Friday, May 09, 2014

Orphan Black

What started me thinking about this is Foz Meadows and her most recent blog post prompted by the brilliant Canadian television production of Orphan Black. (I'm not giving a link because, believe me, you don't want spoilers for this series.) I've been entranced by this show since it started. Without giving any of the story away it's fair to say the acting by the lead, Tatiana Maslany, is exceptional as is that of Jordan Gavaris - and you'll have to watch it to see what I mean.

The series explores a number of ethical issues and it's often violent. Much of it centres around Sarah Manning who is flawed and not averse to petty cons. She also has a deep love for her daughter and many of her choices are driven by trying to ensure her child is safe. It hadn't struck me until I read Foz Meadows' blog that Sarah is in fact an anti-hero and that such a woman is often held to different standards than a male character. I've been left with much food for thought because I'm deeply invested in Sarah's struggle and I want her to survive but, as Meadows points out, the outcome for such female characters is often very different from that of male characters. Not infrequently the man gets to redeem himself but a similarly placed woman often ends up estranging herself from those she cares about. I'm hoping the writers of Orphan Black don't disappoint me and, given the complexities and unexpected plot turns so far, there seems a good possibility that they won't.

 Here in Australia the second series is now free to air on SBS 2 on Tuesday evening at 8:30.  I have to say SBS 2 has become my favourite channel for quality speculative fiction. So far on Tuesday evenings this year we've been able to watch the first series of Orphan Black, the gripping French series, The Returned (Les Revenants) and series one of The Walking Dead with series two now airing. Even better is that if you happen to miss an episode of any of these you can catch up on SBS On Demand.

I just had a thought. If the Federal Government cuts funding to the ABC and SBS as they are flagging we might lose ABC Iview and SBS On Demand and that would be terrible. Yet another reason for us to support our national non-commercial channels and to make sure the government knows we watch them and want them to survive.

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