Tuesday, August 6, 2013

You Look Familiar...Have We Met?

Wow, I really have my work cut out for me this week. I mean, taking on the whole first season of Orphan Black - what was I thinking?

To say this smart, thrilling, sci-fi show is complicated is putting it lightly, but here's the gist: On her way to Toronto, Sarah, a British woman with a dark past, sees her doppelganger kill herself at a train station and assumes her identity in an attempt to start a new life with her daughter. The mystery unfolds as Sarah delves deeper into her look-a-like's life, and more familiar faces appear with secrets of their own.

I really don't want to ruin this amazing show for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, so I'm giving all you Orphan-newbies my top 3 reasons to watch, and I've made it as spoiler-free as possible. After that section (and I can't stress this enough), if you haven't seen the show yet and you want to check it out PLEASE STOP READING! Once you've blown through the first ten episodes - and believe me, you will - you can always come back for my kooky fan theories, questions, and predictions for Season 2 (airing April 2014).

WARNING: This series is highly addictive. Don't forget to periodically stop for snacks. 

The Top 3 Reasons to Drop Everything and Watch Orphan Black

1. Tatiana Maslany is beyond awesome
Remember how upset I was that Emmy Rossum didn't get an best actress nomination for Shameless? Well if that was a snub, this was a snub times seven: Tatiana Maslany, who has already won the Critics Choice Award and the Television Critics Association Award this year, was sadly denied an Emmy nod despite the overwhelming consensus that she really is the hardest working woman in show business. Playing seven characters with completely different (and all dead-on) accents, Maslany worked more than overtime on this series, and proved that she is both a dramatic and comedic force to be reckoned with. 

2. Everyone needs a friend like Felix
Poor Sarah - she's going through a rough time to say the least. Thank goodness for her loyal foster brother, Felix (played by the hilarious Jordan Gavaris), the artist/male escort who brings much needed wit and comic relief to keep Sarah - and the audience - from having a complete stress meltdown when things get crazy. Gavaris plays such a perfect Brit, I was floored when I found out that, like Maslany, he's also a bad-ass Canadian with a gift for accents. 

3. This show literally has everything
I've never seen anything like Orphan Black before. It's a science-fiction mystery, a police procedural, and a family drama, all wrapped up in one. This crazy concoction wouldn't work on a lesser show, but Orphan Black skillfully pulls off every shocking twist, steamy sex scene, and witty one-liner, essentially redefining "genre" television.

But Liz, what if I don't like Sci-fi?? Shhh. Don't worry about it. I didn't think I did either, but if this is sci-fi then by all means, bring it on!

Finally ready to have no life? Orphan Black Season 1 is available on DVD and on BBC America on demand. So go grab your nerdiest buddies and a big bowl of popcorn, and get watching!

I must repeat: If you haven't seen the show yet and you want to, stop reading now and go catch up! The following is for those of you who have watched ALL of Season 1. Don't say I didn't warn you...

Go work out, walk the dog - anything! Just don't keep reading unless you've seen episodes  1-10.




Are they gone?




Alright, where to begin? This season was so jam-packed with insanity that I could go on for days, but since I don't have an army of clones to help me write this, I'll keep it brief.

There's a reason why Orphan Black is my favorite new show of the year: the characters. Unlike other high-concept series out there that focus more on plot, the character development on this show is off-the-charts amazing. I might be in the minority here, but Sarah is my favorite clone (ok, Cosima's a really close second!) for that very reason. When we meet her in the pilot, Sarah is a punk drug dealer who had a lot of growing up to do. By the season finale, she's still the street smart, tough girl we met at the train station, but she's changed so much because of everything she's discovered. And man, this show never lets the audience get comfortable when it comes to fully understanding these complex characters! Who knew Alison had it in her not to turn off that garbage disposal as Aynsley was being choked to death by her own scarf? After watching episode three, who would guess the science-minded Cosima would let her feelings for Delphine risk the lives of all of the clones? As a viewer, I love that I'm constantly second-guessing my initial impressions of each clone, cop, family member, and monitor as the show uncovers their many secrets and motivations.

Now that Helena is dead (which was sadder than I thought it would be, but it needed to happen) it seems we can trust all of the clones, except of course, Rachel, who is a wild card that I can't wait to learn more about in Season 2. But what about the other characters? That brings me to:

Liz's Questions, Theories, and Predictions for Season 2:

- Can Paul be trusted? Can Delphine be trusted? And the biggest question of all, who is Mrs. S and can she be trusted? Did Mrs. S take Kira away to protect her, or was she the one who Rachel called (which implies that she is Sarah's monitor)? I have a feeling we'll be learning a lot more about each of these characters next season, but Mrs. S is the one I'm most interested in. My theory: Mrs. S was initially Sarah's monitor, but she fled to Canada, not just to start a better life for Sarah and Felix, but to escape Dr. Leekie's surveillance.

- Who is in the picture that Amelia gave to Sarah? Is it Mrs. S, and does that mean that she's Sarah's biological mother? My theory: It definitely could be Mrs. S, but whoever it is, I think the clones' bio-mom is coming into the picture sometime in Season 2. The male scientist's identity remains a mystery to me, but I'm leaning toward thinking it's Leekie - of course someone as narcissistic as he is would want the clones to have some of his DNA - maybe he's the father?

- Is Sarah the only clone who can have a child? We know she's not "the original", but she's clearly special in some way. Where the writers go with this one is anybody's guess, but my theory is that the Dyad institute will be very interested in tracking down Kira for some experiments next season, and we might find out about some other clone-offspring with similar special abilities...

- Will we be meeting more clones next year? With Maslany's talent for accents, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw an Australian, South African, or French familiar face in Season 2. My theory: We're going to meet some Felix clones! Come on, we have to, right? If they were both "in the black" as Mrs. S told Sarah, perhaps that means they did this experiment with more than one set of DNA. And how cool would it be to see the Texas-born-and-raised, football playing version of Felix hanging out with his British counterpart? 

I guess we'll all have to wait until 2014 to find out all the answers, but if you want to to avoid suffering from Orphan Black withdrawal syndrome until then, I got you covered: check out articles here, here, and here, and watch this, this and this for more Orphan-related fun. Plus, this show doesn't lose any of it's magic upon re-watching (in fact it gets better) so start from the beginning and convert some new members into the clone club!

Just a few things before I get ready for my next neo-lutionist rave party...

Leah's Under the Dome Update for the week of 8/5: "After this past episode, I'm 98% sure they'll still be under the dome next week. Also Joe and Nori try making out against the dome to make it disappear. Surprise! It doesn't work."

- Thank you, Buzzfeed, for giving me my New Girl fix this week: Are you a NICK or a JESS? I think I'm a bit of both...

- Finally, check out the newest Mumford & Sons video. Don't worry, it's TV related, but the surprise is too good to give away here (:

Catch you next Wednesday for more TV fun!

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