If you haven’t already, you should watch BBC America’s Orphan Black. I should probably post something about the writing (this being a lot of the point of this blog and all) but like most Orphan Black watchers, you should watch for it’s lead (and supporting and secondary and guest) actress Tatiana Maslany. She is nothing short of amazing in the way she portrays up to maybe 8 (i honestly have lost track) different characters and makes them each their own person.
Yes, the point of acting is to be able to embody different characters with ease and believability but Tatiana does it for the same production often in the same scene as as the picture above details (this gifset on tumblr is better), she portrays a character pretending to be a different character, which basically creates a new character.
I’m a big Joss Whedon fan (have you caught on to that yet? No? It’ll become more evident I’m sure) and while I loved his short-lived show Dollhouse, I wasn’t a big fan of Eliza Dushku playing the lead role. [For those who dont know: Dollhouse had the idea that a human body could be “rented” out to other people, companies, etcwith the original owner’s mental personality removed. The “doll” became a blank slate and the Dollhouse could “imprint” a new personality as requested by the client. So it required being able to embody many different personality types, sometimes with amazing quick changes.] And she didn’t really exceed my expectations during the show’s two seasons. There were maybe a couple of moments where I was impressed. People like Eliza because she’s “hot” and is a “tough action girl” type character, but her acting isn’t all that impressive. Not for the purpose of that show especially. And her mediocre skills stood out in stark comparison to her co-stars (especially Enver Gjokaj who really could switch from one character to another and really make me believe that they were completely different people.
So watching Orphan Black with Tatiana Maslany makes me wish she’d been discovered years ago and was the lead of that other show about one actress playing multiple characters. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do so. It’s got a great beginning story-wise (should lead to some interesting philosophical places) and great acting (most of it done by Tatiana Maslany).
Let me know if you watch!
I love Joss Whedon. I don’t think he’s a perfect showrunner–none of them are, but he is my favorite overall so far. Let me start with: I could never get into Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’ve seen several episodes and know the plot for most of the series, but I could never sit down and watch every episode. I really don’t know why. It’s my biggest failing as a Joss fan, but perhaps someday I will correct this (and blog here about it). Other than that big fail on my part, I love all his other shows: Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse* (special shout out to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog and his movies Serenity, The Avengers, and Cabin the Woods). I can’t wait for his upcoming show SHIELD to come out (though I believe that’s more Jed, Zack, and Maurissa). So here I will try to explain why I love Joss so much.
*Maybe I only like Joss’ one word shows…
I love the worlds he writes in. I’m a nerd who likes the fantasy/sci-fi genre. Fairy tales and monsters and mythology are my jam. So sure I got hooked on Angel (back on TNT when reruns came on before Charmed, another fave show of mine) and followed Joss to Firefly and Dollhouse–all in the same genre. But I don’t get hooked on all sci-fi/fantasy (I’ve never watched Fringe or Supernatural for instance). So what is it about Joss?
I can’t say I can place it, but one place to start are his characters. He really makes you care about them, even when they can turn evil in a second. There is always something about his characters that make you love them. They often are searching for redemption, they usually have a bit of gray & grey morality to them. They are often misfits banding together to fight evil or save the world. And I love how his characters love each other. How they try to save each other and are friends. Watching them learn and grow from each other is really great.
Also Joss can be very good at plotting stories through a season almost seamlessly. On Angel, we weave from Darla’s arrival at the end of season 1, to her involvement with Wolfram and Hart and her brief humanity, to her mission to try to make Angel evil in season 2, to it not woking despite the sex, to her pregnant return in season 3, to her death and Connor’s birth, his kidnapping arc and subsequent return in later season 3, to the Jasmine arc of season 4 (which has a lot of rough patches–more on that some other time) to saving the world and Wolfram and Hart offering them the company in season 5. Each of those major arcs stem from those five minutes at the end of “To Shanshu in LA” where we find Darla in that box. I love that. I love how even though each season has a different feel and new characters and villains who are more and more morally ambiguous, the major arcs of each season are connected to the last.
Joss also has really good plot twists. The final episodes of Angel are among my favorite for how glued to the TV you are.
There will assuredly be more on Joss later, but I wanted to start out with my fave showrunner and blather for a bit.