Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"I threw my pie for you."

I follow a lot of entertainment-related people on my Twitter account. I also tend to follow people that I agree with so, sometimes my perception of what the majority of people are actually watching and enjoying is a little skewed. From my Facebook feed, it seems like most of my friends have not yet discovered my two new favorite shows so I thought I would try to change that, especially considering those same friends compose the majority of my readers.

Over the past month, my Twitter timeline has been a constant love-fest for new shows Orphan Black on BBC America and Orange Is The New Black on Netflix. I was not initially planning to watch either, but I could not ignore the loud voices telling me how amazing these shows are and I am very glad that I gave into the peer pressure. They were right and you should all be watching them as well.

While it was actually airing, I had only seen a few posts here and there about Orphan Black but again, mostly from entertainment writers and bloggers and mostly from the same few people. However, after hearing about Tatiana Maslany for four days straight at this year's ATX Television Festival, I decided I should probably see what everyone was talking about.

The pilot starts with a woman named Sarah Manning standing on a train platform when she sees another woman who looks exactly like her jump in front of a train. Sarah steals this woman's purse and identity and plans to clean out her bank account before leaving town with her own daughter and foster brother. However, she soon discovers that there is much more to this woman, Beth Childs, and their identical appearance than she first thought and she soon meets Katja, Alison, Cosima and Helena. They are all clones and are trying to figure out where they came from.

Maslany plays all of the clones and is absolutely fantastic. You forget that the same actress is playing all of these characters because they look and act and sound so different. It is rather remarkable. I had only ever seen her in one episode of Flashpoint and she was great in that small role but, after watching this show, it is baffling to me that she has managed to stay under the radar until now.

The rest of the cast is equally fantastic and includes Jordan Gavaris, Dylan Bruce, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kevin Hanchard, Michael Mando, Skyler Wexler, Inga Cadranel and Matt Frewer.

The second season unfortunately does not come out until April 2014 but, luckily for you, the first season DVDs were just released! That means you have plenty of time to catch up on this amazing show!

With Orange Is The New Black, even though I am a fan of Weeds, I had no intention of watching it right when Netflix put the episodes online. I thought I would get to it eventually, but was not planning to binge watch like I had done with House of Cards or Arrested Development. However, after two days of every one on my Twitter feed raving about how good this show is, I decided I better check it out. I ended up watching every episode over the course of three days because it was just that good. The best of the Netflix shows so far, in my opinion.

Based on Piper Kerman's memoir of the same name, the show is about the fifteen months she spent in a women's prison for helping an ex smuggle drugs. Piper is played by Taylor Schilling and the rest of the main cast includes Laura Prepon as her ex-girlfriend, Michael J. Harney as her prison counselor, Michelle Hurst and Kate Mulgrew are fellow inmates and Jason Biggs is her fiance.

Every one in the main cast are great, but it is the phenomenal supporting cast that is really the heart and soul of this show. It includes, but is certainly not limited to, Deborah Rush and Michael Chernus as Piper's mother and brother, Todd Susman and Kathryn Kates as her future in-laws, other inmates are played by Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning, Dascha Polanco, Samira Wiley, Yael Stone, Laverne Cox and, my personal favorite, Uzo Aduba who plays Crazy Eyes. The prison staff includes Pablo Schreiber, Matt McGorry Joel Garland and Catherine Curtin. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. I could list every single actor in every single role because they are each amazing and essential to the story.

The episodes give you some back story about how Piper and her fellow inmates ended up in prison as well as how they deal with relationships inside of prison and with family and friends on the outside. It is especially interesting to see how Piper views her fellow inmates when she first goes in and how she feels about them and herself by the end of the season. 

This show is a comedy, but it has a lot of heart and definitely says a lot about how we view prisoners as a society. If you have Netflix, I suggest you start watching it now, and if you do not have Netflix, either get yourself a subscription or find a friend who does and invite yourself over to watch this immediately.

I have already watched every episode of Orphan Black twice and plan to start rewatching Orange Is The New Black very soon. Also, in case you missed it when it aired on the USA Network, Political Animals is now streaming on Netflix. The show itself, along with actors Sigourney Weaver and Ellen Burstyn were just nominated for Emmys. It is only six episodes, but I highly recommend checking it out.

This post was a little longer than I intended when I started, so I hope you made it all the way to the end. And, I know I say this all the time, but I really am going to try my best to get back in the habit of writing more regularly.