Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Orphan Black: One of a Kind

If you are a fan of science-fiction, badass chicks, illegal experimentation, or you are simply a Canadian, then you surely have heard of Orphan Black. If you have not, you either live under a rock or are too busy recruiting zealots for The Proletheans. So sit down, grab some popcorn and read why Orphan Black is TV's hottest new show!

**This post may contain spoilers.

Same Chick, Different DNA

Orphan Black can seem confusing at first, especially when you try to explain it without spoilers. No worries, the whole premise of Orphan Black is laid out frantically by fan-favourite Alison Hendrix, one of many lead characters played by Tatiana Maslany, in the third episode of the first season. So you won't have to wait long to know why Alison looks like Beth who looks like Sarah who looks like Katia who looks like Rachel who looks like Cosima who...well, you get it. All these chicks are running around trying to figure out why they look alike and although it may seem cliché at first, the writers find enough wit between them to branch out of the mould (pun intended), once the secret is revealed. So take note, Maslany plays ALL of these characters. And the acting is beyond incredible.

Location Shots

Being from Canada and having visited Toronto multiple times, it's quite fun to catch glimpses of the city being passed off as Minnesota or a generic North American town. It is never explicitly revealed that the setting is in Toronto, with no mention of the city ever being dropped by characters, but there are several key buildings and artifacts that mark it as a product of the maple leaf.
  • Cars have clear Ontario licence plates;
  • They use money that can be identified as Canadian;
  • They mention nearby Canadian cities (and mock the suburbs);
  • Bridgepoint Health (Holla University of Toronto!) is used as the Dyad Headquarters. So is Don Jail;
  • Jim's Restaurant is used as the meeting point for Helena and Sarah (both played by Maslany.)
  • Check out this link for more on-screen clues.
"That Shakira-Haired Look-A-Like"

Helena is quite possibly the most terrifying "bad guy" to ever be introduced to television. Contrary to all the other characters played by Maslany, Helena was raised to believe that she was flawed, a product of evil, and that she must eradicate all the other look-a-likes. But like all good villains, Helena is self-tortured, corrupted, and confused. Add that to her manic hair-do and *batshitcrazy* attitude, and guys, you have yourself TV's most fucked up villain.

The Proletheans

It's hard to talk about these weirdos without spoiling too much and I really want everyone to watch this show without knowing all of the details. But these guys are the creepiest group of people to roam TVland since The Others. They do terrible things in the name of religion and then believe that they are righteous and above everyone else. They are basically the Westboro Baptist Church. How fucking creepy is that! They're like...an Amish mafia.

Evelyne Brochu

Evelyne Brochu may not be recognized outside of La Belle Province but here in Québec, she's a household name, notably appearing in Aveux and Polytechnique. She guest-stars in the first season and is promoted to the main cast for the second season. Although she is a native of Québec, her characters is of French decent and she pulls off the French accent effortlessly. She eases her way into the dramatic narrative and cements her place by the end of season 1.

Product Quality

If you've watched the show, that sub-header is a Big Pun (aha that was also a pun. You know, the rapper?! Nevermind.) I don't like bashing home-grown products but Canadian television is usually crap. Like below crap. Quality is just not there and there is no standard in television producing. Yeah, Orphan Black not only changed the rules of the game, it created new ones. The technology and the effects on this show are comparable to none, and above all. The way Maslany interacts with herself as different characters in one scene is breath-taking. Peter Jackson should take note.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Jordan Gavaris as Felix;
  • The pacing of this show has more adrenaline than 24;
  • Vic the Dick.

From the minute you start the show until it's incredible season 2 finale, you will be left breathless and heaving, scratching the screen for season 3 to start. I swear you will not be dissapointed!

Candles are out,
Eleven's Ink.

Friday, September 26, 2014

11/22/63 Fantasy Cast

Wow. It's been so long since I actually opened this account, let alone write an entry. But I was so excited when I found out that Hulu was working on a web series based on 11/22/63 by Stephen King, that I just couldn't contain myself any longer. Guys, another King series!!

So it's very easy to get lost when adapting a book to the small screen. I find it almost more painful to watch than a silver screen adaptation that robbed the gold from the soul of my favourite book. If it can't be adapted into something better, than don't touch it. Right?

And I am so biased when it comes to King adaptations because frankly, they can't go wrong. They just can't. There is too much framework and solid foundations in Stephen King's body of work that it's almost impossible to fuck it up. People have been adapting King novels for over three decades, ranging from Carrie to The Shining and without forgetting the abysmal yet still entertaining Storm of the Century.

Lately, King has been dropping bricks for novels and his two latest projects, Under the Dome and 11/22/63, have both been critical and commercials successes. Under the Dome was not only a fantastic book, but Brian K. Vaughn (peace be upon him) also managed to make it into a top-rated TV drama which saw it change major key elements that grounded the book in science-fiction, while still retaining that very quirky side of King that either makes or breaks the tone of the work.

I'm just thinking about It, where King's macabre view on childhood was mixed with a somewhat comical view on adulthood. It was a perfect blend of horror and slapstick. Or how about Pet Sematary, where we have zombie cats and murderous children all wrapped up in the same movie. It blended scare and laughs brilliantly.

With that being said, I hope they keep the quirky style that has been attributed to King while not being afraid of exploring the macabre and mysterious point of view of one of America's most recognized author.

You can read my Under the Dome Fantasy Cast blog entry here and see how my wishlist did not come to life. At all. lol. Still wish they had picked better actors. Buggers.

Now on to my top ten list of characters I believe should carry forward with the adaptation and which actor I would like to see portray them. Enjoy!

Milo Ventimiglia as Jake Epping AKA George Amberson

Jake Epping is the protagonist of this time-travelling story but also the antagonist, in the sense that he is creating all of these problems by changing what was. And who better to play Happy-Yet-Sad than Milo Ventimiglia, the king of the happysad face. He also has the ability to play older and younger quite well as evidence by his portrayal of Peter in Heroes. Overall, Milo has the sex appeal and charm to carry the weight of a character that is both troubled and optimistic, both in the past, the present, and the future. Take note Hulu, I want Milo.

Gemma Arterton as Sadie Dunhill

Sadie Dunhill is the typical 60's woman; soft, gentile, and loyal to her man. And what is great about this character is her willingness to become a modern woman; a desire that sets off a chain of events that puts Jake's mission in jeopardy. King has always been good at writing strong female characters, and he doesn't disappoint this time again. So it took all of one second to think of Gemma Arterton in this role: she's young, she's soft-spoken, and she can pull off the complexity of Sadie's character.

Hal Holbrook as Al Templeton

Al Templeton is the man that starts the fire but doesn't stay around to see its path of destruction. He's a very mysterious character and has a small but pivotal role in the novel. That is why I hope they expand his role for the Hulu adaptation. So many questions derive from this character: how did he find the timeloop? What does he know about the future that makes him so determined to send Jake, specifically, to the past? Why doesn't he keep this for him and take over the world? I know Holbrook is on the verge of dying but this man is flawless when it comes to drama and mystery. He has the face for it! Somebody give this man a role with substance!!

Scott Patterson as Deke Simmons

If the term "Bromance" had existed in the 60s, Deke Simmons and Jake's relationship would have been the perfect embodiment of it. Deke is not only Jake's best friend in Jodie circa 1960, but he's also his confident and helps Jake move along in his mission. I have a soft spot for Deke because he just doesn't know how to be mean-spirited. If there was ever a character that gave me hope for humanity, it's Deke Simmons. Scott Patterson has those charming eyes that would make anyone believe in him. And yes, another The Event alumni on the list.

Monica Potter as Mimi Corcoran

Mimi Corcoran is an odd character in the sense that she doesn't fit the 60's Texas era. I always suspected that Mimi knew more than she let on about Jake/George and the whole timeloop but it's never explicitly written in the novel. So I really hope they cast a big name to play this part and expand her character to someone more dubious or all-knowing. And I'm a sucker for Monica Potter's dramatic timing and southern flare.

Derek Luke as Harry Dunning

Harry Dunning is the janitor at the school that Jake works at prior to him jumping back in time. He's a very soft-spoken, quiet man who shares his childhood horror story with Jake, which touches the latter's heart so much that he jeopardizes his mission in the past to reconcile Harry's traumatic and violent childhood. During this time, Jake stumbles upon the kids in Derry. You know, the same kids who battled an evil clown in another King novel... Plus it would be the perfect role for Derek Luke, since he still has those boyish looks even though he's far from being a boy.

Lili Taylor as Ellen Dockerty

Ellen Dockerty is the quintessential stuck-up teacher that everyone had at least once in their lifetime. She plays by the book and her loyalty to the rules of life are challenged when she meets George/Jake in Jodie circa 1960. It takes a special kind of charm to pull off this kind of character because Ellen is both tough yet maternal, impulsive yet instinctive. And Lili Taylor proved more than once that she can play a character with dual personalities. Mel Gibson's Ransom, anyone?

Michael Stahl-David as Lee Harvey Oswald

This is where it gets interesting. Lee Harvey Oswald is the man responsible for gunning down and assassinating former president, and civil rights activist, John F. Kennedy. King's approach to this historical event is both well-researched and thoroughly detailed. Although he manages to humanize Oswald, he also doesn't back down from the hard facts: Oswald was deranged and believed himself to be a messiah of sorts. It won't be easy to play this part, but I believe Michael Stahl-David would be perfect at portraying Oswald, insanity and all. Whoever gets cast will surely have a lot of material to work with so I'm expecting a flawless performance for this part.

Sarah Roemer as Marina Prusakova

Another The Event alumni! Sarah Roemer is the only person I had in mind when thinking of Marina Prusakova, Oswald's mouthy yet loyal Russian bride. She stole my heart with her portrayal of Leila in The Event, and I'm hoping she does the same as Prusakova. It's going to be a tough part to play since the role Prusakova played in the assassination is both theoretical and documented, with everyone agreeing that she was kept in the dark about it all. I hope they venture with this role and flesh out the character of Prusakova as she was both the lover and the confident of Lee Harvey Oswald. Nobody knew him like she did.

Gil Bellows as James Hosty

James Hosty is the real life detective who worked on the JFK assassination and King took that ambiguity (a lot of conspiracy theorists believe Hosty played a part in the assassination) to insert Hosty into the narrative of 11/22/63. Throughout the novel, it is implied that Hosty has some sense of what is going on with Jake/George and every good mystery show needs a snoopy detective. And Gil Bellows personifies that characterization flawlessly. If nobody in this list gets cast except one, I hope it's Gil Bellows.

Agree or disagree with this fantasy cast? Either way, I think King fans are in for a treat! :)

Candles are out,
Eleven's Ink

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...