Sunday 19 November 2017

Send in the Clones ... but they are already here

New on netflix: Orphan Black
Four Seasons available now, new episode on May 6.

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah
Tatiana Maslany as Sarah
Donal Lynch

Donal Lynch

Orphan Black Four Seasons available now, new episode on May 6.

Orphan Black, which started out life on BBC America, is one of those shows where it is worth going back to the first series if you want to get into it. Dipping in for series four might cause a bit of confusion, which some seasoned fans of the series sometimes experience anyway. It's a science fiction drama which explores the ethics of human cloning as seen through the eyes of several people, who are themselves clones. Most are working together to solve the mystery of their existence. Early episodes were tense thrillers, while recent episodes have deepened the characters and ratcheted up the humour without lessening the tension. It's undeniably geek TV - the details of the experiment the clones undergo sometimes become a tad too complicated and/or preposterous. However, creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett delivered smart twists and turns throughout the first three seasons, and it looks as though the trend will continue in Season 4: the first three episodes are wildly entertaining and enrich the scenario and characters tenfold.

Tig Available now

Tig Notaro first came to our attention as one of the writers and performers on Amy Schumer's acclaimed and brilliant Comedy Central series. The skits that involved her there were based largely around her cancer. Now, in the last year she's had two different documentaries come out. Last year Showtime in the US aired the first of these, called Knock Knock, It's Tig, which followed Notaro around America as she did concerts for groups of people in small-town backwaters and even a cornfield. This new documentary Tig, could actually be called a prequel to the Showtime one because it takes us back in time, to the point when her life as she knew it began to fall apart. In 2012 she was diagnosed with the extreme intestinal infection known as C. diff. A week after she was finally able to leave the hospital, her mother fell, hit her head, seemed to be fine, but died 12 hours after she was disconnected from life support. Around this time, Notaro was planning to explore having a child, but then developed cancer in both breasts and underwent a double mastectomy. She also broke up with the woman she had been seeing. She decided to incorporate all of this into her live act, which was recorded by Louis CK, who in turn made it available for download. It was a sensation and lead to this poignant and very funny documentary. As she encounters each disaster you begin to realise that surviving each one in fact strengthens her for the next onslaught. Until we come to the death of her mother, who she says gave her her sense of humour and whose loss she will never get over. Along with What Happened Miss Simone?, Tig is the best hidden gem on Netflix now.

Marseilles Eight episodes, available from May 5.

Netflix have committed to investing more in local content over the next few years and this series, which has been described as a French House Of Cards, is one example of that. Gérard Depardieu, whom we regard as the ultimate example of handsome-ugly, stars as Robert Taro, who has been mayor of Marseille for two decades. His last political move will be building a massive casino in the historic marina, and he's already hand-picked his successor, Lucas Barrès (Benoît Magimel).

But it turns out his former protégé, plus the super rich leaders of the city, are willing to do anything to get in the mayor's way in a tense election battle. This might be one of the foreign language hits of this year - there are subtitles - and the previews have looked promising. Interestingly, Depardieu launched into a huge anti-US rant late last year and sang the praises of Russia, where he now lives part of the time. But it would seem that Netflix dollars still work for him and this series looks like it might work for us.

Sunday Independent

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