The second season of Orphan Black premieres this Saturday on BBC America at 9 pm EST, and I am so excited that I want to tell you all about it. I think it’s the best show on TV right now, and definitely the most feminist. So here are five reasons why you should watch the season premiere on Saturday and/or mainline the first season immediately. This post contains some spoilers, but none of them are major plot points.
1. It showcases the talents of the incredible actress Tatiana Maslany.
Orphan Black is a conspiracy thriller about women who are the subjects of an illegal human cloning experiment, and have to struggle with how that affects their lives and identities. All six of the clones on screen are played by one actress, Tatiana Maslany, who makes each of the characters instantly distinguishable by her body language and speech.
2. It fails the Reverse Bechdel Test.
If you haven’t heard of the Bechdel Test, it’s a test of gender representation in media invented by the cartoonist Alison Bechdel. It has three criteria: a) there must be at least two women, who b) talk to each other, c) about something other than a man. Only half of all movies pass this test, most often because the female characters never talk to each other; they are defined by their relationships with men.
By contrast, female characters and their relationships with each other are so central to the story of Orphan Black that when talking with a friend I realized that Orphan Black not only passes the Bechdel Test, but fails the reverse of the Bechdel Test. We couldn’t think of a single time when two male characters talk to each other about something that isn’t a woman.