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Showing posts from July, 2020

The 2020 Hugo Awards: The Political Hugo

We are a week from the end of this year's Hugo voting period (a rather shortened window, though the nominees have been known since April, and the Hugo Voter Packet has been around since late May). With everything else going on in the world right now--and with Worldcon itself going virtual this year--it's easy to lose sight of the award. Who gets to take home a rocket (or, well, have it mailed to them) suddenly feels a lot less important, even for people like myself who have been following and obsessing about the award for years. And yet, I also feel as if 2020 offers Hugo voters the opportunity to make a statement. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, a wave of anti-racist protest, a blow to the world's economy (one whose full extent we are only beginning to comprehend), a reevaluation of our understanding of work, leisure, and education, and a challenge to long-accepted ideas on the role of government, policing, and social aid. It is, in short, a time of upheaval, ex…

In the Loop: Thoughts on Dark

The era of streaming TV is now about a decade old, and every now and then critics of the form will get to discussing whether it has produced any actual masterpieces. Has the different economic model, the ability to free artists from the constraints of a time slot and the demands of advertisers, resulted in an expansion of what TV is capable of, or have we simply been inundated with a flood of slickly-made good-but-not-great shows? This latter point is an accusation frequently lobbed at Netflix, still the dominant platform for streaming TV, with dozens of original series but, it often feels, very few that one can point at and call enduring, important art. Orange is the New Black, Unbelievable, Master of None, When They See Us... that seems like a fairly comprehensive list. 
When it comes to genre shows, the situation seems even more dire—if you're a fan of science fiction,  fantasy, or horror, has Netflix produced anything that might stay with you and become a touchstone of your cul…