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Monday, 1 January 2018

Sci-Fi Adventures Awards 2017

This kind of worked last year so I'm doing it again. It's the second annual Ray Hardgrit's Sci-Fi Adventures Awards!

Though this time there's some brand new categories, more TV series in the running, and less screwing around with javascript because I got all that working already. I've even spelt the text in the banner correctly so I don't have to sneakily edit it.

But the categories are still dumb, the winners are all still chosen by me for purely subjective reasons, and I'm only including things I've written about during the previous 12 months... for the most part. I'm not going to deliberately try to ruin movies or episodes for you, but there will be some SPOILERS around due to the fact that I'm giving out awards for their content, so there'll be descriptions of things and images that pop up when you click to reveal the winner. There are limits to how vague I can be I'm afraid.

Worst Season 1

It's gotten better in recent years, but science fiction series didn't use to have the best track record when it comes to first seasons. There are a few reasons why this happened: a lot of the budget likely went on the expensive standing sets, everyone was still trying to figure out what the series they were making even was, and it seems like they were often a mess behind the scenes (which is doubly true for Star Trek series).

But the winner of this award went above and beyond to achieve the very worst first season I've had the misfortune to watch for the site this year. For some series I only actually saw one episode from it, but I'm including them anyway because I can.

So the contenders are: Babylon 5, Batman, Justice League, The Orville, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Discovery, Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis.

Click here to reveal the first 'winner' of the night.

Best Star Trek Series

It's Deep Space Nine vs. Discovery, and this time I'm counting all the second season DS9 episodes I've seen this year. Can the epic The Circle episode trilogy and Necessary Evil give it the edge over its slick but troubled successor?

Click to see the winner.

Coolest Looking Set

Damn, I already regret choosing this category, as now I have to decide if the Millennium Falcon's interior looks better than Stargate Command, or the Discovery's shiny bridge looks better than DS9's upgraded promenade. Or if the Klingon Ship of the Dead looks better than OCP's boardroom. At least the cartoons don't count and I haven't seen the inside of a TARDIS this year. I did see a video of them taking apart the Twelfth Doctor's control room on Twitter though and it was kind of sad.

Click to see the most incredible room in science fiction.

Worst Costume

After writing up my 2016 awards post I decided that this year I was going to make things easier on myself and write down any contenders for awards as I watched things, so that months later I wouldn't have to think back though 68 episodes and movies and try to remember the stupid things people have been wearing. But then I forgot.

Still, I can come up with a few ideas for this one, like Shinzon's daft shiny purple suit in Star Trek: Nemesis, the Tesh and Sevateem costumes in Doctor Who's The Face of Evil, the coat apparently covered in food/ornaments from DS9's Cardassians, and the Zapp Brannigan/Sealab 2020 uniforms in Discovery.

And the worst costume is...

Best TV Opening Credits

This award is for the best combination of music and imagery during a series' opening titles sequence. Babylon 5's got an advantage here as I watch episodes from two seasons and it changed its titles every year, but it's up against Danny Elfman's Batman theme and David Arnold's Stargate: SG-1 theme! Though maybe I'll want to subtract points for a lack of originality, seeing as they swiped their music from movies. Stargate: Atlantis would've been a real contender as well, except the pilot episode I saw didn't have the opening titles on it, so it doesn't qualify. But Doctor Who (70s theme), The Orville, Deep Space Nine (seasons 1-3), Discovery and Justice League are also in the running.

Click to reveal the winner.

Worst Alien

There's a few contenders for this one I can think of, like the Remans in Star Trek: Nemesis, that bloke with the strip of rubber over his mouth that meant he couldn't eat in DS9's Melora, everyone involved in the Mutai tournament in B5's TKO, the zookeepers with the giant red heads in The Orville's Command Performance, Lwaxana Troi, the new Klingons in Star Trek: Discovery, the wolfman in the Star Wars cantina, and Superman.

But the winner is...

Worst Superhero

This award would've made slightly more sense if I'd got the superhero-themed Doctor Who Christmas special review written on time, but I've still all the heroes in the Justice League cartoon to consider. And Batman counts twice because I watched his cartoon too.

Click here for the winner.

The "Wait, WHAT?" Award for Exceptional Absurdity

This award is for the explanation or turn of events that did the most damage to my own personal suspension of disbelief during a story. The contenders include: everything Xoanon did in Doctor Who's The Face of Evil, the USS Discovery's main science project, the infectious telepathic archive that makes people kill each other in DS9's Dramatis Personae, the long-range mind melds in Discovery, the telepathic projection in DS9's Second Sight, the two-dimensional dimension in The Orville's New Dimensions, and the Technomages in B5's The Geometry of Shadows.

Click for the spoilery reveal, if you dare.

Worst Regular Character

This award is for the worst character to get a spot in a TV series' opening titles; the one who added the least to their episodes and usually just took up screentime that could've been given to a much better character... on the occasions where they bothered to show up at all. Here's a few possibilities for this one: DS9's Jadzia Dax and Julian Bashir, B5's Warren Keffer, Na'Toth #2 and telepath Talia Winters, Stargate: Atlantis' Aiden Ford, Cadet Tilly from Discovery and John LaMarr in The Orville.

Click here for disappointment.

Best Spaceship

Oh it's this award again. Last year I gave it to both Kirk's USS Enterprise refit and Picard's USS Enterprise D, because with the amazing choices I had I couldn't pick just one. And I didn't even watch a Star Wars movie that year! I think this time I'd better make it a top five, just so there's some doubt of what's going to win.

So the nominees for the five 'Best Spaceship 2017' awards are:

From Babylon 5:
The Starfuries, the EAS Agamemnon, the EAS Cortez, the Minbari War Cruisers and the black alien spider ships.

From Star Trek:
The runabouts, the USS Enterprise E, the USS Shenzhou, the USS Discovery, the next gen Romulan Warbirds from Nemesis and the Klingon Ship of the Dead.

From Stargate:
Ra's pyramid ship, the death gliders and the puddle jumpers.

From Star Wars:
The X-wings, the Y-wings, the Star Destroyers, the TIE fighters, the Millennium Falcon, that Corellian corvette and Dash Rendar's Outrider (it's on screen in the distance for a few seconds).

Plus the USS Orville and the TARDIS.

Click to see my top 5 list.

Funniest Time a Robot Did a Thing

Oh oh, I've finally reached an award that Dark Matter has a chance of winning! Or it would've done if I'd reviewed any of it at least. I did write about Star Wars, Star Trek: Nemesis and The Orville though, so I do have some comedy robot moments to pick from. Plus that Batman episode I watched was full of great robots.

And the funniest robot moment is...

Best Movie Soundtrack

This one should be easy as I only saw four movies this year, Star Trek: Nemesis, Stargate... RoboCop... Star Wars... damn. It would've been a lot more convenient for me if I hadn't chosen movies with such fantastic, memorable scores. Even Nemesis's soundtrack isn't terrible, though it doesn't feature Jerry Goldsmith's best work.

Click for the result.

Worst Visual Effect

Last year I wrote that I should watch some classic Doctor Who to give me some conspicuously terrible effects to choose from next time. And then I did! So Doctor Who's The Face of Evil has to be the favourite in this fight. But Babylon 5's season 2 CGI is still looking a bit ropey and the Stargate movie has some nasty looking model shots, so it's not a sure thing.

Click to see the worst effect.

Best Looking TV Series

Last year I didn't bother keeping people in suspense over what the best-looking series was, as the recent season of Doctor Who was obviously the winner. But this time around I haven't written about any modern Who, and Discovery and The Orville are both in the running, so it's an actual contest! Well, kind of.

Click to reveal the prettiest series.

Best Space Battle

Hey, a category that Star Trek: Nemesis stands a chance in! DS9 had a pretty good starfighter battle too, though most of it took place in atmosphere now that I think about it, so I guess that's disqualified. That leaves Babylon 5, Discovery, The Orville... and Star Wars. Is it likely that Star Wars is ever going to lose a space combat fight? You'll have to click the button to find out!

This is the button to click to find out.

Best Fight Scene

Oh look, another award for Star Wars to walk away with. Wait, the lightsaber duel in the first movie wasn't actually all that spectacular. Okay, maybe the TV series actually have a chance here. My first thought was G'Kar vs. a corridor full of people in Babylon 5's The Coming of Shadows, but last year I said I was disqualifying fights where I can see the walls wobbling so I guess that's out. I remember Burnham doing some fighting in Discovery though, and Sisko really went to town on that Bajoran officer in DS9's Dramatis Personae. Plus there's that Kurt Russel fight in Stargate, which earns bonus points for the terrible one-liner at the end.

And the winner is...

Best Thing I Watched This Year But Didn't Write About
(AKA the 'I want to give The Expanse an Award' award)

I've seen a lot of science fiction this year, much more than what I've reviewed on Sci-Fi Adventures, and most of it was great! Well okay, Dark Matter never quite managed to figure itself out, but I really liked Killjoys, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Legends of Tomorrow's recent seasons (and Red Dwarf's still alright). Plus I saw two Star Wars films: Rogue One and The Last Jedi, along with Justice League and Spider-Man: Homecoming, and they were all better than I expected. I still haven't gotten around to Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 yet, though I've heard they're pretty watchable. But really I'm just putting this award in so that I get to talk about how blown away I was by The Expanse when I binge-watched the first two seasons over a couple of days. It's a really good TV series, even if it has ruined every other sci-fi show for me with the way it portrays space physics and the problems with living off Earth.

Click to see what wins.

Absolute Worst Episode

But there are bad things in this world as well and sometimes they even happen during an otherwise decent enough season of television. Fortunately, I scribbled down my personal episode ratings somewhere, so I should be able to tell you with a reasonable degree of accuracy which episode of Discovery, DS9, B5, The Orville, Doctor Who, SG-1, Atlantis, Batman or Justice League provided me with the nadir of television this year.

And the worst episode is...

Best Episode

But just because Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine have given me hours of misery this year, doesn't mean they didn't redeem themselves. In fact, they've both contributed to my shortlist of top episodes, which includes: B5's The Coming of Shadows and Chrysalis, DS9's Duet, In the Hands of the Prophets and The Circle, Discovery's Into the Forest I Go, and The Orville's About a Girl, Firestorm and Cupid's Dagger.

It's not hard to tell that it's an even better set of episodes than I ended up with last year, but choosing my favourite is going to be tricky. Can The Orville actually win this? Is that actually possible?

Click to reveal my subjective choice for Best Episode.

Subjectively Greatest Movie

The final award I'm giving out this year is 'Subjectively Greatest Movie', for the film I personally liked more than other films, for my own personal reasons. But before that, I'm going to give the award for Worst Movie to Star Trek: Nemesis! Congratulations Nemesis, you finally won something.

That leaves Stargate, RoboCop and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope in the running for my favourite film, and let's face it, it ain't gonna be Stargate.

Click here to reveal the ultimate winner.

Right, that's 2017 done with then. It's a good thing too, because I'm so tired and worn out right now I can barely keep my eyes focused. You should consider yourself fortunate this all makes as much sense as it does.

I did end up growing that season two beard I promised to grow at the end of the 2016 Awards though, so there's that. I'll leave it up to you to decide if it led to a substantial improvement in my writing over the last year. I'm still a few months away from Sci-Fi Adventures Season Three, but my goal for next season is to fire the writing staff and bring in new people with a better understanding of character and a strange dislike of anything resembling a melody in the soundtrack. Or was it season 4 where Next Gen's music turned beige?

Anyway, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year once again, and may all your comments be insightful and witty.


  1. Any article where I get photos of Tom Baker's face is a good article. Though I'm not sure what he's doing with his mouth and cheeks in that second one.

    I can't argue with your choices. Yeah, I personally dislike "TKO" more than "Dramatis Personae" on an emotional level, mostly based on my level of boredom, but I acknowledge that "TKO" at least has a little bit of continuity and foreshadowing, while the DS9 episode is completely pointless.

    It's almost unfair to the rest to put "Star Wars" in the competition, innit?

    I'm looking forward to your next season.

  2. Good call on The Ricklantis Mix-Up, seriously one of the best episodes of anything I've seen in years.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your Babylon 5 reviews too, they are always an interesting read.

  3. That's... that's not an X-Wing.

    I feel like I missed a joke.

    I loved Thor: Ragnarok and it would probably win in most of the above categories for me. Maybe not space ship. Or best episode. Or the worst categories. Never mind.

    1. There is a joke there, but it's subtle and rubbish (the joke is that it looks like I was doing that hilarious thing where I put up the wrong picture of something to playfully troll fans, but then the description under it turns out to be an explanation of why the pictured x-shaped spacefighter didn't make the top 5 (I basically just wanted an excuse to put a picture of a Starfury up and there's enough X-Wings in the video clip afterwards (Plus it was New Years and I'd been drinking.)))

      Also Thor: Ragnarok definitely seems to be the favourite to win 'Best Comic Book Movie I Haven't Seen Yet'.