Watching Canadian Television – Vol 3: Orphan Black again, again

I was wrong, everybody.

Just wanted to check in and let you know that I was wrong.

I’ve written a few times about Orphan Black over the last year. The first was marked by pleasant surprise and cautious optimism. The second was to confirm that Orphan Black is actually a case of a successful Canadian television program. In the second post, I wrote the following:

Orphan Black: a confirmed case of Canadian Television done right!

I’m sorry to have to do this, but I’m going to go ahead and overturn that proclamation. Season 5 of Orphan Black is an unmitigated disaster.

It has been confirmed that Season 5 will be Orphan Black‘s final season, and it appears that the show-runners currently have absolutely no plan for wrapping up the mysteries that they had been serving up in the previous four seasons, and probably never had one. I can’t be 100% sure, as it hasn’t been seen through to the end yet, but it would seem that the show is content to continue introducing new random plot threads that serve to advance the plot through the laziest of writing tricks: coincidence.

It’s a real shame. Earlier points in the series were giddily addictive, positively pumped full of the “just one more” quality that every great binge-worthy show has. I’m no longer looking foward to the new episodes, and gone is the the gnawing feeling of intrigue and anticipation. The only feeling that I’m regularly having while I watch is a “what the fuck is even happening here?” feeling, and it’s left the show as only enjoyable on a ridiculous and comedic level in my eyes.

Very minor spoilers follow.

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Orphan Black‘s big ooga-booga, P.T. Westmoreland, has been revealed as a scenery-chewing Stephen McHattie. I love Stephen McHattie. He’s one of Canada’s great “that guy” actors, and he’s always a joy to watch. His performance as a tea-sipping science charlatan has made me laugh a lot. I’m 100% positive that this was not the intention of anyone involved.

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They seem to have (perhaps temporarily) written out all of the reliably entertaining and endearing characters, most egregiously Alison and Donnie Hendricks (who are absolutely delightful morons) and the hilariously murderous Helena. This gang have been consistent sources of enjoyment throughout the series, and it felt as though Season 5 couldn’t figure out what to do with them. As a consequence, they’ve all be hastily sidelined, with the exception of one fairly inconsequential and super ridiculous Alison & Donnie episode. I guess the writers decided that they needed more space to fill the show up with subplots on the goddamned island populated by characters that I can’t imagine giving a fuck about.

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One of the very few reasons to watch at this point is hoping that they’ll write Art The Cop in for a scene or two and he’ll give one of his patented grumpy faces. I really miss the first two seasons, guys.

I throw around a lot of over-sized and unchecked opinions on Fraudster’s Almanac, but I’m not above admitting that I was wrong about something. I think that it is fitting, though, that I am admitting to being wrong about liking something. This is actually very on-brand for me.

Orphan Black was a terrific show that will need to have a miracle final four episodes to prevent it from going down in history as having completely shit the bed in its final season. Sad!

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