TV Talk: Orphan Black

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If you follow me on twitter (wait, you don’t follow me on twitter? Why wouldn’t you follow me on twitter?! Just hit the little “follow me” thingy over there on the sidebar. It’s OK, we’ll wait. Done? Awesome.) you might notice that I like to live tweet TV. A lot.

And yet I rarely talk about TV here. I’m not sure why that is; I tend to focus on writing and books and whatever weird things pop into my head. So I’ve decided to add a new feature with TV Talk. Will it be a regular one? We’ll see.

Anyway, tonight is a new episode of “Orphan Black,” one of the best shows currently on television. You’ll note I didn’t say “sci-fi shows.”

There’s no question it’s sci-fi, as it explores the moral and ethical implications of cloning technology. The thing is, though, that sci-fi tends to be shoved into a little box of genre, and all the art of it becomes eclipsed by the execution of big ideas.

Between its taut writing and phenomenal acting — seriously, Tatiana Maslany is so incredible, it’s difficult, mentally, to keep track of the fact that she is just one person — “Orphan Black” is in an elite category of shows redefining the boundaries of television. Suddenly television is the long-form of storytelling, and “Orphan Black” takes full advantage (as does “12 Monkeys,” but we’ll talk about that one later).

It’s innovative, completely captivating, and populated with a uniquely talented cast, but yet when the Emmys rolled around, it was ignored. Why?

Back to genre.

Nothing reflects us to ourselves quite like science-fiction. We can imagine where we’re going if we keep heading in a direction; we can imagine what will happen if we don’t. We can take social issues out of their sensitive context, and give them a fresh, non-confrontational setting.

The truth can be found in sci-fi, as it always was. Even Ray Bradbury fell victim to the  science-fiction branding; people rarely talk about the crystalline, effortless nature of his prose. Rather, they focus on the brilliant images that prose creates in their minds.

Telling a story vividly, excitingly while giving a glimpse of things possibly to come shouldn’t lessen its artistic value.

It should add to it.

P.S. You may notice I didn’t give a whole lot of details on the show itself; I’m very anti-spoiler. Watch it! Let me know what you think, if you agree with my assessment, or if you think I’m totally off-base.

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