Recommendations – Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form

Post your suggestions for Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form to this thread.

Eligible works are:

  • Dramatic presentations of fantasy or science fiction in any media
  • 90 minutes or longer without advertising
  • Can be movies, TV shows, radio dramas, live theater, games, music
  • First released in 2015 in any format

Please list the following:

  • Title
  • Creator (if applicable)
  • About a sentence saying why you think it’s great
  • Links to somewhere people can buy it/read it are also great

76 thoughts on “Recommendations – Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form

    1. Second Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. It’s one of the few times where “Great video game storytelling” isn’t qualified phrasing.

  1. CHAPPiE
    Neill Blomkamp (Director)

    It is a movie that appears to offend quite a number of those equipped with modern American or British sensibilities. So it is worth to watch for the potential culture shock value alone. As for beyond that, it has decent actuion scenes, and although our titular robot is cringe worthy at the beginning, he grows into something kind of brilliant.

    Trailer that pretty much shows the entire movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyy7y0QOK-0

    You can get it in here: http://www.amazon.com/Chappie-Hugh-Jackman/dp/B00ZRES1NC/

  2. Inside Out

    A really excellent return to form for Pixar, after disappointing or merely competent entries for several years. And excellent worldbuilding in a fantastical metaphorical type of setting.

    1. Seconding Inside Out for its sheer quality. It’s not the kind of setting you’d usually associate with Sci-Fi/Fantasy, but it counts.

  3. Mad Max

    Because it was awesome. The movie was visually stunning and it does make a difference how much CGI is used. Just that scene when they drive straight into the sand storms.. man, I wanna watch it again right now!

    1. Second for Mad Max: Fury Road

      Characters who all do something! No Idiot Ball plot! An action movie that is both full on action and not egregiously stupid! Oh what a lovely day!

      1. I went to the theater for this, and the projector quit right as (MILD SPOILER ALERT) they hit the sandstorm. I wasn’t really impressed with it up ’til that point. Does it get better? I’m trying to decide if it’s worth renting.

        1. Short Answer Yes

          Long Answer: Hell Yes. The key portions of the narrative kicks in after that, and some of the more mindblowing action sequences as well.

          I hope you got your money back and more besides, because denying someone the chance to watch it on a big screen is a crime to me.

    2. Mad Max: Fury Road>/i> written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller.

      It’s a great action movie, but it’s also a solid bit of SF film making. It’s a post-apocalypse story, but it deals with a period generally skipped over in the sub-genre. Most post-apocalypse stories either take place in the immediate aftermath amid the ruins or are set a few generations later when new societies have arisen. Fury Road is set one generation into the post-apocalypse world; some of the characters are old enough to remember the apocalypse and even the pre-apocalypse world, but most of them were born after and this world is all they have ever known. As such, the film deals with the transmission of knowledge and culture and the way that the new generation takes what it has inherited and adapts that to its own needs.

      You can see this in the design of the film. All the props in the film are made from repurposed bits and pieces of the old world: Max’s face-mask/bridle is an old gardening fork and some metal straps, the skulls/heads on Rictus Erectus’ costume are all dolls’ heads, steering wheels are made from old radio parts and rotary phone dials, and so on. This is a society that has gone from scavenging old technology to just using what they find as a resource for making something new; so much so that you have to look closely to recognise what the components of an item originally were.

      It’s also reflected in the language of the film. The dialogue is full of words and phrases that are close enough to current usage that we can understand what is being said, but which suggest slang and a society that has taken old words and ideas and adapted them to their current needs: “We are Fucacima kamakrazee war boys!”, “You traitored him!”, “Die historic on the Fury Road”, and so on.

      All this, of course, picks up on elements Miller introduced in the previous entries in the Mad Max series: Mad Max: the Road Warrior (1981) and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985), suggesting that Miller is slowly constructing an entire future history, with each installment moving a bit further on from the apocalypse and into this strange new world.

      All this is done quietly and unobtrusively. A film version of “the door dilated” — no big bits of exposition or explanation; the world exists and is presented as it exists with the viewer expected to pay attention and pick up the details as the story unfolds, building their own picture of how things work. That’s how good SF works — or, at least, that’s one of the things I look for in SF.

      All this in an action movie that never stops being an action movie. Every frame is used to advance the plot. The characters are established and delineated through their goals and actions. As Snowcrash notes, each character does something. They all have goals and pursue those goals as effectively as their knowledge, skill and circumstances permit.

      The characters are memorable: Immortan Joe, Imperator Furiosa, the War Boy Nux, minor characters (in terms of screen time) such as the Bullet Farmer and the People Eater. Even the wives, who could have all been interchangeable MacGuffins, come across as individuals with their own distinct personalities.

      Then there’s Max Rockatansky himself; a man seeking redemption even though (by my count) he’s already achieved redemption twice. Watching this film you realise this is a character who is not going to accept redemption, no matter what he achieves or accomplishes. Whose sense of guilt is so strong that all he can dwell on is his failures, no matter what his successes are. A man who will walk away from his accomplishments, as he does at the end of the film, to seek a lasting redemption that he will probably never find. A surprisingly tragic figure in what is a franchise of action movies.

      So, yeah, Mad Max: Fury Road. I guess I fourth it.

    3. Mad Max: Fury Road written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller.

      It’s a great action movie, but it’s also a solid bit of SF film making. It’s a post-apocalypse story, but it deals with a period generally skipped over in the sub-genre. Most post-apocalypse stories either take place in the immediate aftermath amid the ruins or are set a few generations later when new societies have arisen. Fury Road is set one generation into the post-apocalypse world; some of the characters are old enough to remember the apocalypse and even the pre-apocalypse world, but most of them were born after and this world is all they have ever known. As such, the film deals with the transmission of knowledge and culture and the way that the new generation takes what it has inherited and adapts that to its own needs.

      You can see this in the design of the film. All the props in the film are made from repurposed bits and pieces of the old world: Max’s face-mask/bridle is an old gardening fork and some metal straps, the skulls/heads on Rictus Erectus’ costume are all dolls’ heads, steering wheels are made from old radio parts and rotary phone dials, and so on. This is a society that has gone from scavenging old technology to just using what they find as a resource for making something new; so much so that you have to look closely to recognise what the components of an item originally were.

      It’s also reflected in the language of the film. The dialogue is full of words and phrases that are close enough to current usage that we can understand what is being said, but which suggest slang and a society that has taken old words and ideas and adapted them to their current needs: “We are Fucacima kamakrazee war boys!”, “You traitored him!”, “Die historic on the Fury Road”, and so on.

      All this, of course, picks up on elements Miller introduced in the previous entries in the Mad Max series: Mad Max: the Road Warrior (1981) and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985), suggesting that Miller is slowly constructing an entire future history, with each installment moving a bit further on from the apocalypse and into this strange new world.

      All this is done quietly and unobtrusively. A film version of “the door dilated” — no big bits of exposition or explanation; the world exists and is presented as it exists with the viewer expected to pay attention and pick up the details as the story unfolds, building their own picture of how things work. That’s how good SF works — or, at least, that’s one of the things I look for in SF.

      All this in an action movie that never stops being an action movie. Every frame is used to advance the plot. The characters are established and delineated through their goals and actions. As Snowcrash notes, each character does something. They all have goals and pursue those goals as effectively as their knowledge, skill and circumstances permit.

      The characters are memorable: Immortan Joe, Imperator Furiosa, the War Boy Nux, minor characters (in terms of screen time) such as the Bullet Farmer and the People Eater. Even the wives, who could have all been interchangeable MacGuffins, come across as individuals with their own distinct personalities.

      Then there’s Max Rockatansky himself; a man seeking redemption even though (by my count) he’s already achieved redemption twice. Watching this film you realise this is a character who is not going to accept redemption, no matter what he achieves or accomplishes. Whose sense of guilt is so strong that all he can dwell on is his failures, no matter what his successes are. A man who will walk away from his accomplishments, as he does at the end of the film, to seek a lasting redemption that he will probably never find. A surprisingly tragic figure in what is a franchise of action movies.

      So, yeah, Mad Max: Fury Road. I guess I fourth it.

  4. I know, I know, Everybody Knows that The Martian is going to sweep it, but……

    Unless They have changed it since this category was introduced, we were told that a “Long Form” could be a whole season of a show, or even the whole series. This offers another choice where one does not think of a specific episode that stood out. So…

    THE FLASH Season 1
    AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2

    I find it extremely irksome that HAVEN has been overlooked. I would like to propose HAVEN SEASON 5 and/or HAVEN the complete series, but this probably invites quibbles about eligibility date…. especially since the show runners are insisting that the forthcoming season, which by normal people’s standards is “Season 6”, is really “the rest” of Season Five.

    1. We are now informed the HAVEN will conclude on December 17th with a double episode. Therefore, I nominate the complete series.

  5. Sense8 – Season 1,
    Created and written by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski

    I can’t in good faith decide on an episode for this. Came out on Netflix, and it works almost only as a binge watch for me anyway. Gorgeously shot, and has multiple leads who all *do* something. One of the more amazing watches of the year so far.

    1. I second the entire first season of Sense8 by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski

      The entire season works as an extended 12-hour movie, with the individual episodes functioning as just individual chapters. This works marvelously on Netflix, since you can watch the whole thing at your own pace, without enforced week-long (or multi-week-long) breaks. This sort of extended serial is becoming more and more common, so much so that I think it deserves it’s own category – Best Dramatic Presentation – Really Long Form or something,

      The story itself gets off to a relatively slow start, but once you’re into it, you realise why it had to. The central conceit is that eight characters a psychically linked, so they share awareness, knowledge, skills and can communicate no matter where any of them are. In order to work this requires that each of the eight characters be firmly established and fleshed out, and that’s what the early episodes do. As they begin to discover their connection and start interacting the story picks up and by that point you know each of them well enough that there’s no confusion as to who’s doing or saying what. Superb writing and storytelling.

      The eight core characters are a diverse lot — different races, genders, religions, ethnicities, sexualities — but it’s a diversity that means something. The fact that a character is Nairobian or Indian or gay or trans or Hindu or black or white is important to that character’s story. It’s not just the sort of tokenism that you get when someone writes a story and then swaps some of the character’s genders around and/or makes some of the gay or trans just to shake things up. This is genuine diversity.

      The show was shot all over the world, so that Korea looks like Korea, Nairobi looks like Nairobi, India looks like India, Germany looks like Germany, and so on, not just the Hollywood versions of those places. This was obviously expensive, but helps ground each of the characters in their own environment and helps establish not only the individual, but also some of the cultural differences between them, thus laying a solid foundation to how the psychic linkage affects each of them.

      And finally, it left me wanting more. I am very much looking forward to the next season.

      I think the whole thing is ground-breaking and seriously worthy of major recognition.

  6. Star Trek Online: The Iconian War (starts at the episode Uneasy Allies, released 17 March 2015)

    Available via Steam or ArcGames, free MMO

    Uneasy Allies has probably been my FAVORITE episode out of the entire game, with a stellar voiceacting performance by Denise Crosby all throughout. (Uneasy Allies likely qualifies for short form as well, being an episode)

    Seconding Mad Max Fury Road

    Also: Jurassic World; Terminator: Genisys; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Attack on Titan (the live action movie)

    Has anyone watched Predestination? I heard it’s based off of Heinlein’s All You Zombies.

      1. A motion was passed at the Sasquan Business Meeting to extend it’s eligibility, so it is eligible for this year.

        Watched it a couple of days ago. Holy frak. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

    1. Predestination is indeed based on Heinlein’s “All You Zombies”. It’s a great adaptation and does something I didn’t think was possible: it adds a third act to the story that, to me at least, comes across as both logical and inevitable. Having seen it, I find it difficult to remember that the conclusion wasn’t part of the original story, since it seems such an integral part of it.

      Some Heinlein fans may not care for this, though. Messing with the works of the master and all that, but I liked it.

      The film was written and directed by the Spierig brothers. If it is still eligible, then it definitely deserves to be nominated. A great bit of sf film-making.

  7. Ant-Man
    dir. Peyton Reed

    It’s really fun and quirky while still having a lot of sci-fi elements to it. (Also that Thomas the Tank Engine scene deserves an award all on its own…)

  8. Keep in mind that Star Wars is coming out soon and is likely to dominate this category, assuming it’s as good as the previews look. There’s also The Martian, if Star Wars turns out to be a dud. So if you’ve got a TV series that you really like, it’s probably better to pick a single episode for Short Form rather than putting the whole series here in Long Form.

  9. Thanks to Greg’s comment (and I now see snowcrash’s series nom) I’d like to nominate Person of Interest’s 2015 episodes (second of season 4) and iZombie’s first season (very different show) for long form.

    I don’t mean to be cheating on the “one recommendation per person per work” thing, as I also nominated individual episodes under Short Form but both shows are serialized and, rather than picking just an example episode, maybe Long Form is a better fit.

    One sentence: Person of Interest is about a reclusive zillionaire designer of an artificial intelligence (for national defense) hiring an ex-Special Forces/CIA guy to help him save people from violent crimes based on information from the AI. Season 4 ups the ante, bringing a second, malignant AI to the fore in a war of the AI gods. Exciting, thought-provoking, great cast, high drama, leavened with dry humor. Gives you a sense of “wow!” at times even without any spaceships. 😉

  10. iZombie, season 1 (all 13 episodes after a mid-season debut in 2015): a straight-laced medical student uncharacteristically goes to a party where she is scratched by a zombie and becomes one herself. In order to stay as human as possible, she needs a steady supply of brains and gets a job in the morgue. But many morgue occupants are murder victims and eating the brains cause her to temporarily merge their personalities with hers and get flashes from their lives – and deaths. This leads to her becoming a virtual partner of a cop as she helps to solve the crimes and bring justice for the victims. Whoah, heavy. But it’s also a very funny show with an excellent cast and a brilliant lead.

  11. Moderation issue. Leaving out quotation marks and plus signs?

    Nominating Welcome to Night Vale, 2015 eps, and seconding nominations for
    Person of Interest, 2015 eps
    Sense8
    Inside Out
    Max Max Fury Road
    iZombie season 1.

  12. Saint’s Row: Gat Out of Hell

    The irreverent sandbox shooter goes to Hell. From the musical number:

    “How do I burn down a city that’s baptized in fire?
    How do I kill off an army that’s dead?
    Time is slipping away now
    And the best plan I’ve got
    Is to put one inside Satan’s head.
    If roles are reversed, I know they’d save me,
    But all my plans involve murder spree-ees.”

    Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Saints-Row-Gat-Hell-Xbox-360/dp/B00N23Z8P4/

    Musical cut scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMxVFOCpluQ

  13. The Flash Season 1
    Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2
    I am irked that Haven has been overlooked. It is unclear whether we will be able to nominate Season 5 or the complete series (especially since the showrunners insist that the upcoming season, which normal people wouldl call season 6, is really the “rest” of season 5), but I will be watching for episodes.

  14. Star Trek Online: The Iconian War
    Cryptic Studios

    This was one of the best story updates they’ve done for the five year old game. It raised the stakes substantially, the entire galaxy is at risk believably, and it gets all of the factions to ally together.

    It also deals very well with the question of what is acceptable in war, and whether betraying your principles is acceptable when the alternative is mass extinction and genocide.

    http://sto.gamepedia.com/Season_Ten:_The_Iconian_War
    http://www.arcgames.com/en/games/star-trek-online

  15. I could swear I commented here before, but anyway, I’d like to add my vote for Person of Interest Season 4, part 2. iZombie rocks, also. But if I must pick one, PoI is it. Welcome to the Machine in the finale. I may have cried while cheering. Ahem.

  16. Witcher 3
    CD Projekt Red
    An absolutely great story wrapped in an amazing game that actually feels real.
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=witcher+3

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/292030/?snr=1_7_15__13

    Ant Man
    I don’t watch many movies in theater a year, but I do watch every MCU film in theater. Even the worst MCU film is ok – and this is far from the worst. While they were less consistent with the “science” behind Ant Man’s powers than I would have liked, they were definitely more consistent than the comic books, and told a solid, fun story.
    http://www.amazon.com/Ant-Man-2-Disc-Combo-Pack-Blu-ray/dp/B00ZGDIGZ2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442811730&sr=8-1&keywords=Ant+Man

    Avengers: Age of Ultron
    My only complaint about Age of Ultron is that Ultron didn’t kick enough ass. Even so, he’s still a villain of note, easily memorable enough to be one of Marvel’s best villains. And the Hulkbuster armor was awesome.
    http://www.amazon.com/Marvels-Avengers-Ultron-Digital-Blu-ray/dp/B00WAJ8QXC/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1442811934&sr=1-1&keywords=age+of+ultron

  17. The 100 – season 2 (finished airing in 2015); an absolutely gripping series and a huge step up from season 1, some bold decisions, including the deaths of some major characters, and ending with an absolute shocker of a last episode in which the hero wipes out an entire city full of people. One of the best SF shows of the year.

  18. The Martian

    – “Btw, the martian is awesome, you should watch it, XD”
    – “It is one the best movies I have seen in a while…”
    – “… Not some bullshit movie for sure.”
    – “Worth the time and worth the money.”

    And I have not actually seen the movie, I still have to wait a week for it myself, but the above are snippets from about 15-minute monologue my girlfriend had to say about it. I trust her judgement on this. So yeah, I recommend it!

    You can see it in theatres. At the moment, or soon enough, at least.

    1. Finally saw it, in fact got home from the theatre and if it does not win the Hugo for the best dramatic presentation – then this award nothing, rubbish, and nothing will ever save it. It is one of the best movies done in years.

      1. 2nded. I recommend SP4 abandon everything else and put it’s full might behind ‘The Martian’. If anything exemplifies what a Hugo-winning movie should be it is this.

        My son came out wanting to be an Astrodynamicist if the whole ‘rock star’ thing doesn’t pan out.

  19. Shadowrun: Hong Kong
    Harebrained Schemes
    http://store.steampowered.com/app/346940/

    The third installment in the Shadowrun cRPG series from Harebrained Schemes. It’s the best one yet with new matrix mechanics and expanded magic/cyberware that allows you to delve deep into the shadows of Hong Kong and the walled city of Kowloon.

  20. Predestination. Excellent adaptation of Robert A Heinlein’s “All You Zombies”. I knew (almost) every plot-twist in advance having read the original, but I was gripped the whole way through. Big kudos to Sarah Snook in a very difficult role.

  21. And I’ll add my voice to the chorus praising The Martian. Virtually perfect adaptation of one of the best Hard SF novels I have ever read. Good directing, performances, effects, everything.

  22. I’ll second Witcher 3, but I also enjoyed:

    Ex Machina
    Screenplay, Directed: Alex Garland
    A solid low-budget but thought-provoking sci-fi flic. I enjoyed it in particular because it’s the best fictional presentation of the AI box problem — one of the most interesting problems in AI research.

  23. The Awesomes, Season 3, a fairly tight arc.
    “Hello, I am Doctor Malocchio. What? You don’t watch The Awesomes? Look into my eyes.”

  24. To get the stupidly obvious out of the way, not that it needs any more promotion as everyone has it written in on indelible ink, the weaponised nostalgia piece called Star Wars: The Force Awakens, because You Know Why.

  25. Ushio & Tora (Season 1)
    Kazuhiro Fujita (manga) and Studio MAPPA
    Ushio & Tora is a 2015 anime adaption of a manga (comic) from 1990 which successfully embodies everything great about Japanese animation from then and now despite being based on a work 25 years old.
    Link: http://www.crunchyroll.com/ushio-and-tora

    If you’re an anime fan, especially an older anime fan, you’ll probably dig it.

  26. I may be pushing the limits of eligibility for this category, but I would like to nominates the “Stakes” story arc from the Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. 8 episodes, each 15 minutes in duration makes it 2 hours (with commercials). It was the high-water mark for a series that has deserved a Hugo for years but has never made the short list. Check it out and see if you agree.

  27. Blood Blockade Battlefront
    Yasuhiro Nightow and Studio BONES
    Blood Blockade Battlefront was a 12 episode anime series about a boy with the All-Seeing Eyes of the Gods who joins a supernatural task force to save the city of Hellsalem’s Lot from supernatural disasters and creatures such as vampires and aliens. It is action packed and rather funny as well, with a great story that wraps everything up in a very stylish bow. Being that it was written by the man who wrote Trigun, I figured most anime fans would have watched it instead of all the gross stuff the genre is currently filled with.
    Link: http://www.funimation.com/shows/blood-blockade-battlefront/home

  28. Count some more votes for predestination and antman. In one case a great adaptation of a great story, in the other a funny heist film with marvel science.

  29. Here’s an odd one to throw out for consideration: Knights of Sidonia, season 2. All of it.

    KoS is an anime series that Netflix has picked up the exclusive rights to. Season 2 ran last spring in Japan, and its english translation became available last summer. If you have Netflix, I heartily recommend trying it. It is a mecha series, but one in which the creators spent some serious time thinking things through on their world building. The result is a mecha series mixed with hard SF, and its works very well. I’ve enjoyed it far more than Attack on Titan.

  30. Welcome To Night Vale: The Librarian by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens by JJ Abrams et al
    Mad Max: Fury Road by George Miller
    Jupiter Ascending by Andy and Lana Wachowski
    The Martian by Ridley Scott
    Ant-Man by Peyton Reed
    Crimson Peak by Guillermo del Toro
    Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
    Dragon Age: Inquisition

    …………..I’m planning to pull my nominees out of a hat.

  31. Since iirc whole seasons can be nominated as one work.

    Daredevil Season 1,

    It is one overarching story on the orgins of Daredevil and Kingpin. It is also quite frankly the single best thing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is easily one of the 5 or 10 best TV series I’ve ever seen.

  32. The Martian
    Ex Machina
    Predestination

    (as mentioned previously Predestination’s eligibility was extended at the Saquan business meeting)

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