The 2007 SyFy Portal Genre Awards are on again and this year there is a category for Best Web Production. The four finalists are :
- Episode 1, "Sanctuary"
- To Serve All My Days, "Star Trek: New Voyages"
- Webisode 9, "Battlestar Galactica"
- Webisode 10, "Battlestar Galactica"
Now being a fan of Star Trek, Battlestar and Sanctuary I decided to take an in depth look at all four to determine how I was going to vote. At first glance it is difficult to judge them as they are all different productions aimed at different audiences.
Star Trek: New Voyages is a fan production and aims to continue the original voyages of the Enterprise that were curtailed way back in the 60's. It is still aimed at a traditional TV audience even though it utilises the web to distribute the episodes.
The Resistance was a set of short webisodes to fill the long break between seasons of Battlestar Galactica and was designed to give short glimpses and insights into the resistance movement on New Caprica as a precursor to the opening of Season 3 when 4 months had passed from the Cylon occupation at the end of Season 2.
Sanctuary is the only show that is designed for the web without links to the "normal" world of TV production. A two hour pilot was shot and it has been broken up into eight webisodes, each webisode telling part of a story and flowing into the next. It is the only show that is in an "establishing" phase and by that I mean We don't know what the Sanctuary story is yet, unlike the other two shows which already had established storylines and characters. So to me the only thing they have in common is that they were distributed on the web, so it is a tad difficult to compare them because they are essentially different in purpose.
Star Trek: New Voyages is styled as a continuation of the original Trek series and is a full length episode as we have become used to on TV. The storyline is decent, for a fan production. The visual effects are decent, for a fan production. The acting needs work as the actor performances are lopsided. On one hand you have several actors doing quite a decent job and then you have two of the lead characters, Kirk and Bones, being over acted. This disparity in performances definitely comes across as a fan production in the acting stakes. I'm ruling "To Serve All My Days" out because it simply is not of the same calibre (on any level) of the other two shows and therefore knocks itself out of the Best Web Production category.
I have no idea why Webisode 9 of The Resistance got nominated, absolutely nothing vital happens and it is extremely short. Jammer is released from detention and Duck grieves for his wife. It was definitely well acted, filmed and presented, a high class production but it has no real substance as a single episode.
Again Webisode 10 of The Resistance was definitely well acted, filmed and presented, and of the same high class as Webisode 9 but it too falls short as a single episode. I think the intention of this episode was to firmly establish Tigh's willingness to do anything and sacrifice anyone for the cause as well as establish why Jammer and Duck ended up in the NCP. It was not so much a story by itself but rather a background filler for some key emotions in the new Season of Battlestar.
Sanctuary is the first glimpse we have of a new series and it too is well acted, filmed and presented, definitely a high class production. It is comparable to the teaser and first act of a show we are used to seeing on TV. Sanctuary establishes a little history for two of the main characters and introduces two other guest characters and culminates in Dr Magnus making her first contact with Dr Zimmerman as a precursor to recruiting him (though we do not know that last part at the time). With some basic character groundwork established, Sanctuary piques your curiousity about where the story is going and what exactly is Sanctuary. It leaves the viewer anxiously awaiting the next webisode to continue the story.
My choice is definitely down to The Resistance Webisode 10 and Sanctuary Webisode 1. If The Resistance Webisodes had more substance to the story, it would really make the choice difficult because both The Resistance and Sanctuary are high class productions. I'd defintely choose say the equivalent teaser and first act of episode 1 of Season 3 Battlestar Galactica over Sanctuary Webisode 1 but Webisode 10 of The Resistance just doesn't quite measure up to that standard.
So it looks like it's a vote for Sanctuary for Best Web Production because it has all the elements of very good visuals and sound, presentation, acting and storyline whilst the other contenders fell short on one or more of those elements. That is not to say I liked Sanctuary better than the others because I didn't, I liked them all. They all appealed to me on different levels.
If anyone would like to cast their votes in the awards then please go to The 2007 SyFy Portal Genre Awards
I'll maybe see you again tomorrow as Trace was hoping to get all her computer problems resolved this weekend, though I haven't heard from her yet so that might not be a good sign.