentation categories (though last year had the best slate of films I know of), but this one I do.

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One Response to A Hugo Nomination Question

  1. Richard Gadsden says:

    I think that the relevant rule here is:

    3.2.4: Works appearing in a series are eligible as individual works, but the series as a whole is not eligible, except under Section 3.3.5. However, a work appearing in a number of parts shall be eligible for the year of the final part.

    This has regularly been used to enter TV seasons that were released over two calendar years under Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)

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