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Wilhelm Awards Banner
by Marko Peric

Last week we ran the first part of the . This is Part II. For an explanation of the rationale for these awards, or for an explanation of the name, please check out Part I. If you want to hear the Wilhelm scream, vist the link to main Wilhelm awards page, available on the sidebar or by clicking the Wilhelm Awards banner above.

Best Board Game: New board games come along all the time, but not often does one appear that is truly original. When one does, and when it is an enjoyable game with lots of replay value, it is sure to become a classic. The winner of this award is may not be truly original, since it is a revisiting of an old game, but the old game is a classic, and sometimes reworking of past brilliance brings greater results than can ever be imagined. Such is the case with Lord of the Rings Risk. By combining the wild popularity of all things Tolkien with the classic nerd board game Risk, Parker Brothers have come up with a winner. It's the same as your old school Risk, only completely different. For starters, there are specific good and evil sides, denoted by green and gold pieces for good, black and red for evil. Instead of soldiers, horsemen and cannons, you have either elven archers, rangers, and eagles or orcs, dark riders, and cave trolls. So the pieces are a lot more interesting. The board is also made up of more territories, 64 versus 42 in classic Risk. And since the game ends when the one ring reaches Mount Doom, it's difficult to actually conquer the world. Instead, there is a point system. There are many more innovations as well, such as sites of power, strongholds, leaders, adventure cards, and no more wildly escalating card trade-in armies. It's taken an old and somewhat busted board game, and converted it into pure new hotness. For that, Lord of the Rings Risk unquestionably deserves the Wilhelm for Best Board Game.

Best New Webcomic: The net is overburdened with web comics these days. Most anyone with a hint of artistic talent and/or some concept of story writing is doing a webcomic these days. Many people doing webcomics lack both artistic and writing skills. This means that many, many of these comics are total drek. Some of the better ones can boast impressive artwork, but incomprehensible storylines. Less common is the comic with quality writing, and passable artwork. Rare is the comic with both great art and a well crafted storyline. It seems that good writers are often poor artists. There are exceptions to this rule, however. One year ago Andrew James launched a comic called Dubious Tales, and it had impressive artwork from the start. As the weeks and months progressed, it became apparent that the story was every bit as impressive as the artwork. For rising above the crowd to be a shining example of what a webcomic should be, Dubious Tales is easily the winner of the Wilhelm for Best New Webcomic.

Most Awesome Animated Character: This may be a broad category, but anyone familiar with the winner will agree to his awesomeness. It's not uncommon that something from the web manages to creep its way into the mainstream, but this character has done so on at least one occasion. That occasion was the series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. On that final episode, several of the characters are playing Dungeons and Dragons, and they encounter Trogdor the Burninator. No explicit mention of Trogdor's source is made, but it doesn't matter, anyone who follows Homestarrunner, and there are an awful lot of them, immediately knew. Trogdor had hit the big time. If he was anyone other than an animated dragon from Strong Bad's emails it would have gone right to his head. The dragon has inspired a song, two video games, and no less than four articles of clothing that bear his image. The fact that one can buy a polo shirt with a tiny Trogdor embroidered where one would expect the horse or alligator, though, that guarantees that Trodgor wins Most Awesome Animated Character.

Best New Canadian TV Show: Okay, so this category is a bit like having a category for best planet on which to live, because, well, the pickings are pretty slim. In fact, good Canadian TV shows are few and far between. It's rare to have more than one new good show in a year, and it's not rare to have a year without one. Even the good ones tend to overstay their welcome sometimes. On the flip side there are brilliant Canadian shows that never really find a strong audience, whether because of poor scheduling or general strangeness, and end up dying the painful death of low ratings. So to find a new Canadian show that is highly entertaining and very popular is a joy. To find a Canadian sitcom that fits this description is unheard of. But Corner Gas is all these things and more. It's the Canadian Seinfeld for the 21st century, only set in a place about as different from Manhattan as one can get, and starring a successful standup comic as a gas station owner instead of, well, a standup comic. So it already has creativity points over Seinfeld. And like Seinfeld, you can get it on DVD. Unlike Seinfeld, it took only ten months to get this show out on DVD, whereas it took Seinfeld more like ten years. So it has speed points over Seinfeld as well. Were this a competition against Seinfeld, Corner Gas would probably win. But it's not, it's a competition against other new Canadian shows. So it's not really much of a competition at all. Corner Gas unquestionably deserves the Wilhelm for Best New Canadian TV Show.

Best Movie Sequel: 2004 was a big year for movie sequels. People flocked to theatres to see Spiderman 2, Shrek 2, The Bourne Supremacy, Ocean's 12, Harry Potter and the Something or Other, Scooby Doo, Resident Evil, and Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid. Well, maybe not the last one so much, but it was definitely a year for sequels. Big sequels that made lots of money. Few managed to come close to the quality of their predecessors. Several did, and that would make them automatic contenders for this prize. None of these is the winner, however, for there was one movie this year that was so much better than the original that it surprised almost everyone. Not because people didn't expect this movie to be good, because the original was superb, and reaching that level again was not an easy task. The people at Dreamworks did that and more with Shrek 2. This movie is so good that it makes us wonder how they can possibly make Shrek 3 as good, but yet it gives us confidence that they almost assuredly will. For being that good, Shrek 2 wins the Wilhelm for Best Movie Sequel.

Most Useful New Catch Phrase: This is the first annual Wilhelm Awards, so there were no winners last year. If there had been, however, The O.C. would have been counted among the winners, possibly for Most Addicting TV Show. There are so many things that are right about this show, and one of the most vital is Seth Cohen's dialogue. His mixture of insecurity and sarcasm combined with a sharp wit has provided numerous memorable quotes. But one that has been seized up by the masses is the concept of Old and Busted versus New Hotness. Granted, it was originally used in Men In Black II, but it wasn't until The O.C. that the phrase was launched into the mainstream. And with good reason, because it's a terribly useful term that can be applied to almost anything which has a new and old aspects. For example, FM is old and busted, satellite radio is the new hotness. Tungsten bulbs are old and busted, LED is the new hotness. Hotmail is old and busted, Google Gmail is the new hotness. And it can be applied to people as well. Britney Spears — old and busted, while Avril Lavigne is new hotness. In case you haven't figured it out already, Old and Busted versus New Hotness wins the Wilhelm for Best New Catch Phrase.

Did you win a Wilhelm Award this year? If you did, you can show off to your friends by posting the graphic below on your website. A link to this site would be most welcome in return.

Wilhelm Awards 2005 Winner


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