5 Reasons Why You Should Be Watching 'Orphan Black'

orphan black If you follow me on Twitter, you may know that the show Orphan Black (BBC America) is one of my lastest obsessions (unless you muted me, in which case, I understand -- I talk a lot).

As a fan of shows like Sherlock and Doctor Who, I hear whispers of new BBC-related shows every now and again. Sometimes they're more like stage whispers. Inches from my face.

I kept hearing about Orphan Black, and as the title sounds terrifying, I didn't think I would like it. My husband wanted to give it a shot, so I committed to watching one episode on the condition that we would turn it off if it got too scary (usually a condition in our household).

Y'all. That pilot.

I had no idea what the show was about. Zero concept. I just blindly watched the first episode -- and it won me over immediately. So here are some reasons you should be watching Orphan Black:

1) The concept. The basic premise is that a woman stumbles upon the fact that she is one of who-knows-how-many clones by meeting people that look exactly like her. Only with different hair, personalities, and lifestyles. And they’re being killed, one way or another. It’s a very interesting concept to me. Here they are, 28-ish years after the experiment, trying to piece together who cloned them, why, and why/if they are in danger.

2) Tatiana freaking Maslany. I mean, you guys. She plays about 8 characters so far — they’re clones, remember — and I literally forget it is the same person. I was watching an interview with a few of the cast members, and the host asked one of the love interests and, assumably, the person who plays the other character, about the chemistry between the two. I actually had the thought, “wait, but she’s not there…” and then Tatiana Maslany started talking, and I remembered she plays the character. Like every other character. She is insanely talented. Plus, the way they make it so seamless as she acts in a scene with THREE of herself, and even touches them or hugs them, is just ridiculous.

3) The characters in the show are round, not flat. They’re all complex. They have good and bad within them — they’re all flawed. Some you root for more than others, obviously, but they all make terrible decisions in one way or another, even if they’re protagonists. You also never know whose side the secondary characters are on. Are they trying to protect the clones? Are they being forced to do something against their will? Are they lying to pretend they know nothing about the experiment or were they in on it all along? It’s almost impossible to know with most of the characters, and I love it. They aren’t aligned as “good” or “bad.” Everyone has their own individual agenda and goals, and they don’t always fit nicely into one side or the other, which makes it even more exciting.

4) The cliffhangers -- but not like, in a Scandal sort of way. In fact, I think this show could easily beat up Scandal in a fight. Which is why I have all but abandoned Scandal altogether a few episodes into season 3 (there's only so much quivering and idiot Fitz I can handle). This is why you will watch the first season (10 episodes) in less than a week. I mean, unless you have a life, I guess. Almost every aspect that’s revealed leads to more questions. The show isn’t hard to follow, but you do have to pay attention. You’ll be reworking the episode in your head the next morning trying to sort through all the new information. I think if you wake up thinking about it the next morning, it’s usually a good show.

5) Thrilling, but not too scary or depressing. There are definitely moments that will have you biting your nails, but nothing is so intense you won’t be able to sleep. It’s a fine line, and I have to walk it delicately or I’ll be up for days.

In conclusion, just watch the pilot. If you’re not hooked then, I don’t know what to tell you, because I was hooked within the first three minutes. The first season is on Amazon Prime, and the second season is airing now on BBC America. (We DVR’d a marathon on BBC America to watch season 1, so that might also be an option for you if there is one coming up.)

Do it, you guys. TATIANA MASLANY. (Just watch an interview with her and you'll want to be her best friend. Plus she was in a Lonely Island digital short this past week, too. I mean, come on.)

Have you watched Orphan Black? If so, what do you think? If not, what’s your latest TV obsession?

Why Having to "Choose an Ad" Infuriates Me

choose ad LM

In this new age of watching TV online, networks and advertisers have tried many approaches to keep making money. Anything to keep us from watching TV for free. I mean, I understand. Gotta make that paper. Part of this comes in the form of them requiring a paid subscription to access additional content. Recently it apparently means having to wait 8 days to watch an episode on Hulu for free which forces you to go to the network website and THEN login with your cable provider information to watch it. But whatever, I'm not mad about it.

Generally, though, as you know, money is made by advertisements being played during our shows and videos. They come in all shapes and sizes, but typically you're seeing the same Audi ad 6 times in 15-second increments. Some of the network players even make you watch about ten of them in between segments. Which, whatever, I'm not mad about that either. Even though you can't set a precedent of allowing the world to watch an episode for free the day after it airs or only showing two 15-second ads during breaks, and then change it for the worse. No take-backs, networks and Hulu! Ugh. Again, I'm not mad about it.

The most infuriating part of all of this, though, is when the program asks me to CHOOSE an ad. Choose one.

I cannot tell you how angry this makes me. It's so patronizing.

It's like, "hey tiny child, I'm a bully and I'm going to punch you in the face, ok? That's going to happen. I'm going to punch you in the face. BUT don't even worry about it because you get to CHOOSE which side of your face I punch--left or right. You get to be a part of the process of deciding how you get punched in the face! Isn't that great?! Okay, I'm going to stand here and stare at you until you choose."

No. No, TV people. It is NOT great.

When my show pauses and you say "which ad experience would you prefer?" (by the way, adorable that you call it an "experience.") or "please choose a video" or something to that effect, I am filled with indignant rage.

Don't act like you're doing me some great favor by allowing me to choose my mode of torture, okay? Just play one and get it over with.

Because otherwise I WILL just sit there as the clock counts down until you proceed with one for me. I refuse to negotiate with terrorists, okay? I will not be party to your silly game.

I'm pretty sure Google already owns my identity anyway so just use that information for your dumb demographics and let me get back to The Mindy Project, which I am now watching on FOX's pathetic excuse for a video player after having spent about 5 minutes going from Hulu to Fox to The Mindy Project to the login page back to The Mindy Project. But whatever, I'm not mad.

And no, I will never have enough money to buy an Audi. So you can just take that information and show me android phone ads (again, adorable) and laundry detergent commercials. I literally could not care less, because I'm checking Tweetbot while you're talking.

Do you choose your ad or give Hulu ad feedback? Have you endured this nonsense of having to watch shows on the network's site using cable login info?

How I Met Your Mother Cast Plays "Finish That Line"

As we near ever closer to the long-awaited last season of How I Met Your Mother, we all have mixed feelings. Hope, that our dedication to the show even in the slow years will pay off. Anxiety that it won't. Exhaustion, ready to get it over with and take the show off our season pass list once and for all. And a nostalgic happiness, excited to see these characters again that we've known for so long. EW editors must be feeling the same way, because the cast was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly recently. During the photoshoot they played a rousing game of "Finish that Line," in which the cast tries to finish lines that have been said on the show.

Click the photo below to view Cobie Smulders and Neil Patrick Harris play, then Allison Hannigan and Jason Segel.



The new mother, Cristin Milioti plays, too.


Are you excited for HIMYM to come back or just ready to be done with it?

3 Reasons Why Ann and Chris Leaving Parks and Recreation Is a Bad Idea

ann chris parks and rec You guys, it's finally starting to feel like fall, if only for a brief hour in the mornings. But you know what that means…our shows are coming back soon!

Oh, glorious day! Sweep those cobwebs out of your DVR because it's about to be full again, and you're going to have to choose between The Voice and the fifth episode of that new Andy Samberg show you're still not sure about but wanted to give a try (unless you have one of those fancy DVRs that records like 8 shows at once. On different TVs. What's it like to live in that kind of luxury?)

Anyway, with new seasons unfortunately come changes, and as much as I don't like change, I've had to embrace it a lot over the years: the loss of Michael Scott, Waverly and Santiago disappearing, Dan killing Keith…all of which left me sad and confused.

This one, while less dramatic, is still going to shake up one of my favorite shows: Rob Lowe (Chris Traeger) and Rashida Jones (Ann Perkins) are leaving Parks and Rec after 13 episodes this season.

I'm hoping this isn't a direct result of the post I wrote about the problem with Ann Perkins, but you never know. XB is the voice of the people (sorry, people).*

I'm not really sure how to feel, but my general sentiment is that I will miss Chris but not Ann.

Chris, when used in moderation, is fantastic. I have grown to really enjoy him, and I think they've fleshed his character out well without compromising it by going too deep with him.

Ann, however, is pretty much boring all the time always.** She has no quirks. She has no opinions of her own. She's just kind of a space-filler.

But here is why I think they should stay (partially for their own good):

1) It's only downhill from here for them. Does either one of them think they are going to find a steady gig as good as this one? According to one article I read, for some reason Parks and Rec decided Rashida was empirically not-boring enough that they wanted to hire her right away for the cast. I don't think she's going to get that kind of chance again. She was already kind of boring in The Office, but some of the characters in The Office are supposed to be boring so that they are normal in light of the others. I don't think this is the case with Parks & Rec. She was basically just a sounding board for Leslie when she talked about Ben. A side-kick, even. But now [spoiler alert] Leslie and Ben are married. No need for her anymore. Sooner or later people are going to realize Rashida is boring and not hire her for anything else.

And Rob Lowe? I'm kind of surprised he got a steady gig like this at all after having a lot of success in the 80's. It obviously does happen--let's call it Neil Patrick Harris-ing--but it's the exception, not the rule. (You hear me, Corey Feldman? Stay away.) I'm nervous that he won't be able to make it happen again. Plus I'll just miss him more than Ann, despite what he continued to perpetuate in society by hammering in the whole "literally" thing. (Don't get me started on the Google definition. However, I do think by doing so, Parks and Rec brought it to light and made fun of it, almost in a satirical way, which I loved.)

2) The whole baby thing coinciding with their departure is kind of a cop-out, right? Any characters that have babies on sitcoms inevitably have to deal with the consequences of trying to work a baby into the script to be realistic enough to seem like they are actually taking care of their kid without letting the baby be those characters' main storyline. I want to see Parks and Rec try to do that. Andy and April got married very early on in the series and are still high-functioning characters in the show without being lame. I think Parks and Rec could make the baby thing happen in a non-lame way. You don't get to just have a baby and leave. That's not how we raised you, Ann and Chris. And we won't allow it.

3) Meeting new characters is hard. I don't like change. I just don't. While I do trust the people casting Parks and Rec, because they have brought in some GEMS over the years (Jean Ralphio's sister? Just stop it. So perfect.), I'm nervous to see who (if anyone) they bring in. They've got to add at least one more. It will feel a little empty if they don't. But I'm really hoping they just bring in one and give Donna more of a role, because she is fantastic and underrated. Plus pretty much all the SNL actors have already had cameos, so we're running out of options here.

Who do you want to see in a recurring role on Parks & Rec? Do you support my more-Donna suggestion? How do you feel about Chris and Ann leaving?

*this is a direct plagiarism from Conan O'Brien's twitter bio. **this is a direct plagiarism from 30 Rock's "Everything Sunny All The Time Always" episode.



5 Reasons Why You Should Be Watching Doctor Who

doctor-who-matt-smith-karen-gillian-bbc Doctor Who. It's a thing now, whether you like it or not. So let's just talk about it. I feel like enough traction has been gained surrounding this show for me to gush about it now without being met with blank stares.

Well, you will be staring blankly, because this is the Internet, but I'll pretend you're smiling and nodding enthusiastically with every word.

Today I'm going to tell you five reasons you should be watching Dr. Who.

If you've never heard of it, or you have heard of it but don't understand what the gibberish is all about, it's a British sci-fi show about a 900-year-old alien who travels through time and space saving the day. GIVE ME A MINUTE TO EXPLAIN.

The alien--a Time Lord, to be specific--goes by the name of The Doctor. No one knows his actual name, hence "Doctor Who?"

He has a time machine called the TARDIS that looks like a blue phone booth (technically a "police box"), which can travel anywhere in time and space. Therefore he can go to Rome in 84 B.C., then an unpronounceable planet in 8000 A.D., then China in 1975 and it all works because, long story short, the TARDIS can basically do anything and is indestructible.

He also travels with a companion, almost always female, almost always pretty. He travels to random places and times, finds things that are amiss and fixes them. For the most part.

On to the reasons you should be watching it:

1) The character of the Doctor. This is first and foremost the reason anyone connects with Dr. Who. Probably. I haven't conducted a poll.

But The Doctor -- his personality, thoughts, feelings, experiences--is what makes a British sci-fi show about aliens totally relatable. The Doctor has lived hundreds of years. He has had many friends come and go, particularly humans who don't live for 900 years and/or decide they just want to live a normal life that, y'know, DOESN'T involve almost dying at the hands of psychotic aliens on a weekly basis. And often in his attempts to save some people, he has inadvertently killed others.

Because of the power he has, he is constantly having to make terribly difficult decisions. He's the epitome of a tragic, flawed hero. He's captivating and brilliant and funny and heartbreaking all at the same time, and I adore it. And you will too.

2) Matt Smith and David Tennant. Technically this show has been on for nearly 50 years, and there have been 11 incarnations of the Doctor. This is possible because Time Lords can regenerate when they are dying, giving the writers of the show the perfect way to keep it going with new actors.

I was introduced to the show with Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor (pictured above), so Matt will always have the number one spot in my heart. He's charming and adorable, but he also carries the weight of an old man who has seen far too much in his life perfectly. He hunches a bit, wrings his hands and says old man types of things, but with a youthful spirit. Plus, that man can deliver a monologue like no one else. I adore him and he will always be my favorite Doctor.

david tennant dr who

Exhibit A: David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor

Most people I meet (on the Internet) adore David Tennant in much the same way. He is what will turn your casual interest in Dr. Who to an all-out obsession in a matter of episodes. Most people start with number 9, when the show was rebooted in 2005, but he was only okay, so David Tennant wins them over. He's also charming, but in a bit of a nerdier sense. Where Smith is more of a professor, Tennant is more of a scientist. (This description has not been validated by anyone except yours truly.) Tennant will capture your heart, and you will have to pay for a few therapy sessions when he leaves. So start saving now.

Matt leaves in December of this year, so I am collecting donations for the amount of therapy I will require then.

Both are incredible actors, and largely the reason for the widespread success of Dr. Who in my opinion.

3) Fantastic story lines. I think this is particularly the case in Matt Smith's era, but in each episode and across the season, the storyline is intriguing and usually brilliant. There's an element of mystery as you try to figure out, along with the Doctor, what is amiss and why. The "enemies" he comes across are complex--not just monsters with no capacity for reason. Except the Daleks.* They're just the worst.


Exhibit A: Dalek.

The Doctor, being generally against outright violence, is often put in a hard spot trying to amicably resolve conflict between two opposing forces.

Additionally the Doctor's own story is fascinating --things he must do and must never do, facing his past, facing his future, losing companions and friends--all a part of his grander journey. Even compelling are the stories of the historical figures and myths he interacts with. One of the show's most popular episodes focuses on Vincent Van Gogh, whose troubled character in and of himself will draw you in.

4) Recurring characters. Dr. River Song, Madame Vastra, Jenny, Strax, Captain Jack, all of his companions…these are people you cheer for when you see again. And the best part is, you probably will see them again. Even if you didn't like them very much, you'll cheer, because you're so invested in them. They are friends of the Doctor, who are few and far between, but unwaveringly loyal. They're all honorable and brave in their own way, and some give the Doctor a run for his money, which he needs every once and a while to knock him down a peg.

5) Because you will finally know what everyone is talking about on the Internet. TARDIS, "Allons-y!", "Bowties are cool," Daleks, "Hello Sweetie," random 3D glasses, "Don't Blink," Fezes, a weird wand looking thing called a sonic screwdriver…all of these phrases and pictures will make sense to you now. Sure, it will mean you're a total nerd, but don't worry, you're in good company.

In conclusion, Dr. Who will play to your whimsical side, enthrall you, make you laugh, make you cry…usually all in one episode. That is why you should be watching Dr. Who.

Oh and because Matt Smith.

All seasons beginning from 2005 are on Netflix besides the most recent one, which you can buy on iTunes. So NO EXCUSES.

Some of my favorite episodes to bookmark: Vincent and the Doctor, A Good Man Goes to War, The Lodger, The Doctor's Wife

*basically glorified R2D2-looking things with slimy octopus guys inside that have no sense of any emotion apart from hate and the will to destroy anything to keep the Daleks supreme. Oh and they talk like a YakBak that has been crushed by a steel-toed boot and just keeps repeating "EX-TER-MIN-ATE" over and over again.

If you've watched Dr. Who, which is your favorite Doctor and why? If not, when are you going to start watching it? Today right? During your lunch break?