Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Hugo Review: Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) - Doctor Who: "The Return of Doctor Mysterio"

Doctor Who: "The Return of Doctor Mysterio", is about a boy's run-in with a mysterious man, and how that impacted the rest of his life.

So you mix two of my favorite fandoms - Doctor Who and Superheroes - and you're bound to get something I like, right? Uh, not really. While I certainly didn't hate this episode, I found it to be far from my favorite Doctor Who and not my favorite television in 2016. You see, there is an unease in fandom when something we love is placed into a different context. It's the problem I have with The Big Bang Theory - I can't watch that show at all because I'm supposed to be laughing at myself in an unpleasant way. Whenever I catch an episode I feel like I'm being picked apart by someone who doesn't understand me, and it doesn't work for me. This episode of Doctor Who brought on the same type of unease. It's a pastiche of superhero tropes, mostly focusing on Superman (thus the Harmony Shoal PR people being named Miss Shuster and Miss Siegel). While they didn't get it wrong, it didn't feel quite right, either.

The good: There are two scenes in this episode that really stand out for me. The first is when Lucy and the Doctor sit down with Mister Huffle and she works to get facts out of the Doctor instead of lies. It was surreal and hilarious and worked extremely well in context. The second was right at the very end of the episode, after the Doctor leaves. Nardole explains the Doctor's pain to Lucy and Grant, telling them about River Song. At that moment, I decided I liked Nardole even though he can be terribly annoying.

The bad: The aliens were more than a bit cheesy. I'm also always a little annoyed when a single artifact can give people powers - which happens a lot in both comics and Doctor Who. And, while it might have been sensible for Grant to swallow the device after the Doctor tells him he's a doctor, produces a glass of water and gives him what looks like a funny pill, it seems a little strange to me that Grant wouldn't ask again before swallowing. I found the similarities to Superman to be slightly forced as well, although the Doctor explains that Grant got his powers based on wish-fulfillment, so I suppose it makes sense. It just seems strange.

Conclusion: I'm ambivalent about this episode of Doctor Who. I suppose it goes on top of my ballot by default at the moment, but I won't be surprised if it gets knocked off the top spot by something else.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form): I've watched Doctor Who. I need to watch Black Mirror, The Expanse, Game of Thrones: "Battle of the Bastards", Game of Thrones: "The Door", and Splendor & Misery [album].