If you’re like me and you enjoy your fitness but also love to binge on great television, I definitely have some good news for you. I just finished watching the first season of great two great television shows that feature strong women. If you haven’t seen either “Orange Is The New Black” or “Orphan Black“, let me give you some reasons (without spoilers) why you may need to mix in something new into your television wardrobe.
Orange Is The New Black
I’ll admit that it was Nicole@TheJetSetFamily who brought my attention to this show with a simple tweet that I thought was a fashion reference. Since I nearly always wear black and have come to appreciate the fabulousness of orange, I thought I was finally connecting with current fashion speak but I was wrong – in a good way.
“Orange Is The New Black” is the 13 episode Netflix series based on the memoir by Piper Kerman about her 15 month sentence in a New York prison on a drug trafficking charge committed 10 years prior.
Piper (played by Taylor Schilling) is the last person you’d expect to be charged with drug trafficking – she’s an upper-middle class, white, self-described WASP-y girl with what seems like no street smarts at all. She’s engaged to her boyfriend Larry (played by the lovable Jason Biggs from one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies, “Loser”) and about to launch her high-end soap business at Barney’s with her best friend. Looks can be deceiving as we find out that Piper was once an accomplice in drug smuggling for her lesbian lover, Alex (played by Laura Prepon).
While I found the character of Piper to be annoying, there are so many other characters that I was very drawn to in the show:
- Red (played by Kate Mulgrew of “Star Trek” fame) who runs the prison’s kitchen
- Nicky (played by a haggard looking Natasha Lyonne) a former drug addict
- Sophia (a transgender woman) who acts as a hairstylist for many of the inmates
- Suzanne (aka “Crazy Eyes“) as an unstable inmate with a fixation on Piper
- Miss Claudette (Piper’s roommate) who is strict with the inmates
- Dayanara whose mother is also at the the same prison
The male characters are also captivating but what I find most interesting about this series is the way the back-stories of the characters unfold. Not only do you learn about why they’re in jail but about what brought them to their crime. You also learn more about the people who work at the prison. The routes are so layered and varied. You get to see these people as human beings not just inmates and workers at a prison.
It’s an interesting view into the lives of people who may not normally find themselves as together become a community despite the racism, sexism, politics and competition amongst the inmates and their friends and family.
I’m thrilled that Season 2 of OITNB is coming in 2014. Maybe I’ll even read the book.
Orphan Black is the 10 episode science fiction series that premiered on BBC America on March 30, 2013. The series begins with Sarah Manning, a con-woman on the run, who witnesses the suicide of Elizabeth Childs. Elizabeth Childs looks so much like Sarah that Sarah assumes her life and later finds out that she is a clone – one of many clones.
The 7 clones we meet in the series are all played by one actress, Tatiana Maslany. It is amazing not only that she plays all of these characters quite well (except for maybe the Russian and German accents) but the video advancements that allow for her to be in the scene with one or more of her clones (where the face of each character is clearly visible), is unbelievable! It’s rumored to take 17 hours to film a scene that features the 3 main clones.
It’s not only the 7 different clone characters that pull you into this series. Without giving away spoilers, Orphan Black also offers:
- Eye-candy: Paul (Elizabeth Child’s boyfriend, played by Dylan Bruce)
- Sleuthing: Art (Elizabeth Child’s police partner)
- Cute kid: Kira (Sarah’s daughter)
- Dark Parental figure: Siobhan/Mrs. S (Sarah’s foster mother)
- The Duckie-like side kick: Felix (Sarah’s foster brother, played brilliantly by Jordan Gavaris) has so much of my favorite “Pretty In Pink” character in him it’s hard not to fall in love. The British accent doesn’t hurt (even if it is only for the role).
I was definitely sad that this series was only 10 episodes. It’s difficult to give more details of the plot without giving too much away. Season 2 is scheduled to premiere in April 2014 and I can’t wait!
There’s no doubt in my mind that this is series is one that definitely fell below the radar. You should find out now why Tatiana Maslany won a Critic’s Choice Television Award in 2013. You won’t be sorry.