Sunday, October 13, 2013

Orphan Black

Ok, so if any of you ever bother to check comments of blog entries you may have seen Lazy Fuck's suggestion that I check out the show Orphan Black. So I did. Which fortunately coincided with a ridiculously long volumetric light render for the next set, which has been processing for the past 16 hours, and probably won't be finished until tomorrow morning. Fuck volumetric light! Fuck it in the nose! But enough about that. The important part to draw from it is that I had plenty of free time to chain watch the entire season. So yay! Movie review of sorts.

First off, let me start by saying it is a "chick show". No bones about it, the show was designed to appeal to women. Not that that's a good or bad thing, it's just what it is, and helps to put everything in context. Personally, I tend to appreciate chick shows for the story and plot - however the downside is that it makes the inevitable plotholes and illogical reactions all the more glaring. So with all that out of the way.... it's a good show. Not terribly surprising being a BBC show - they do tend to air some good stuff when not doing constant re-runs of Top Gear, Star Trek: TNG, or Dr Who. In any case, would recommend. Orphan Black = good show.

I'm not gonna go overly much into the story/plot. Because while the basic premise is fairly obvious (clones duh) there's other relevant spoiler stuff in there too. Instead we (and by we I mean me - royal "we" cuz it's BBC and shit) will focus on the characters. So our main lead and perpetually re-occurring actress is Tatiana Maslany. Now when I was pondering how to write this my first reaction was to say she's not really all that hot. First episode sex scene (yeah fully naked if that's all you are going for) her body was just pretty normal. But then in retrospect I realized, it's just the way they are filming her. They aren't choosing every camera angle to perfectly accentuate her attractiveness - they are doing it so she *does* appear normal. Chick show, remember? However, she is indeed smoking hot. And a damn decent actress as well. No, not every role is completely convincing, but for the vast majority of it she does a damn good job. And while my normal reaction to an actor playing multiple major roles in a show is somewhat akin to cynicism and revulsion, I must say I did rather enjoy the job that she did. And all her roles are something the viewer can relate to - struggling single mom, house frau, college student, new entry in the job market. Well they are relatable for female viewers. Again, chick show.

Next up is the sassy gay English brother. Because if you are English you are gay, artsy, intellectual, or into punk music - or all of the above. It's true! I saw it on TV/movies! Name me one badass Brit guy. You can't. No, old guys don't count. And neither does James Bond, he's Scottish. It's because English men are ponces. There is a reason the French and Italians steal all your women. Ok, I made that part up. But it's probably true! Because of TV/movies. So yeah, sassy gay English brother is sassy English and gay. Bit of a raging stereotype, but whatever. He's got some good lines and provides a bit of comic relief. And of course homosexuality is a reoccurring theme so the show can be edgy, provocative, and show how open-minded it is. Plus, we need a guy character that the female lead can talk to, is always there for her, but is completely non-sexual. Y'know, a friend-zoned character. A character YOU can relate to. :-P

And that segueways into the romantic lead. The chiseled, toned, impossible handsome, and incredibly badass boyfriend. Our manly beau is kind, yet dangerous. Ruthless, but caring. Mutherfucker comes straight out of a shitty romance novel. Again, it's a chick show. And all his utter awesomeness becomes all the more apparent when contrasted with the scummy abusive criminal ex-boyfriend. Which is a good life lesson - if you run away from your problems you'll always find something better around the next bend. I mean that's good advice... right?

But don't let that get you down. It IS a decent show. I'm just ranting because it makes a more entertaining review. For the most part the story is pretty solid. Sure there is some mind-numbingly retarded bullshit like somebody getting sniper shot right in front of you, and somehow the fear of also getting shot does NOT become the foremost concern for the rest of your day. But the rest of it is quite acceptable. You should go check it out. A few sites out there streaming it, or you can catch re-runs on BBC.


Lazy Fuck said...

Glad to see you enjoyed it. I wouldn't be that hard on Felix (the gay adopted brother) personally, but I never really thought about it in that light I guess. Regardless I find him funny enough that I don't care and he does get some on screen romance of his own, so it's not all bad or anything. I do find Paul (the love interest) a tad dull personally despite the show's attempts to make him cool but next season might give him more to work with.

If you've got a while to kill might I suggest you watch this panel interview with Tatiana Maslany and the actors for Felix and Paul:

Just skip the first few minutes since it's just music over a picture for a few minutes for some reason. Regardless, Paul's actor is a lot more expressive in the interview than in the show, which makes me think he's being directed to play his character as emotionally cold and distant sadly. It kind of makes sense with the character, but it's still not very exciting. More to the point, the whole thing is really fun. I've never been a fan of such interviews and almost always turn them off after a few minutes but I watched the entirety of this one and loved most of it. Tatiana looks stunning in it too, especially them heels she has on. She gives some insight in the process of the show's character creation and filming that's very interesting. Part of the reason she's so good at playing multiple roles is that she spent years as a teenager doing improv classes and even informal sessions with her friends instead of drinking and shit like most of us do.

Can't really think of any other shows to recommend to you off hand in terms of adult dramas. You might enjoy the latest Scooby Doo show Mystery Incorporated if you haven't seen it yet though. Yea, I know, Scooby Doo. If I've earned any trust with the Orphan Black recommendation though I suggest giving it a whirl if you don't mind watching cartoons (I presume you don't) regardless of your feelings for the franchise as a whole. It has solid characters with some good arcs for several of the main cast, has a lot of fun with the usual series premise and an over-arching story that stretches across it's two seasons that is very well plotted out at times. It also references a lot of other stuff in really clever ways: from Twin Peaks to Cthulhu mythos stuff. I think it falls down in a few ways it could have avoided by making Shaggy and Scooby a bit too much a vehicle for comedy and a couple of other minor things, but it's really enjoyable over all. Daphne trots around in a bikini or lingerie in it on occasion too, if that helps bait the show. Give it a few episodes next time you're bored and something's rendering.

Quick question by the way: with the new season of Korra airing, any chance of getting another set with her? I'd love to see a follow up set to the original, and it might act a little as catharsis for the second season's (so far) rather poor showing. I love the closing shot of her kneeling in front of Amon and it'd be cool to see a set opening with her blowing him on stage before segueing in to a set where she helps capture Asami for his troops and helps her accept it.

Lazy Fuck said...

Oh, and Christopher Ecclestone both is and has played cool characters on shows like Heroes, Doctor Who and probably other stuff I'm forgetting off-hand. One of those is British though, so may not count. Still, he was cool in Heroes as Claude, the Invisible Man of the show.

And age nothing, Ian McKellan makes up for all of that because he's one of the most badass people who's ever lived. Guy is trained in like 10 languages, was a spy in World War II, is a trained fencer and has had more on-screen sword fights than anyone else. And he's made a heavy metal album. While in his 80s. The fact Britain has Brian Blessed on top of him, the oldest man to climb Everest, a guy who trekked the poles and has boxed with the Dali Lama amongst other achievements is almost unfair. Especially when added to David Attenborough and others. The bastards. They're underplayed in American tv out of jealousy perhaps.

Will Zenn said...

Wow Mongo great effects in this one and whats better than Jenny depicted in 3D porn! :-P nice job!

Anonymous said...

Just finished Netfixing Season 3. With all her character changes, i.e. hair, makes my scalp ache thinking of what she goes through; which of course got me thinking of how the production company handles shooting all the different scenes and then has to weld them together. Can't wait for Season4!!!!

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