Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dr. Horrible Wins Hugo

Back in February, I complained that the brilliant short musical comedy Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog was shut out of the Oscars. So I am very pleased to report that the film has at last gotten the recognition it deserved. It won a Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form.

The Hugos are presented yearly at Worldcom, an enormous SF convention that takes place at a different location each year. This year, it was in Montreal, Quebec. According to Locus Magazine, Colin Harris accepted the award on behalf of Joss Whedon and the other creators.

But who is Colin Harris? He does not appear to be any relation to Neil Patrick Harris, who played the title role. Airlock Alpha describes Colin Harris as a "prominent fan." On the other hand, a commenter to says he's a past WorldCon co-chair.

Hmm, I guess Joss Whedon and the gang were pretty convinced they wouldn't win. The only person they sent to pick up the award was someone who had nothing to do with the actual making of the film.

This unfortunate lack of self-confidence was also displayed in the acceptance speech that Harris read. "Hugo, you need to get your act together, man.... You must have too many categories if we win one of them" (Source: Locus, Sept. 2009).

Enough of this modesty, false or otherwise! At a time when most movies are soulless reworkings of last year's movie, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog was a lone gem shining out of a pile of Hollywood garbage. Yes, it deserved that award. It wouldn't have beaten out two Dr. Who episodes otherwise. (In case you're wondering, not only doctors were nominated, although they did top the heap. Other nominees were Battlestar Galactica and Lost episodes.)

Take heart, Dr. Horrible. At least Hugo respects you.

Scoop! The True Nature of Fredericton Bus Station's "Shuttle Service"

As this is not a news blog and I am not a reporter, I never expected that I'd ever be able to scoop the local papers. But the improbable has happened, and quite by accident. All I did was make a phone call. Amazingly, I've even scooped Charles LeBlanc.

It's big news in Fredericton that the bus terminal has been forced to move from its handy downtown location to some awkward spot in an industrial park. Indeed, there has been widespread anger and protesting. It's no secret that this has happened because Irving owns the land that the bus terminal was on, just as Irving owns a frightening percentage of New Brunswick soil, and they booted Acadian Bus off the spot so that they can build a parking garage. But this post is not about the ugliness of replacing a bus station with a parking garage at a time when everyone is supposed to be so keenly aware of the need to slow climate change. It's not about the weakness of every level of government in this province and how they let the Irvings do whatever they want and never lift a finger to stop them. Believe me, I could do a long and heated rant about that if I wanted to. But that's not what this post is about.

It's about the alleged shuttle service. Both the CBC and The Daily Gleaner reported that for the first two weeks of the move, there would be a shuttle service to take passengers to the new location. Sounds good, but nobody reporting the story gave any details about this shuttle service and when it would run.

So I phoned the bus terminal and asked, "When does the shuttle bus run?"

There was silence. I elaborated on the fact that there was supposed to be (as I'd understood it) a shuttle bus to take people from the old location to the new.

"There's no shuttle bus," said the man on the phone.

"Oh, because they said on the news that there was--"

"What there is," he explained, "is two guys with a van, and they're there for people who show up downtown and didn't know we'd moved."

In other words, there isn't a shuttle service. If you're aware that the station moved--which you will be if you heard about the "shuttle service" in the first place--that van's not for you. Oh, maybe they'll be nice and give you a ride anyway. After all, New Brunswickers are nice people, and besides, it's got to be boring sitting there in a van all day. They'll want something to do. But it's not for you. No, it's for the probably-nonexistent person who lives under a rock and never gets news or talks to anybody and consequently heard nothing about the move.

You heard it here first. Great reportage, CBC and Gleaner!

If you enjoyed this bit of mockery aimed at our fine institutions of journalism, you may also appreciate my short post on a CBC host's musical difficulties.