The Bear realizes that Game of Thrones, The Americans, Better Call Saul, Ripper Street, Peaky Blinders, The Last Ship, Humans, Occupied, The Man in the High Castle and Orphan Black, in short, all his favorite shows, are every one in between seasons. (Dickensian looks interesting, although it only got one season from BBC.) There's still old episodes of Nurse Jackie, to which the Bear is addicted (ha). The Bear remembers watching the old Poldark on Masterpiece Theater, but the new one has chick flick written all over it. Outlander did not pique the Bear's interest for some reason (possibly the same reaction as to the new Poldark). Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Agent Carter are good, but you have to be in a certain mood.
Orphan Black: 5 Out of 5 Fish
Possibly the very best show in production today is Orphan Black. It is a Canadian series that is difficult to say much about without spoiling things. The acting is top-notch. Tatiana Maslany stars in multiple roles. Part of the fun is how easily you forget that these are not different actresses. Each of characters is well drawn and distinct, ranging from soccer mom to brainiac, to good-hearted Russian killer, to dim-witted cosmetologist. It's a hoot. Tatiana Maslany should get whatever the world-wide equivalent of Best Actress Forever Emmy is.
The writing is mostly very good on an episode-by-episode basis, although the plot is so convoluted, whole storylines are dropped unceremoniously. Since they are usually followed by even better storylines, that is not a problem unless you deliberately think, "what ever happened with...?" The Bear guesses we are supposed to be penetrating ever deeper into more central mysteries. That is possibly the weakest part of the show, however. Like LOST, there is the feeling that the writers are making all this up on the fly, and the season before last's major plot point is down the memory hole today.
Fortunately, the Bear couldn't care less about the rival conspiracies within conspiracies. The fun is in watching a wonderfully entertaining cast dealing with problems from infiltrating fertility clinics to having DNA-altering grubs implanted into them. The writing is quirky, geeky, original and surprising. There are darkly humorous elements worthy of Breaking Bad.
There are the occasional clunkers. If the Bear were human, he would not forgetfully lay down his pistol in the presence of someone sworn to kill him. We often see that sort of thing in shows, where the good guy simply shooting the bad guy would easily, and prematurely terminate a storyline. So, smart characters go stupid. There has to be a better way.
(The Bear is still bitter over Better Call Saul's boring and unsatisfying season finale. With Breaking Bad's best supporting characters to work with, season two was a real disappointment.)
But most of the writing in Orphan Black is very good, adroitly mixing drama, conspiracy, thriller, and humor.
It starts out as a fairly conventional mystery. English grifter Sarah Manning sees what appears to be her double commit suicide by stepping in front of a subway train. She assumes the dead woman's identity: Beth Childs, a detective. She studies home videos to get Beth's American accent and mannerisms down perfectly. But she learns that Beth had many secrets. A prescription drug addiction, an affair with a fellow detective, a suspiciously fit boyfriend, and a very large bank account. She is also under investigation by internal affairs for shooting an unarmed, innocent, person.
And that is as far as we can go with the plot without spoilers. Which is too bad, because the beginning, featuring the mystery of Beth Childs, is just the opening to the rabbit whole that is Orphan Black. It's really a show about the loyalty and ingenuity of a group of sestres who could not be more different, despite being...