Orphan Black is back! 5 other television shows that are keeping it weird
Face it: the world needs more weird. We need people who are remarkable in their nonconformity, who don’t fit in, and who are, in fact, completely strange and extraordinary. Thankfully, it seems like television might be starting to catch on. The science fiction show Orphan Black, which returns to BBC for its third season tonight, is a science fiction show that will make a fan out of you from the very first minute. Really. The show centers around Sarah Manning, a woman who stumbles upon a complicated conspiracy involving a cloning network and many other women that look just like her. Tatiana Maslany plays all the clones and each one has its own mythology and story arc. Her acting talent in every episode is a sight to behold.
But it’s not just Orphan Black. Some of the best, most promising new shows of the season are about misfits, freaks, and outsiders, and it’s about darn time. Watching beautiful people live out their glamorous and gorgeous lives is good old fashioned escapist fun, don’t get me wrong—looking at you Empire—but don’t we all need a little more weird and a little less perfect in our lives?
Here are five other television shows that are keeping it delightfully eccentric.
Weird Loners (FOX, Tuesdays at 9:30 pm)
Weird Loners is about four romantically-challenged people who become friends through a series of unintended consequences. This new 30-minute sitcom is full of super cringey moments, but that’s totally part of the fun.
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty) plays Caryn, who is in a really tragic place: desperate, needy, and ready to just settle for any old guy. She meets Stosh, played by Zachary Knighton (Happy Endings), at an opportune time, and he is far too confident than he has any right to be. In fact, he has just self-sabotaged his way right out of a job and place to live.
Eric, sweet-faced and naive, played by Nate Torrence (Hello Ladies) has a perma-smile affixed to his face that makes it seem like he’s just not completely present. He meets Zaraplayed by newcomer Meera Rohit Rumbhani, who is brooding and a little emotional reckless.
They all become fast friends. On their own, they truly are a set of weird loners, but together are form a pack of charming super weirdos that make for a lot of laughs. Everybody knows that a bunch of weirdos is better than just one. So why not make a really funny show about four of them?
Undateable (NBC, Tuesdays at 9 pm)
Undateable stars Chris D’Elia (Whitney) and Bianca Kajilch (Rules of Engagement) as sibling trainwrecks. The show centers around D’Elia’s Danny as the unlikely roommate to Justin (Brent Morin), and the group of misfits that hang out at Justin’s unfortunately named bar, Black Eyes.
This season, Undateable adds Bridget Mendler (Good Luck, Charlie) as Candace who quickly becomes like a younger sister to the group. Candace adds a fresh face to group who are a little jaded about their own lives.
The humor is a little biting and usually at the expense of someone else, but it’s funny because they are asking us to laugh with them, not at them. Ron Funches as Shelly is particularly good at this and he steals the scene every time.
You can binge onthe entire first season of Undateable and catch up on this season at NBC.com.
The Last Man on Earth (FOX, Sundays at 9 pm)
The Last Man on Earth stars Will Forte (Saturday Night Live) as Phil Miller, lone survivor of a mysterious virus that eliminates the population of the Earth. Set in the near future, Phil settles down in Tucson to try and figure out how to be the literal last man on Earth.
What makes this show so interesting is watching Phil navigate a world that has no rules, no social conventions, no cultural norms. His habits turn a little destructive, which is both disturbing and wildly funny. I didn’t realize it would be so satisfying to watch a bowling ball destroy a fish tank. Who knew?
Silicon Valley (HBO, Sundays at 10 pm)
Silicon Valley is a satire of the tech culture headquartered in Northern California. It is the story of Richard Hendricks, played by Thomas Middleditch, who invents an algorithm he calls Pied Piper, that is hotly sought after by software giants that loosely resemble Google and Yahoo.
Richard is surrounded by other highly intelligent, socially awkward tech folks that know far more about existing in digital spaces than they do about the real world. TJ Miller (Big Hero 6) plays Erlich, the sort-of boss. He is the equally weird, but far less clueless about it, adviser who acts as the go-between for the guys in the pod and everyone else.
The comedy comes as they try to reconcile who they are on their computers to who they are in the the real world. The fascination comes as the show pokes fun at a world in which most of us wouldn’t last one minute.
You can watch season one at HBO.com or Amazon Instant Video.
The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (Lifetime, Sundays at 9 pm)
The Lizzie Borden Chronicles pick up where the Lifetime original movie Lizzie Borden took An Ax left off, following the life of the now acquitted Lizzie. Lizzie Borden was accused of murdering her parents with an ax, but was found not guilty after a scandalous murder trial. The series tells the story of Lizzie after the trial as the people closest to her grow more suspicious about her innocence. The movie and series is a fictionalized account of real events: Lizzie Borden was a real person with parents that were actually murdered. It’s still an unsolved American mystery and this fact alone makes it completely creepy and very, very hard to turn away from.
Starring Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden, this mini-series is as soapy as it is enthralling. Ricci plays Lizzie as sometimes coy, sometimes wide-eyed, and almost always sinister – it’s an unnerving mix, but one that makes for really great TV. You can watch the movie at Lifetime’s website.