Recommendations – Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form

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

Eligible works are:

  • Dramatic presentations of fantasy or science fiction in any media
  • Up to 90 minutes long 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

88 thoughts on “Recommendations – Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form

  1. Daredevil, Season 1, Episode 2, Cut Man
    Phil Abraham (Director)

    Our titular hero starts the episode from the rock bottom and must climb up to save the day. We are shown the extent he is willing to go and we get introduced to the side cast. Not to mention that many consider this episode to have one the best fight scenes in the series.

    The particular fight scene:


      1. Mark me down as a third on this one. I’m a huge fan of Game of Thrones and Orphan Black, but I thought this year’s episodes were all good-but-not-great. (Except for maybe Hardhome from GoT, but I think GoT doesn’t really need any more awards.) Daredevil was easily better than both of these this year, and this episode was phenomenal.

    1. I would take almost any episode of that series, though cut man is pretty darn great. My problem is more that the whole series is one, cohesive story for the most part, and singling out any one episode is gonna be tough. I’d take either of the first two episodes or the one with his mentor as good examples, though.

      1. Since Weirdmageddon is a multi-part story, I’m not sure a single episode qualifies. Tho the fact that parts 1& 2 were broadcast in 2015 and part 3 will run in 2016, it does make it unclear what year the complete story could be considered.

        If I had to choose one GF episode from 2015 tho, I’d choose “Not What He Seems”.

        1. Eh, The story of the episode was pretty self-contained. Dipper needed to get to Mabel’s bubble. He does. That plotline ends.

          “Not What He Seems” is a fine choice as well.

  2. Steven Universe: ‘The Return/Jail Break’
    Directors: Ki-Yong Bae & Jin-Hee Park (animation) Elle Michalka (art) Ian Jones-Quartey (co-executive producer)

    It is about boy called Steven Universe as he grows up through his adventures with supposedly genderless, sentient alien space rocks. This particular episode stands up as a high note for one of the characters, Garnet, and I have found the song she sang while fighting annoyingly catchy.


    You can get it from here:

  3. My own pick: Rick & Morty: “Total Rickall” (s2, ep4, the best of the 5 eps to air in 2015 so far.) Not streaming yet, but available for $2 on iTunes or on Adult Swim if you get cable.

    Somewhat shockingly, I agree with at least 3 of Tuomas’ picks: Kung Fury, the Steven Universe ep, and the Gravity Falls ep, all very deserving. Daredevil is, too, I’m just not sure which ep is the best to rep the series, but yeah, that’s a hell of a fight scene.

  4. Episode Thirteen, “Daredevil”
    The finale brings everything the show had set in motion to a climax, but leaves plenty of questions to draw viewers in for the next season. We get to see Daredevil in his costume, and there are major changes made with the villains in play. The acting is superb; Vincent D’Onofrio is mesmerizing to watch.

  5. Person of Interest – Season 4, Episode 11 – “If-Then-Else”
    Directed by: Chris Fisher
    Written by: Denise Thé

    An pseudo-Groundhog Day of an episode that really shows off the cast, as well as the capability of the protagonist and their rivals.With an excellent blend of action, humour, and emotional depth, this episode perfectly encapsulates why PoI is one of the best genre shows on TV now.

    1. I concur–this was easily the best thing I saw on TV this year. I don’t have words, so I’ll just second everything snowcrash said.

    2. Actually, rather than saying it below, I should actually second this here. No reason I can’t “nominate” (or second) two PoI episodes. There sure isn’t any limit on the number of Doctor freakin’ Who episodes on the usual Hugo ballots.

    3. Second this episode. Just finished season 4, and while there were some other really good episodes, this one was really the best individually and science fictionally (I would have liked YHWH, but it doesn’t function that well on its own without Asylum).

  6. Parks and Recreation, season 7 episode 5, “Gryzzlebox.”

    Though not the best episode of season 7 (that would be the immediately preceding one, “Leslie and Ron”), this one is very science fictional in the way it present a future America and our interactions with privacy invasion that go way beyond the NSA. And it’s hilarious.

      1. Thirded MLP: FiM S5 e1&2; a fun psychological horror for kids and a parable on the dangers of trying to enforce equality of outcome.

        1. Yes! We definitely have to nominate MLP. This was an excellent two part episode from an excellent show. I’m no brony, either, since I watch it with my kids.

    1. I’ll heartily endorse MLP:FIM Season 5 Episodes 1&2, “The Cutie Map” parts 1&2, now available to watch on Netflix.
      It’s a groundbreaking show for kids about the evils of forced equality. When we first saw it, my wife and I got chills, and couldn’t help remembering East Berlin.

      Go check it out. Please. It’s worth 45 minutes of your time.

    1. But if I understand the rules corectly, a specific episode or story arc (no longer than 90 minutes) should be picked.

  7. Person of Interest – Season 4, Episode 19 – “Search and Destroy”
    Written by: Zak Schwartz
    Directed by: Stephen Surjik

    Some PoI *has* to be nominated. I could support snowcrash’s “If-Then-Else” but I didn’t think the GDness was appropriately signaled and didn’t care for a couple of other details. This one doesn’t have the best combat scene (and Root/Groves talking to the Machine before she mentions her implant would confuse people unfamiliar with the series – as would most everything else – PoI is a hard series to jump into) but I think it’s exciting, well-done, works in Root and even Zoe well, and shows at least as well as I-T-E what Samaritan is like more generally, with the prime “interest” being just some guy and not one of the team. 2015 was not the best year for PoI, IMO, but it’s still one of the best shows on.

    I really hate this category, though: I want the best *show* (in the sense of series) recognized, and not some episode that is an excerpt of a larger story. In serialized shows, awarding an episode generally makes no sense. It made sense when Twilight Zone and Star Trek were winning.

    “Search and Destroy” can (for now) still be seen here, if you go back (literally, right) in the episode list.

    1. My understanding (from the announcements from when BDP was split) is that you can nominate “Person of Interest Season 4” under “Long Form”.

    2. My understanding is all 2015 episodes of Person of Interest (including both “If Then Else” and “Search and Destroy”) can be nominated in bulk as “Best Dramatic, Longform”–Game of Thrones received a Best Dramatic Longform nomination, and I plan to do the same thing with Welcome to Night Vale.

      I just started Person of Interest, but it’s very good so far, and I cannot *wait* to get to If Then Else.

      1. Adding: Yup, In 2008, Heroes season 1 was nominated for Best Dramatic, Longform and in 2012 GOT s1 received and won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Longform. It doesn’t happen much ’cause you’re competing with movies, but there’s nothing to stop someone from nominating POI, season 4 part 2 for Best Dramatic Longform and an individual POI ep for Best Dramatic Shortform.

        Hope this helps!

  8. iZombie – “Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat” (1.12)
    Writer: Diane Ruggiero-Wright
    Director: Mairzee Almas

    This somewhat violates the “Hugos oughtta be for SF” rule but this show handles it’s “zombies” somewhat the way Williamson handled his “werewolves.” In this episode (which probably pushes the “teen” and “girl” elements too far for some) Rose McIver gets to play *three* roles: her baseline Liv, and cheerleader and stoner versions of Liv. And this in what is not her native accent. It has its full quota of the series’ usual drama/comedy mix, works in the backstory pretty well, all the principals have something to do, and it has one of the better “full-on zombie mode” combat sequences compete with human side-effects. Any number could be nominated (see my category complaints above) but I’m going to go with this one.

    1. I’d be behind an iZombie episode. I’m not sure which one, though – I like the weekly interactions, but the overall storyline is what I’m really connected to, and I can’t think of an episode outside of the finale, the one where her zombie boyfriend dies, and the finale that really stick out.

      1. Either eligible here or in Best Related Work. It would be up to the awards committee to determine its eligibility if nominated (they will not comment on it unless it is nominated), and if they feel it actually fits into a different category, it would be moved there instead.

        There is not a “Fan Work” category.

  9. As a general thought, I’d recommend AGAINST nominating anything from television in the Long Form category. If Star Wars doesn’t win that one, The Martian will. I think it’s better to stick to single episodes in the Short Form category. Just MHO.

  10. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – “Chapter Six: The Black Tower”
    Written by Peter Harness
    Directed by Toby Haynes
    (Based on the novel by Susanna Clarke)

    The penultimate episode, where some very long-disparate threads come together. While of course this is dependant on the other episodes of the miniseries, this is to me the strongest of the individual episodes. The whole show is worth watching.

  11. The Blacklist – season 2 episode 19 ‘Leonard Caul’; qualifies as SF by virtue of the computer-thing with blackmail information on the cabal of secretive spies who are manipulating world affairs, but the real draw of this episode is the magnificient James Spader as Raymond Reddington as he lies gravely wounded.

  12. Here’s a fantastic episode of a really good podcast

    Red Panda Adventures Episode 114 is the “final chapter” of the Red Panda Adventures.” Red Panda is a superhero who guards Toronto, Canada. The entire series is great, but this last one is particularly good.

    The Red Panda Adventures is a modern version of an old time radio comic book superhero adventure. The writing is great, the acting is even better.

    Red Panda’s “Nemesis” The Mad Monkey, who is probably the best character in the series, is looking for one last shot at taking down The Red Panda, and Red Panda is looking for a way to retire and enjoy time with his wife and crime fighting partner, The Flying Squirrel. He plans on leaving Toronto in the hands of his protoge, The Black Eagle. But will Toronto let him go?

    Do yourselves a favor and listen to this one. And then download the entire series and listen. It’s a hoot.

  13. The 100 – season 2 episodes 15 &16; a cracking end to the season with some surprising twists and a haunting moral decision from Clarke at the end. If the entire season doesn’t get nominated in Long Form then the finale has to get nominated here.

    1. I second “The 100” Season 2, Episodes 15 & 16, “Blood Must Have Blood” parts 1 & 2. These two episodes are about 80 minutes total and first aired in March 2015.

      The entire second season of The 100 is a lot better than the first season. It’s like they ran out of YA Dystopia tropes and had to come up with something original. And it’s brutally awesome.

  14. Okay, the link above is my argument for this series but…

    Shimoneta: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist, ep1 “Whom Does Public Order and Morality Serve?”

    The 2015 series was simulcast on Hulu & FUNimation’s Youtube channels, and if anyone watches the entirety of the first season & has a better recommendation, feel free to put it here.

  15. Defiance Season 3 episode 8: My Name is Datak Tarr and I Have Come to Kill You
    Defiance Season 3 episode 13: Upon the March We Fittest Die

    Defiance was a pretty fun sf show while it was on, with some game performances from a great cast and an overall sense of fun about it. My Name is Datak Tarr… showcases one of the stronger characters in the show as well as featuring some heartbreaking moments and strong performances.

    Upon the March is the last episode of the entire series, and closes off the story perfectly.

  16. Jessica Jones, episode 8, “AKA WWJD?” – a really nicely structured episode where the question of “Can Kilgrave or his powers ever be used for good,” with a satisfying payoff for the individual episode. I wish I could nominate the finale, “AKA Smile”, since the last half of the episode was fantastic, but the first half with Clare was really dull and unnecessarily dragged out, and really felt like it was from another show (because it was).

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

  18. I call for “Blind Spot”, the latest episode of Haven. The camera-with-a-thousand-eyes staging is intriguing, and the “possessed” Duke creepy beyond words.

  19. Now for something different: music.

    Specifically, the album “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” by Nightwish.

    Symphonic metal. Who knew that was a thing? Not me, until recently. This album is full of intense yet exquisite music and finely-crafted lyrics that reward repeated listening and call out to the listener to make their life extraordinary.

    More science fact than fiction (many songs, including the title track, relate to evolution and the history of the earth; the album name comes from the last sentence of The Origin of Species, “that from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved”) with a nod to fantasy as well (one track, “Edema Ruh”, is about the nomadic entertainers of that name from Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicle).

  20. This is a tough one, because there’s so much eligible that is really good. Here’s my short list:

    “Dulcinea,” the first episode of THE EXPANSE. I really thought it was visually stunning and the variance from the book was minor (at first). They seemed to get at least some of the science right too. 🙂

    “AKA Ladies Night,” S1E1 of JESSICA JONES. Frankly, the whole damn series is unbelievable, but I especially liked this first episode. For one, I missed the comics when Jessica Jones was first out, so this was the first dysfunctional alcoholic superhero story I’d ever seen. Also, I really thought the dynamic between her and Luke Cage was pretty awesome. He needs a series of his own.

    “The Fort,” S1E1 of INTO THE BADLANDS. This is tough, because I’m not sure I really like the series overall, but the dystopian future and martial arts shown in the pilot are just so over the top for American TV that I have to mention it.

  21. “White Christmas” special episode of ‘Black Mirror’ – dark future science fiction about virtual reality, making A.I. clones of people, augmented senses, banning people by editing out their ability to see and hear others, real time dating coaches, and crime and punishment. Original air date in UK December 2014 but first US airdate December 2015 on Netflix. Smart, great production and performances, topical, makes you think.

  22. A few different nom’s
    Doctor Who – Heaven Sent – I’m really more of a fan of Season 5/6 New Who, with it’s zany madcap timey-wimey adventures, but I’ve been enjoying season 9’s more introspective pace, but this episode had the best of both, with a spectacular twist that, to me, places it in the best episodes ever pantheon.

    Gravity Falls -Dungeons, Dungeons, and more Dungeons! – Look, really, any episode of this show is award worthy, and so far, the finale has been solid gold, but if you want a single episode that can show the appeal of this show* I’d be hard pressed to name something more entertaining than an episode featuring an infinity sided die “Infinite sides means infinite outcomes. If I rolled it, anything could happen. Our faces could melt into jelly. The world could turn into an egg. Or you could just roll an eight. Who knows.”

    *(from this year, anyway, Time Traveler’s Pig from S1 is amazing)

    The Flash -Out of Time- All of this show is good. This episode had time travel and a killer scene between Cisco and the Reverse-Flash. All it was missing was Mark Hamill, or a sentient psychic gorilla… which we got two and six episodes later, respectively.

    Daredevil -Pick an episode- Daredevil was all one big story. Nothing wrong with that. But there are like, six standout episodes, and the rest are pretty good too.

    1. Oh, and also, from the Video Game world: Tales from the Borderlands -Episode 5: Vault of the Traveler- Frankly, this thing deserves an award for those opening credits alone, but the rest of the episode nicely pays off your choices and has some big emotional and comedic moments. Plus, I got a huge kick from hiring the “mystery vault hunter”* Great series all around, but it REALLY came together for the finale.

      *(I really wish I had just hired the MVH without looking to see who it was. I had them unlocked as an option, but I just wasn’t sure. I should have just gone with my gut and hired them regardless)

  23. I know that specific episodes should be named, but quite frankly I don’t have any one in particular to mention.

    “Into the Badlands” on AMC

    “The Expanse” on Syfy

    Both are still unfolding. But they have great cinematography, great writing, and great acting. Into the Badlands also has some great fighting wirework scenes.

  24. Podcast: Welcome to Nightvale, Episode 73 “Tryptch”
    Released September 1st 2015
    Sunspots play havoc with Cecil’s radio signals.

  25. 1. Adventure Time – “Evergreen”
    This was my favorite episode from last season’s Adventure Time and I was pleased to see that it juuuuuust barely made the cut for 2015 (Jan. 15). It does the wonderful Adventure Time thing of combining hilarious weirdness (the four elementals are ice, fire, candy, and slime) with poignant emotion and cool mythology (this is the origin story for Ice King’s Crown.)

    2. Rick and Morty – “The Wedding Squanchers” The beginning of the finale was a real punch in the gut. So was the end. I also really liked “A Rickle in Time” and “Auto Erotic Assimilation.”

    3. Gravity Falls – “The Last Mabelcorn” That unicorn was hilarious. Mabel was hilarious. Meanwhile Dipper is having a cool, genuinely sinister storyline with the series big bad Bill and a thought-reading machine. I also second the recommend for “Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons” above.

    4. World of Tomorrow
    I just barely watched this on Netflix and I loved it to death. It’s not like it needs exposure since it’s been nominated for an Oscar but I really really enjoyed it. I laughed, I cried.

  26. Welcome To Night Vale: There Is No Part 1 Part 2
    History is written by the victors. And then forgotten by the victors. And then the victors die too.

  27. Person of Interest:
    Person of Interest; Season 4, Episode 11; If-Then-Else
    “Samaritan launches a cyber-attack on the stock exchange, leaving the team with no choice but to embark on a possible suicide mission in a desperate attempt to stop a global economic catastrophe.”
    Director: Chris Fisher
    Writers: Jonathan Nolan (created by), Denise Thé
    Stars: Jim Caviezel, Kevin Chapman, Amy Acker

  28. “Jessica Jones.” Any episode.

    I know, before I watched it I didn’t give it a chance either. But it’s probably the best-written SFF show since BSG.

  29. Person of Interest Season 4, Episode 11 – “If-Then-Else”
    Written by: Denise Thé
    Directed by: Chris Fisher

    Others have laid out the reasons.

    I’m sure it needs no help at the Hugos, but . . .

    Doctor Who Season 9, Episode 11 – “Heaven Sent”
    Written by: Steven Moffat
    Directed by: Rachel Talalay

    Another eleventh episode. And one of the best in Doctor Who’s long history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *