How Orphan Black’s Helena is Harry Potter Without Hogwarts

I just realized that I never shared this post on my own blog. I submitted this post to Black Girls Nerd Out (@weblackandnerds on Twitter) comparing Helena from Orphan Black and Harry Potter from, yes, Harry Potter. The two characters had a lot in common, so read about their similarities through the link!

Orphan Black’s Helena has lived a rough life. Every episode opens up a new way in which her horrible childhood led her to be the dangerous, awkward, socially inept, starved for love, clone-killer that she is and was. In Season 3 Episode 5, “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations,” Helena reveals this little tidbit: “In convent, I lived for 4 months in a broom closet. I do not rot.”

My Harry Potter-obsessed brain immediately thought of another character who was forced to live in a broom closet as punishment, Harry himself. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Helena is Harry without his Hogwarts education. (I’d also say, without magic, but there’s definitely something more about Helena.)

Read the rest: How Orphan Black’s Helena is Harry Potter Without Hogwarts — Black Girls Nerd Out

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Clone Club MVP Orphan Black Finale

Just realized I never shared my Orphan Black MVP post here! For shame! In typical corny fashion, the MVP for the final episode of Orphan Black’s 3rd season was everyone, every member of Clone Club. This includes everyone who was at the Bubbles dinner (Sarah, Cosima, Alison, Helena, Donnie, Mrs. S, Scott, Felix, and Art) and poor, self-sacrificing Delphine. It remains to be seen if she is a current or former member of Clone Club.

Click through for all my breakdowns of what made each character a key member of clone club in the Orphan Black finale.

While you’re here, you can click through to my HelloGiggles article on Tatiana Maslany‘s well-deserved—and long fought for—Emmy nomination!

Also I never shared my post about Paul’s MVP week! Here it is! So sorry to have already forgotten you, Major Dieden….

This week’s ‘Orphan Black’ Clone Club MVP: Donnie and Helena, hands-down

I love Orphan Black MVPs and this week’s episode made my choice especially fun. Only one more week of decisions to make!

Another week of hard Clone Club MVP choices. Mrs. S stepped up and literally took the stage and Sarah used her endless determination to find the Castor original, but this week showcased the show’s best comedic pairing to date: Helena and Donnie. We were going to dedicate this week’s MVP to Donnie alone, but his strengths are magnified by Helena.

Click through to recap why Donnie and Helena were the BEST this week. Love this pairing so much! This week’s ‘Orphan Black’ Clone Club MVP: Donnie and Helena, hands-down

It’s a tie for this week’s ‘Orphan Black’ Clone Club MVP: Krystal and Helena

This week’s Orphan Black MVP(s) are up! I cheated and picked two because I can do that.

It's a tie for this week's 'Orphan Black' Clone Club MVP

Twins are ‘creepy.’ Turns out, you’re pretty creepy, Krystal.

This week’s Orphan Black didn’t make picking an MVP very easy. There were so many good scenes and moments that it’s almost impossible to keep track, but let’s try. We loved everything Scott related! We loved Felix for being so kind and for his American accent! We loved the lovely Mexican diner owner who didn’t rat Sarah and Helena out to (a lightly toasted and fried) Doctor Coady! Basically we had such a hard time picking an MVP that we cheated and picked two. Sorry not sorry.

Our MVPs are Krystal and Helena. Krystal, for her heart and her sacrifice, and Helena for her humor and her awkward facial expressions.

Click through to find out why! It’s a tie for this week’s ‘Orphan Black’ Clone Club MVP.

‘Orphan Black’ Clone Club MVP: Alison Hendrix and her pink hats

Alison might be my favorite #CloneClub clone, so I was delighted when we got to see so much more of her on this week’s Orphan Black.

Congrats to Alison, our pick for this week’s Clone Club MVP. Why is this episode her episode? Because of the way she triumphs over all the obstacles that come her way (which are many).

We’ve been waiting for Alison to get her moment in the spotlight and for her story to connect just a little bit more to the rest of the overall plot, and this week that finally happened. Alison’s campaign for school trustee is usually so isolated from the other story lines, but thankfully it’s now a bit more connected to Felix and Cosima. Applause.

Read more at  ‘Orphan Black’ Clone Club MVP: Alison Hendrix and her pink hats

Orphan Black Clone Club MVP Week 5: Mrs S Takes the Stage

Also known as that time Maria Doyle Kennedy replied to the MVP post!

Over on HelloGiggles, Mrs. S was this week’s Clone Club MVP!

Felix and Mrs S

Siobhan Sadler (aka Mrs. S) is not someone who is easy to trust. Even the pieces of backstory revealed in this week’s “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations” episode had me side-eyeing her, wary of the information. We’ve been groomed by her foster daughter Sarah to distrust Mrs. S, and with cause. However, Mrs. S’s genuine concern for Sarah’s absence proves her own claim that she’s always looked out for Sarah’s (and Felix and Kira’s) best interests. I love her complexity.

I say a lot more about Mrs. S’s complexity and why she is a template for how we should take newest flawed mother Dr. Virginia Coady (the Castor Clones’ mother figure). Clicky click to read more: Mrs. S is our ‘Orphan Black’ Clone Club MVP of the week.

THEN, the HelloGiggles Twitter account shared the post on their social media (I think that means they like me!):

Then someone added Mrs. S actress Maria Doyle Kennedy to a tweet:

and she responded:

I’m not under the impression she read the article, but she acknowledged my post and knows that I thought she was fantastic last week!

EDIT: Three Weeks Later.

I’ve learned that the Official Orphan Black Facebook Page shared this post! Seems like once you start talking about Mrs S, everyone wants to share! Sad I only learned this three weeks later though…

Click through to see the original post

Click through to see the official Orphan Black FB page post

‘Orphan Black’ Clone Club MVP Week 4: Helena and her teeth of steel

An angel of death is still an angel.

We were only about 10 minutes into this week’s Orphan Black episode and I already knew who the Clone Club MVP was going to be. While Sarah patches up Mark, Alison confronts an old boyfriend, and Cosima contemplates finding a new girlfriend, Helena is all alone with her imaginary scorpion and yet seems to have more control over her situation than any of the others.

Click through to read more of why I chose Helena this week. And check the previous MVPs for this season of Orphan Black so far over on HelloGiggles.

‘Orphan Black’ Clone Club MVP of the Week: Art; plus some thoughts on Beth Childs

This week’s Orphan Black Clone Club MVP was hard to pin down. When I started this series, I wanted to just focus on our Leda clones, our Tatiana Maslanys. But this season has expanded its storytelling past the ladies on to an ever-growing cast of characters spread out across this world, so it’s only fair that the MVP nominations extend to the entire cast. This week’s MVP was hard to choose—Gracie almost made the cut—but Art is truly one of Clone Club’s Most Valuable Players.

This week on Orphan Black, Art helps Sarah track down one of Johannsen’s (Gracie’s father who impregnated her and Helena) former allies, who might have information on the Castor and Leda originals.

Read more: ‘Orphan Black’ Clone Club MVP of the Week: Art.

And can I just say how interesting it is that they’re still including Beth in the story? She died three seasons ago and her presence is still felt throughout Clone Club. I would love a flashback episode or series of scenes that explore her life before she killed Maggie Chen, showing her partnership with Art. What drew him to her? Did she love him back? What did her early relationship with Cosima and Alison look like. And what were her final hours like, the decision to kill herself must have taken a lot, she already knew Helena was coming after them. Was she heading her off at the pass or was that not even in her mind? Ponder Beth with me and let’s appreciate Detective Arthur Bell.

Orphan Black Clone Club MVP Week 2: Seth

Week Two of Clone Club MVP is up on Hello Giggles! This has been a fun way to recap the episode. This week, I wasn’t expecting to pick the male clones… I wanted to focus on the girls. But they successfully drew me in to the Project Castor clones, so I had to give them the MVP for that. Click through to read more!

Each week, we’re recapping Orphan Black by choosing a Clone Club MVP. See past recaps here

This week’s story was once again very Sarah driven, but with the new Project Castor clones given more spotlight and personality. We saw four of our boy clone brothers: Seth (mustache) and Rudy (scar), Mark (who ran off with pregnant Grace), and the unnamed military brother who waterboarded Helena. I give Seth the Most Valuable Clone award for this week. May he rest in peace.

Read More: ‘Orphan Black’ Clone Club MVP of the Week: It’s Seth, hands down.

New Blog Series! Clone Club MVP: Orphan Black

ConStar Hello giggles ProileI started a new series on a new (for me) blog this week! My dear IRL and Twitter friend Sulagna connected me with the positive people with Hello Giggles!

For my first post/series, I wanted to talk about the clones of Orphan Black! We focus on the show as a whole or the amazing Tatiana Maslany a lot, and each clone gets tons of cosplay and fandom faves love, but I wanted to talk about each clone in each episode of season 3. So I started Clone Club MVP (or: #mostvaluableclone)!

I’m really excited to do something different and to do a different form of a Orphan Black recap. Those are plentiful across the internet. But each character brings something new to the show each week (as performed by Tatiana), so I wanted to praise one clone a week and talk about the each episode through that lens. So check out my first post on Orphan Black! I’ll have subsequent posts up on Sundays/Mondays now that I’ve been getting the hang of how posting works on HG.

Check it out and let’s discuss, #CloneClub!

Clone Club MVP: Orphan Black “The Weight of This Combination”

Three-cap City: Game of Thrones, iZombie, and Arrow.

I did THREE recaps last week, all for my friends over at The Nerds of Color! I might be a little insane. If you watch Game of Thrones, iZombie, or Arrow, I’ve got recaps for you! (I feel like a dude with a trenchcoat on the train selling watches.)

NOC Recaps Game of Thrones: Control Your DragonNOC Recaps <i>Game of Thrones</i>: Control Your Dragon

I connect the major stories of this week’s Game of Thrones to find the common thread: everyone has lost control of their source of power and now they need to rein it in. Daenarys and her dragons, Tyrion and Jon and their compassion, and Brienne’s loyalty have gotten them this far but are now getting them into trouble they need to get out of. Clearly this is what we should expect from season five.

NOC Recaps iZombie: What About the Zombies of Color?NOC Recaps <i>iZombie</i>: What About the Zombies of Color?

Over on my iZombie recap, I care less about the case of the week and more about knowing more about Ravi. Also, I question why the zombie of color on the show don’t change when the Liv and the other caucasian zombies do. Have they just not figured it out yet?

NOC Recaps Arrow: Pulling out the Arsenal

NOC Recaps <i>Arrow</i>: Pulling Out the Arsenal

Finally, on Arrow, I predicted half of what happened and was shocked (and pleasantly surprised) by the other half. Join me in pouring out a little liquor (or sparkling grape) for our absent soldier from Team Arrow.

Soon I’ll have an Orphan Black post or two to share with you and as always, check out my TV MVPs for the week over on Just About Write!

The Emmys Need New Categories

The Emmys were over a week ago, but as the fall season approaches, I can’t help but continue to think about the shows that weren’t and won’t ever (it seems) be nominated for the most prestigious TV award out there.

There are so many more shows on the air than when the Emmys first began. There have been new categories added in the years since, with an entire separate ceremony for the “Creative Arts” Emmy’s, but with the evolution of television has come the evolution of genres. Shows are not simply drama or comedy anymore. Single camera comedies (which moved comedies from being mutli-cam only to a two method shooting process) and programs like Orange is the New Black (which views like a drama (and is an hour long) but submitted an Emmy nom in the comedy category) show that maybe the Emmys need an update regarding genre.

I believe there are so many shows out there where the actors, writers, producers, and crew work just as hard on their show as the staff of the Breaking Bads and Modern Familys out there, but they’re not recognized because their genre is properly represented. There are three genres that I think could use an Emmy boost, if just so that the people working on them can get the recognition they deserve. Dramedy, Procedural, and Science Fiction Fantasy.

Dramedy

Emmys Outstanding Dramedy

Dramedies are a relatively new designation we’ve been giving comedies that have serious moments and dramas that aren’t dark and heavy. A lot of the shows airing this fall 2014 seem to fit either drama, comedy (or the other two categories I’ll talk about later), but aren’t really straight up dramedies. I think shows like Castle and Bones are both drama and comedy, but would go in my proposed Procedural category. Pushing Daisies was also a hearty mixture of both comedy and drama, but again, could also fit either Procedural or even Science Fiction. That’s the hybrid nature of these kinds of shows and I think that they should be rewarded for touching both sides of the spectrum–it’s not easy to make your audience both laugh and cry without creating jarring moments of mood whiplash.

Shows that I think would (have) benefit(ed) from a separate Dramedy category include:

  • Pushing Daisies
  • Chuck
  • Ugly Betty (an hour long drama that submitted in the Comedy category, and won at least one that I know of [Best Actress in a Comedy to America Fererra])
  • The Carrie Diaries (a Drama based on Best Comedy winner Sex and the City )
  • Psych
  • Glee – (Dare I include this) I believe they’ve submitted under Comedy before, despite tackling serious issues and being properly considered an hour long Drama.
  • Up All Night – the short-lived Christina Applegate/Will Armett show reminds me of a network comedy that probably could have done better if it had not been trying so hard to be funny. I think the show had an understated humor to it that works for dramedies more than straight up comedies and if Dramedy were an accepted genre of television, then people would have understood it more.
  • Orange is the New Black – might have won the awards it submitted for (though I do recognize Uzo Aduba for winning, though I wouldn’t call her a “guest” actress on her show).

Procedural

Emmys Outstanding Procedural

There are dozens of procedurals on TV these days. From the umpteen CSIs and the prevailing Law and Orders, there’s no lack of cop/investigative shows out there. And due to the overwhelming number of shows in the Procedural genre, rarely do they get recognized for the work they do. I watch the quirky procedurals; Castle, (I’m an ex-Bones fan), Psych, could we consider Veronica Mars a procedural? Those shows often could fit under Dramedy as well, but I think a Procedural category would give shows like this more attention. These shows last long–the production staff, crew, and actors work long hours for many years trying to make fresh stories in a sea of other shows just like them. That’s not an easy feat. Several of these shows do the “ripped from the headlines” stories and some do them better than others. The guest casts can make us laugh or cry or feel fear as the murderer stalks someone down a dark alley. These shows may be “easy” or formulaic, but the shows that upend or subvert the formula should be recognized, but because there’s not that much room in the drama category, they often go unnoticed.

Shows that I think would (have) benefit(ed) from a separate Procedural category include:

  • Castle
  • Bones – not sure I’m confident it would win any, I’ve got problems with the way the writers progress then unravel character development constantly, but I think some of it’s early seasons warranted recognition for twisting procedural tropes.
  • Psych – though I think it’s stronger in the Dramedy category
  • Pushing Daisies – never forget this was a procedural. They solved crimes every episode.
  • Veronica Mars – strong, witty writing; strong female lead; great fun stories with sometimes great, sometimes faulty twists. Worthy of recognition for season 1 at the least.
  • Person of Interest – I don’t watch this show, but many people who do love it and think it’s amazing.
  • Elementary – Again, a show I don’t watch, but people who do love. It also inverts many Sherlock Holmes/Buddy cop tropes that deserves more praise, even from a non-viewer.
  • Lie to Me – I miss Lie to Me every season it’s not on the air. I think the idea was brilliant and it was a really smart show. Tim Roth’s a great actor and the characters were lovely. I would have given it all the awards.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Emmys Outstanding SFF

Lastly is the Sci-Fi Fantasy (SFF) Category that I’d fight the strongest for, not only because most of the shows I watch are in this category (and therefore never win any major Emmys), but because the extra level of suspension of disbelief that the show must give their audience–transporting them to another world or time–is extra work that a show must put in. If a show like Buffy puts in seven years of making audiences believe these fantastical things could happen and that these characters could react in the way they do–often with the actors acting against green screen or with ridiculous set decoration–then that deserves recognition. It would also help shows like Game of Thrones–which has quite a few Emmy nominations (DINKLAGE!), actually win the awards. (If there was a SFF category, Game of Thrones would be the Breaking Bad or Modern Family of it’s category; it would win every year I am sure.)

Shows I think would (have) benefit(ted) from this category:

  • Angel – mostly just because it’s my favorite show ever, but also because the writing was often very strong and engaging.
  • Game of Thrones – obviously. It’s *this* close to winning all the awards now, much less if it had a separate category.
  • Pushing Daisies
  • Smallville – I never watched the show and I’ve heard mixed things about it, but you want to tell me that it went 10 seasons and there weren’t any award worthy moments? I think if there was a category for it’s genre, it could have warranted some nominations.
  • The X-Files – Another show I’ve never seen, but it’s such a cult classic that I think it must have some award worthy episodes or acting moments in it’s episode catalogue
  • Orphan Black – This category would be the saving grace to finally get Tatiana Maslany the Emmy she so well deserves.
  • Fringe – a cult classic show I haven’t watched yet, but from the word of it’s fans, it seems like there could be some Emmy moments in writing in it’s repertoire of episodes.

There are plenty of shows in each category that I am missing (or adding simply because I like the show and maybe it doesn’t have Emmy worthy writing or performances; I admit this is possible), but that’s where you come in. If these Emmy categories existed, what shows would you submit? Any particular episodes? I know some of the shows I listed above are very adaptable to more than one category, but if OITNB can submit for Best Comedy, and Uzo Aduba can submit for Best Guest Actress (rather than supporting), then submission guidelines can be pretty subjective.

How do we get the Emmy committee to considering adding even just one new category that expands the list of shows able to be seen and nominated? With the advent of reality television, there began an entire reality genre section to the award ceremony itself (was there a year where five reality hosts “hosted” the Emmys? Am I making that up or did that nightmare of an idea actually happen?), so we know the committee is capable of adapting to the times. I most strongly desire SFF, but Dramedy is much needed category as well.

Current Emmy (and Creative Arts Emmy’s) Categories

(P.S.

As much as I want a Dramedy category, it’d be really hard to take anyone serious when saying the word on television. I am trying to imagine the President of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences saying the word, and it’s just fuzzy. But we’d find a way to work around it.)

Related Emmy Posts:

Is TV getting more diverse? Not by the look of this year’s Emmys via Lee and Low

Who Are the Emmy Voters?

Who Are the Emmy Voters?

Another Tatiana Maslany Emmy Nomination Snub — Vulture

Emmy nominations came out today and they’re extremely frustrating. I’ve never claimed to watch the most popular or hit shows on television, if I do, it’s usually after they’ve ended or the hype has gone down. I watch oddball stuff, the low-rated critical darling comedies (on NBC lol) and sci-fi/fantasy/action stuff (I’m binging Arrow, and I’m really enjoying it so far!). The shows I watch are hardly ever nominated. It’s not like I’m expecting Sleepy Hollow to win all the awards, I’m not. But Emmy noms make me wonder who is voting for the shows that get picked. Is it a representative sample of television watchers? Or just a bunch of old white men (and probably some women, which is good but not great) like every other prestigious committee?

We don’t really know who they are for some obvious reasons, but are there demographics available? I am thinking women are decently represented, especially with Orange is the New Black‘s nominations, and there are plenty of action loving men if HBO’s record breaking nominations are any indication. I’ve lost count of how many Game of Thrones received–this I am pleased with–but a lot of the people I know who watch Game of Thrones, also watch Orphan Black. There is a reason Sci-fi/Fantasy are so often lumped together when people list categories–fans one of often like stuff from the other. (Obviously not always, you usually pick one over the other–I’m more Fantasy than sci-fi myself.)

So who is voting for Game of Thrones but has no interest in Orphan Black? Who is voting for fantastic women on Netflix but isn’t interested in one fantastic woman playing many fantastic women on BBC America?I get that there are many other considerations to voting, people’s personal interests and whatever the For Your Consideration choice was, but for a second year in a row, an amazing actress was overlooked. And that doesn’t count the mainstream snubs: I don’t even watch The Good Wife and I think it was snubbed for a best drama nomination.

I wish we knew more about these voters. Where are they coming from? What makes them decide the way they do? Do we need an upgrade of the entire system? Like many things, I kind of imagine they haven’t changed the way they do things, or include people, in ages. Have they widened their net of voters in this ever expanding age of television? They need more sci-fi watchers, more fantasy watchers, more young people, more people who will vote for Amy Poehler to finally win that comedy award she so achingly deserves (they’ve got this year and next to recognize. She might get another show immediately, but she deserves it for Parks so, so much). There’s more television happening than ever before and it’s not being looked at by the Emmy committee. There are more networks, more internet voices coming to play in the big leagues; have we included voters to represent those new voices that these new networks and new shows are trying to bring to the forefront? The Emmy pool just tells me that the efforts being made to bring diversity to the screen isn’t being made in the voting pool.

Maybe we need a category for science fiction, since it’s the most snubbed TV genre that I can think of. Maybe I am wrong or misinformed,  but the selections aren’t showing the true pool of talent on television and isn’t that what the Emmy’s are for*?

*The answer is probably actually all about money. So everything I said means nothing. Except, the Good Wife is a hit show on the “number one network,” you know some hefty money is involved there. Ok, I’m done rambling about Emmy snubs now.

Check out the full nomination list here: http://www.thewrap.com/emmy-awards-nominees-nominations-emmys/ 

ConStar Studies Orphan Black (And Dollhouse)

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!