Monday, March 17, 2014

Orphan Black: The Best Show You're Not Watching

I've got  a dilemma.  Help me out here folks.  How do you tell your friends about a great TV show without ruining any of the surprises, suspense, and mystery?  Especially when the vaguer you get with your synopsis, the less likely your friends are to take the time to watch it.  One show last season grabbed my wife and I and had us riveted, waiting for the next episode like no other show.  And I know I would have been pissed if someone had described too much of it to me.

Orphan Black.

The Appeal Begins with Acting and Characters:
My Wife and I are both fans of good acting and good storytelling. (Who isn't? -Ed)  We found Orphan Black by chance, reading about the lead actress on the cover of the LA times.  What Tatiana Maslany does is simply amazing.  Even if the writing in Orphan Black didn't hold our attention, her performance in this show is groundbreaking enough that it demanded that we watch it.  I'll be honest, the show didn't have us locked in at the first episode, but as we watched beyond Episode 2, and moved on to Episode 3 we were solidly hooked.

But she's not the only character that you will love.  You are going to really like Felix Dawkins (played by the very talented Jordan Gavaris).  Imagine the talent it takes to make a Character both embrace a stereotype, and defy it.   Felix could so easily be a one dimensional character, but Jordan delivers something really worth watching. His ability to deliver comedy made us laugh to the point of pausing the show, which you should be prepared to do as well. This is a show rich with detail, and rewarding for those that soak it in.
With most shows you'd reduce the rest of the cast and characters to an "Oh yeah, they're all right".  In Orphan Black I'd struggle to find a character or actor that isn't awesome.  At the middle half of the first season they added an Actor who is a 1985 Sci-Fi icon to the show.   I wont spoil the surprise, but again, if you are a cult Sci-Fi fan already, it rewards you further.

It Keeps you Hooked with Story and Suspense:
If the suspense and writing were any less compelling, my brain would have spent more time asking "How did they do that"?  It's engrossing enough that it kept the filmmaker part of my brain from geeking out over the serious challenges that are required to pull off the concept of this amazing show.  A more cynical, cold, version of me could watch this show purely for the skill required to make the scenes. 

The writers understand that a good show keeps you waiting for answers to questions.  A good show leaves you asking questions of the person next to you "Do you think they ....."?  "How the f*** did they do that..."?, "OMG, OMG, did that really happen? Rewind!"
I wonder if binge watching it might overdose you with suspense and thrill.  Seriously, well played, writers.  You walk a fine line and have kept the show taught with suspense, thrilling, created characters that we love, hate, fear, laugh with, laugh at, and kept the whole thing from becoming a soap opera.  Hot and sexy, without being lurid.  The whole rainbow is represented here folks.  This isn't just a show where the ladies are objectified.  A good attempt at equal almost-nudity across all the gender and orientations is present.  None of it is "BAM," in your face, but it is an adult show.
It's been called "A Cult Hit", "Criminally Underrated" and more by critics with more of an audience, but do you trust them?  What can they say that will get you to watch without spoiling any of the surprises or suspense?

How many shows can you watch with your significant other if they aren't a hardcore Sci-Fi Fan?

How many Sci-Fi shows are sexy?

How many shows have you jonesing for the next episode as much as a season finale makes you jones for the next season premiere?

Trust me, Watch it and Recommend it to others:
Chances are if you read this blog, you are painfully aware that lots of other great Sci-Fi shows have been canceled before they found their audience.  Let's not allow this one to become one of them.  Find this show sooner rather than later.  Become a Fan Before the network suits run out of patience.  Give it a watch, preferably legitimately, to give it strong numbers.  It's available in most formats, a fair number of streaming platforms, and is on DVD/Blu-Ray.  After watching, I'm pretty sure you'll appreciate my dilemma.  How to tell your friends to give it a watch without spoiling it?  Resist the urge to explain the concept, resist the urge to give away the secrets, surprises, or even what Tatiana Maslany does or is.  Try your hardest not to use the C word :)           

Watch it.  Season 1 is on DVD/Blu-Ray, Streaming on Amazon, Google Play, Sony PSN, VUDU, XBOX Live, and iTunes.
Season 2 Premiers April 19th on BBC America.  Plenty of time to Binge Watch Season 1 before Season 2 Drops..

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