Friday, September 11, 2015

Copper vs. Orphan Black


I recently began watching the BBC America series Copper, which ran for two seasons from 2012 to 2013. The series is not without its flaws, including a somewhat slow start to its main story lines (as noted by a review in Variety published shortly after the series' initial release), but overall I found the series to be an excellent period piece, which does a better job than Scorsese's Gangs of New York in terms of presenting the actual history of the Five Points neighborhood during the Civil War (which is not to say that Scorsese's film is not excellent in many other respects!).


It is surprising or at least disappointing that Copper was cancelled and BBC America's other original series, Orphan Black, is still running strong. While the premise of Orphan Black is intriguing, the lead actress is fantastic, and the showrunners clearly know the tricks of their trade, I had to stop watching the show on account of the increasingly absurd, byzantine layers of conspiracy and melodrama, together with the sense that the main story line is becoming less plausible and less intelligible with each startling new revelation. And despite the fact that a PhD in evo devo was extensively consulted by the showrunners--they even based one of the main characters on her--whenever anything science-y shows up on screen, it always comes out either as clearly fallacious or as unintelligible gobbledigook. Sigh.

Five Points, Manhattan (George Catlin, 1827)
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