BBC America’s Orphan Black

Warning: this post will contain spoilers from season 1 and the first two episodes of season 2 of Orphan Black.  Read at your own risk.

Season two of BBC America’s Orphan Black started back up last week and the first two episodes have not disappointed.

Where to Watch Orphan Black

Image taken from BBC America website

Orphan Black is about Sarah Manning who, after watching a woman who looks just like her jump into the path of a train (from season one), comes to find out she is a clone, and there are several people out there who look like her.  Sarah, forges an at first tenuous relationship with fellow clones Alison, the happy homemaker with a mild drinking problem, and Cosima, the brainy scientist whose been researching all the clones.  Then there’s Helena – the Ukrainian clone who is sadistic, a fundamentalist, seemingly crazy, and murderous.

Season one focused on the reveal of all the clones and the back stories of the characters.  Felix, also known as Fe is Sarah’s “brother” (I believe foster kids together), played a large part in helping Sarah and the clones become real friends. There was a lot of comments online about how Fe was a stereo-typical gay guy, but I’d have to disagree.  He’s very edgy and a bit on the kinky side, I think Modern Family has the much more stereo-typical gay guys (but I do enjoy that show as well).  There were two or three big reveals that played out in season one: Sarah is the only clone who is able to have children (Alison’s are adopted); Helena and Sarah are actually twin sisters (I guess that makes them clone twins? seems a bit redundant, ha!); and the Dyad Institute is actively tracking the clones and wants them all to sign an agreement to participate in the studies. And, oh yeah, Helena was shot and assumed dead.

Season two starts up right at the end of season one – Kira, Sarah’s daughter has been kidnapped and Sarah is desparate to find her.  Cosmia is getting sicker and still does not know why, and Helena makes a surprising comeback.  Although I wasn’t that shocked, she played such an integral part I can’t imagine how the show could continue without her.

The first season of this show was really good – so many revals of the clones and it kept you wondering how many more there were.  Sarah started out as a really unlikable person, but after getting to know her fellow clones, she became much more tolerable.  Her relationship with her daughter also helped to sway viewers on Sarah’s likability.

Tatiana Maslany just KILLS IT in this series.  Her portrayal of each clone is distinct and different.  This is most evident when she plays one clone pretending to be another – Sarah as Cosmia, Alison as Sarah, etc.  The supporting cast does a great job as well, especially when a clone is pretending to be a clone.  It almost makes me wonder if I’m hypnotized by Tatinan’a work and can’t really tell if there is a good story with this show.   Doesn’t really matter because I’m going to keep watching this show.  It’s enjoyable, full of good acting, and has a good pace.   This is why I love BBC America programming, they provide something different and they tend to do a good job at casting.

What are your thoughts on Orphan Black?

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Da Vinci’s Demons

Tonight the second season of the Starz series Da Vinci’s Demons starts.  The premise of the first season was Da Vinci was set on a path by a group known as The Sons of Mithra to find a book called Book of Leaves.  Entangled in his quest to find the map to the location of the book are Florence’s Medici family, Da Vinci’s friends,  Lorenzo Medici’s mistress Lucrezia Donati, and the pope’s henchman Count Girolamo Riario.

When I watched the first episode last year I was unsure about this show.  Starz cast an English actor, Tom Riley to play the Italian Da Vinci, and I initially thought Riley wasn’t the best choice.   The show also seemed to be caught between being historical or modern.  They brought some of Da Vinci’s ideas to life when we know it wasn’t possible at that time.  Even with these doubts in my head I kept watching (the t.v. junkie in me can’t help it).  Watching each episode after that, my doubts started to fade and I came to really enjoy the series.

This series certainly has its issues – sprinkled with historical facts, but conveniently adjusted for the show.  The modern feel, using incidents from DaVinci’s life but adjusting them to fit the story (a sodomy charge, setting caged birds free, the Medici relationship, etc.), and the portrayal of Da Vinci as a bit of an out of control madman.  One episode I thought was rather dumb was when Da Vinci went to find a member of The Sons of Mithra.  The writers had him go to and meet Vlad Dracula.  I recall reading the writers just thought it would be interesting for these two individuals to meet.  Needless to say, this was my least favorite episode.

Even with these issues,  I still really liked this show.  I started to care about the characters, Lorenzo’s brother and the actor who played him, had undeniable charm.  Tom Riley and the entire cast have good chemistry and I started to think the story interesting and compelling.  All these aspects combined caused me to become a loyal viewer.

The first season ended with the Pazzi conspiracy and doubts of Da Vinci’s chance of moving on to find the Book of Leaves.  The previews of the second season show Da Vinci does continue his quest to find the Book of Leaves.  Given the second season takes place somewhere other than Florence,  I’m again on the fence about this show.  I’m hoping the second season continues with the story and characters I enjoyed from the last.  I can look past the historical inaccuracies and other minor issues as long as there is a good story to support it.

Anyone else looking forward to season two or have thoughts on season one?

The Following – Season 2… Still Following

image from The Hollywoodreporter.com

Well, six episodes into season two of The Following and so far I’d say the second season is Okay, not great, not bad, just Okay.

Turns out Joe didn’t die at the end of the first season (this was revealed before the 2nd season started so no secret).  He’s been hiding out at a pen pals place for the last year.  Ryan Hardy, after initially not dealing with the death of Claire very well, has turned things around and seems to be living a normal life.  And Mike Weston is still trying to get Ryan to open up to him.

Needless to say Joe has had enough of hiding and finally makes contact with Emma, which then leads to a reunion Emma didn’t think would happen.  Ryan spends the first few episodes almost falling for another blonde named Lily, to only discover that she is a new kind of follower.  Weston and Hardy are called in to consult for the FBI which eventually leads to Hardy giving Weston the trust he’s been working so hard to get.  Toss in Hardy’s niece and a new group of sociopathic family with Lily at the helm and you’ve got season 2.

Watching last night’s episode I started to think of Fox’s show 24.  I’m really thinking that The Following is similar to 24.  Instead of the inept CTU we’ve got the inept FBI; rather than Jack Bauer we’ve got Ryan Hardy.  Like Bauer, Hardy works outside the system he doesn’t trust.  Hardy has also taken it to another level in terms of taking people out, whether it be one or several,  Hardy Jack Bauers the hell out of people.   And finally,  rather than terrorists who are one step ahead of everyone, Joe and his new enemy Lily, are the ones who keep getting away.  Not sure if anyone else sees the similarities but that’s what kept popped up in my head.

So, overall, season 2 is Okay thus far.  Still deeply disturbing with sick, twisted people who make me question what’s wrong with me for watching this show.  If you like blood and gore and can put aside so of the ridiculous things that happen, this is the show for you.  I’ll keep watching since I’m inexplicably drawn to it and hope it will keep its slow,  steady rise in getting better with each episode.   Any one else out there a fan of The Following?

New Year Post

It’s a new year and I’m a few weeks into my reading challenge and sadly, I’m behind. I think all my favorite T.V. shows being on breaks has had the reverse effect and I’m reading less. I tend to read a book during the commercials and since many shows aren’t on right now, I’m not feeling compelled to read. I did get sucked into a 24 marathon, which was awesome yet stifling at the same time since it was on for three days in a row and ran without commercials! At least I’ve got a few more weeks left in my challenge. I’ve had to set one book aside and start-up another since the one I set aside wasn’t going as good as I hoped.

I hope everyone out there had good and festive holidays. I’m not one to make resolutions so here is what I’m looking forward to in 2013 –
completing the 8 week reading challenge
Trying to post more frequently
Reading more blogs and trying to comment on the ones I like – there are so many out there!
A night with the cast of The Walking Dead (in February – can’t wait to go to that!)
The return of all my favorite T.V. shows (please, please, let the wait be over soon)

Happy 2013 to everyone and thanks to those who have liked and/or followed me. It’s such a great feeling when someone enjoys what I’ve posted and I love to check out other blogs and find new ones to follow.

Disturbing TV

This season of American Horror Story hasn’t been as good as last season.  However, the past two or three episodes have brought back some of that disturbing, nightmare inducing scariness.  Tonight’s fall finale certainly fell into that category. I won’t give out any spoilers, but I won’t be going to bed any time soon.  A few scenes featuring Lana were cringe worthy and the last few minutes with Kit were almost unwatchable.  I’m hoping the remaining four episodes in January keep that same feel. AHS is still enjoyable and I would like it to stay that way. 

Paranormal in primetime

Tonight, ABC premieres their attempt at the paranormal in primetime with 666 Park Avenue. I’m debating if I should give this show a shot or pass it up. I have some reservations about mainstream tv’s treatment of the scary. When certain genre’s get the mainstream treatment, something always seems to be missing.

The first mainstream paranormal show I really loved and watched The X-Files, which was on FOX (somewhat of a rebel in terms mainstream, free tv). The X-Files was an excellent show that made me “Want to Believe.” Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were a perfect match for each other – the hardcore believer vs. the staunch doubter. Each week Mulder and Scully would investigate cases that lived on the edge of reason and put a little bit of question in the viewers head to make them wonder if aliens or some other force could actually be true. Yes, the last two seasons of the X-Files were disappointing, with Mulder no longer a regular character, but The X-Files will always be a superb paranormal show to judge others off of.

I think NBC does a good job with Grimm – not quite complete paranormal, but a good effort at something outside the normal realm of scripted shows. Of course there is FX’s American Horror Story, which premiered last season and kept viewers wanting more each week. AHS did an excellent job of really scaring the view. There were times when I knew I couldn’t go to bed after watching an episode because I knew I would have nightmares. AMC’s The Walking Dead (based off of the comic book) does a great job at making zombies scary and the anticipated third season premieres in mid-October. The CW has The Vampire Diaries, which is surprisingly good, considering how bad the books are. And there is BBC America’s Bedlam, which I find particularly spooky and throughly enjoyable.

All of these shows are stiff competition for 666 Park Ave. Given it’s on ABC, which seems to have a strong family focus to its programming, I’m hedging my bet that the show will be Okay at best. I don’t have much hope that it will contain the disturbing scary quality of AHS or Bedlam, and doubt the risque factor will be high. I think I’ll record it and see if it’s worth the time, but don’t have much faith (I don’t Want to Believe). Anyone else out there have hope for mainstream paranormal?

T.V Junkie

I’m a tv junkie. Sounds sad, but it’s true. I love to watch tv and almost always have it on while I’m home. Where did my tv obsession start? Around 4th or 5th grade – my parents bought tv’s for my sister and I to have in our rooms: then gave us basic cable! And the downfall began… The first tv show that I remember loving and “needing” to watch was on MTV in its heyday. MTV, back when most programming was actual music videos, aired a British comedy called “The Young Ones” The show was about four college guys living together and was completely insane. British comedy at it’s best. I watched a lot of tv from that time forward. I remember watching Stephen King’s Salem Lot and being absolutely terrified (I think that’s where my nightmares started). MTV was a staple for sure, but there were other shows always on.

Today, I’m still the same tv junkie I was back when I got that first tv in my room. I love BBC America and have fallen victim to the endless array of “reality” shows out today (can anyone say Bravo?). A few of my favorites today are Grimm (which is sadly being preempted tonight due to a local election debate, hence the post), American Horror Story, The Big Bang Theory, and The Walking Dead. Where are the reality shows? I’ll reserve those for another time (maybe).

Anyone else out there a tv junkie? I certainly hope so. TV is not all that bad, especially when one can find quality scripted shows. We all want to be entertained in some fashion; one of my main choices just happens to be tv.