We all have that friend who, through bad taste or mere ignorance, cannot be trusted to make their own TV-viewing decisions. They won't even make time for a show as gripping and mind-blowing as Orphan Black, which is a travesty. Here's a guide for convincing your resident Luddite to bite the bullet and join you in the pursuit of good television.
Not until you've watched the first several episodes of Orphan Black does it occur to you that it's not just another sci-fi show about a girl on the run. It's a fantastic, speculative fiction thriller about a cast of diverse clones, all played by the insanely talented Tatiana Maslany. The clones build relationships with each other, teach each other, and love (and hate) each other. What they don't do is fight over boys or jump out at each other in sexy catsuits. They form the kind of complex relationships featured in dozens of other thrillers — where the cast is predominately male. The men of Orphan Black aren't portrayed as villains or demons, but they are supporting characters — appearing occasionally and often sexualized. Kind of the way women appear on most shows of the same genre. Neato.
I'm not even remotely an actor-type, but I think we've all fantasized about what kind of action hero we'll want to play when Hollywood inevitably knocks on our door. A con-artist badass? A cute geek girl with an edge? Maybe a momma-bear type or a dirty cop on the run? This is what makes Orphan Black incredible — we get all of these roles from one actress, Tatiana Maslany. If your friend is too busy singing Broadway standards in the shower or rehearsing monologues to sit her butt down on the couch and watch, point out the insane level of acting craft at work here.
Take into account the first episode, where Maslany's primary character Sarah Manning suddenly discovers her clone self. Instead of learning about her other selves through exposition, the audience learns about them through actual interactions. Emotionally tense scenes keep viewers on edge, and there's excellent chemistry between the characters at all times (especially the ones who are played by Maslany herself). One scene that will illustrate this to your friend is when two characters go head-to-head to impersonate the same person. Get your friend watching, then casually remind her — it isn't two actresses. It's one actress playing act opposite herself. You've gotta give Tatiana Maslany a hand. She deserves that (and about a dozen awards).
Go out with your friend, cause some trouble, and pass out in your eyeliner. She'll wake up the next morning with a smudge-eyed Sarah look and her own identity in question. Play Felix, and help her dig through her texts and Instagram account to put together the pieces of the life of the person she was last night. Maybe she was just like Beth — did she leave any hidden accounts for her to find? Does she have a sexy boyfriend hidden somewhere? Is she a cop? Ponder it over hash browns while marathon-watching Orphan Black the next day. Bonus points if you hang some half-finished canvases and strut around in a kimono like Felix.
Season 1 of Orphan Black is ten episodes. At 48-ish minutes an episode, that's about eight hours. Most of us do something way more miserable for eight hours a day than watch one of the year's best TV shows. In less than a workday, you can catch your friend up and get him ready for Season 2. Does he have an obnoxious chore that takes precedence over binge watching TV? Offer to help, so long as you both get to park in front of the TV the whole time. Add bonus points for matching each clone with a chore. Organizing your craft supplies? What an Alison thing to do! Alphabetizing your prescriptions? Oh, you're such a Beth.
If these ideas don't get your friend to sit still and ride the roller coaster that is Orphan Black, drastic measures may be necessary. I don't personally advocate tying someone to a chair and threatening him with a glue gun, but I do know a lady who might.
Tini Howard is a freelance blogger, journalist, resume writer, and novelist.