Posts Tagged ‘Downton Abbey’

Black is the New Black

October 14, 2015

I’m a huge consumer of entertainment in all forms and fashions.  Sometimes the best entertainment is right in your own home – on television!  Like many Americans, my husband and I have become “binge watchers”.  It all started with 24, the first all consuming,addictive television show that turned not only us, but all of our friends into television watching zombies.  It was not unusual for us – or someone in our circle – to spend an entire weekend in our sweats binging on Jack Bauer.  My husband did a fabulous homage parody of 24 that you can watch on YouTube.

There have been others over the years such as Downton Abbey, The Last Ship and Strike Back where we had to watch “just one more episode.”  In the olden days (better known as a few years ago) we waited for a season of a favorite show to be available on DVD.  Even though that meant we were always a season behind we could take a DVD with us and watch wherever we might happen to be.  We weren’t even aware of the actual day of the week our favorite programs aired on because we didn’t watch that way.  Then Amazon Prime and now our Amazon Fire Stick gave us that same portability without the season delay.

orphan-blackSo what are we “binging” on right now?  Orphan Black.  How did I not know about this show sooner?  It’s a Canadian show produced by BBC America and it’s AMAZING!  It’s billed as a “science fiction” show but don’t let that put you off.  It’s not aliens and other planets type of sci-fi – rather it’s science based fiction.  Without giving anything away that isn’t in the promo material, the main character, Sarah, sees a woman commit suicide and the woman looks just like her!  An attempt to steal the now dead woman’s identity leads Sarah to learn she is a clone.  (See, human clones are currently science based fiction – or so we’re told…).

The show has millions of loyal fans known as #CloneClub.  They even had devotees show up at the San Diego Comic Con in costume as their favorite of the clones and the cast did a panel taking questions!  Okay, we’re not ready to dress up as our favorite clone but hey, Halloween is coming…OrphanBlackFans

So what do we love about the show?  Sure, the story is unique, compelling and continually surprising.  The cast “works” and that’s a big part of the magic.  But perhaps our favorite part of the “magic” is the flawless performance by Tatiana Maslany who plays Sarah, Alison, Cosima, Helena and Rachel.  (She portrayed Beth but since she’s the one who committed suicide in the first episode, most of what we learn about Beth is from other characters, same with “the German”.)  Both my husband and I are fascinated by the technical masterpiece that is Orphan Black.

Sure, we’ve all seen bits in movie or television where one performer plays two roles and body doubles are used to allow both characters to appear in the same scene…but what about FIVE?!?  It’s more than just that, each of the clones has a very unique personality to comes through in everything from speech to gestures big and small.  Everything from the way they stand, walk, move – even roll their eyes – is unique to that character and utterly believeable!  They are all so distinct that you never get confused as to which clone you are watching.

Part of that comes down to the unique talents of Tatiana Maslany but also to the behind the scenes coaches.  John Nelles is the genius who helps her nail all those different accents.  Other tidbits that have added to our fascination with the “magic” of Orphan Black:

  • Tatiana created a playlist for each of the characters to help her get into the unique personalities
  • A continuity team keeps her from mixing up the characters. For instance, if she’s doing a scene that has both Alison and Sarah in it and she’s playing Alison, if the script tells her to roll her eyes, they make sure it’s an ‘Alison’ eye roll and not a ‘Sarah’ eye roll.

Need more reasons to watch?  The first TWO seasons are FREE on Amazon Prime.  I understand it’s also on Netflix if that’s your vehicle of choice.  We’re currently through the first two seasons and part of the third.  Yes, we’re thrilled season 4 is in production but there’s no way it will be available fast enough to supply our next fix….

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Downton Abbey Tourism

March 1, 2013

Are you hooked on Downton Abbey?  We are!  I watched the first episode under protest – I was sure I wouldn’t enjoy it.  I’m not a fan of historical, period type dramas.   By the end of the first episode of Season 1 (watch it for free on Comcast on Demand, Hulu or Amazon streaming if you are a Prime Member) we were royally hooked!  We’ve since convinced several friends to try it and yes,  they are all hooked too.

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The show is filmed at a real castle, Highclere Castle, and you can visit!  Even though a family lives there, several times a year, the castle and grounds are open to the public.  Tickets for this summer are on sale now through their website.

If you’ve watched all 3 seasons, you’ve also seen the spectacular castle in Scotland where the family travels in the last episode.  That castle, Inveraray Castle is also available to tour.

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If a trip to England and Scotland is in your plans, a visit to one of these iconic castles should be part of your itinerary.  Imagine the envy of your family and friends when your holiday card arrives with a photo of YOU in front of the “Crowley family home”, Downton Abbey.


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