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Orphan Black - Season One

Posted by The TV Critic on 2 December 2013 | 7 Comments

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Credit BBC America

Orphan Black - Season One

My first response to Orphan Black was disappointment. It was a helpful response in a way because I didn't expect the show to be good from then on. The result was I enjoyed watching it because I had quickly given up on expecting the show to draw me in emotionally.

Emotion is of course what I come to TV for and without it Orphan Black remains an average TV show based on the criteria I use. However in place of substance there was plenty of fun to be had out of the clone saga. To see multiple version of the same face all coming to terms with their existence and occasionally impersonating one another was definitely entertaining. Often the more twisty the plot became the more enjoyable and intriguing the ride.

And I did turn around on Tatiana Maslany. Initially her accent work was so raw that it made it hard for me to buy her as each new incarnation. But after a while I was just so impressed with the sheer work load she carried that I began to admire her efforts. The accents became easier to listen to and at times I forgot that it was the same woman playing all of these parts. Her performance as Cosima was the most convincing though I suspect that's the role closest to her native accent.

However, as much as I enjoyed the ride the story is a conspiracy and I don't believe those work on TV. They are a con. They will never deliver emotional payoffs only more cliff-hangers and improbable twists. I would have preferred it if Orphan Black was a one season show and reached a climactic conclusion where Sarah, Fe and Kira disappeared into the sunset. Because that is where this show is going and I don't want to sit through endless variations on this story. I lost count of the number of times Helena played deus ex machina in these ten episodes and next season we'll get new clones, new agents and the whole thing will go round and round again.

I can see why the show caused a buzz. Congratulations to the creators for putting together a great concept and thumbs up to Maslany for a tremendous effort. But I've seen 24, Prison Break, Homeland, Lost, Heroes, FlashForward, Alcatraz, The Event and all those other shows. Conspiracies suck. They are all powerful until the day when the writers don't want them to be.  


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  • I'm still waiting for your email about The Walking Dead. I replied to your comment on the half-season finale review.

    But here's the thing. That's your opinion about Buffy and Lost. Just as I can have mine. If I decide to review The Sopranos you don't have to read it. The tone of your comments are becoming quite irritating. I've offered you the chance to engage with me so take it.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 13/12/2013 10:49am (3 years ago)

  • I don't know where to write this, so I thought I would do it here. So excuse me if I'm not supposed to. Please Robin, don't review The Sopranos. After reading your Boardwalk Empire, I'm not a big fan of the show, but it has similarities to The Sopranos that you won't enjoy. Characters with no morals, criminals getting away with it and I doubt it will get your emotions going, which I know is your big thing you like to throw around in your reviews. I'm really not looking forward to reading your reviews of The Sopranos, especially if you are to comparing Buffy and Lost and how those shows does it better. Because honestly, I rather jam a fork up my eye than see that. Sure, The Sopranos has its flaws, but 50 years time, people will still remember it as a show that paved away for other cable shows like The Shield, Breaking Bad, etc. While in 50 years time, Buffy will be remembered only to die-hard Joss Whedon fans and Lost for having a disappointing finale and smoke monsters.

    By the way, Capone's brother was blitzed with bullets, because that's what happened to him in real life. He brandish a gun and cops shot him dead. The more you know!

    Posted by Funkhouser, 12/12/2013 9:53am (3 years ago)

  • Yeah, not sure. It was an inconclusive ending so I kind of assume they thought the story would continue.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 04/12/2013 12:32am (3 years ago)

  • Oh, I meant for me to comment on what you had to say about BE S04 :)

    I can't remember on Rubicon if it was cancelled before or after production ended. It would be interesting to know, since I too feel like the conclusion was lacking.

    Posted by Brando, 03/12/2013 6:52pm (3 years ago)

  • Hey,

    You can find the BE comment here

    http://www.thetvcritic.org/reviews/dramas/boardwalk-empire/season-4/

    Yes Rubicon was much better. But the end of that season didn't conclude in the most convincing way so even though the show was character and detail focused I don't think it proved anything about how to tell an overall conspiracy story :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 03/12/2013 10:39am (3 years ago)

  • Brandon = Brando. My bad ;)

    Posted by Brandon, 02/12/2013 6:10pm (3 years ago)

  • Rubicon was a great conspiracy show. Too bad they kicked it to the curb :(

    I know from your review of that whole series that it didn't exactly change your mind on conspiracies themselves as a plot device, but did seem to help demonstrate that a conspiracy show with proper thought and execution could still be successful.

    No comment space for Boardwalk Empire Season 4?

    Posted by Brandon, 02/12/2013 6:09pm (3 years ago)

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