Orphan Black

A wrap up to MCM London Comic Con

The final day of MCM London Comic Con weekend was today, and quite frankly it couldn’t come soon enough. By halfway through day three I was utterly exhausted, and thankfully so was my partner-in-crime, Virginia. So we packed it up early today, but not without checking out a few more final panels. Althouhg, leaving early did mean we missed the “Who Will Run the World? GIRLS” panel. I would feel sad if it were for the utter relaxation I feel sitting at home eating Pringles at this moment.


This little movie is being deemed as “Britain’s first superhero movie.” A meteor hits earth, creating a superhero named Bob (Breet Boldstein). Unfortunately Bob is not you’re typical superhero. As the tagline of the film says, “Unfortunately he’s British.” Why? Director Jon Drever believes its because of a simple lack of confidence in the British psyche that makes Bob so different from the Marvel and DC heroes in America. On top of all of Bob’s responsibilities, he can’t get a date. Here enters Natalia Tena’s character who is promised to be a strong female character that helps lead the narrative. So expect a special and unusual hero for this film.

The movie will be showing at the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival on June 7th at the Ritzy Picturehouse in Brixton. An official premier date is to be set for late summer.


SuperBob stars Natalia Tena and Brett Goldstein with director Jon Drever

Orphan Black with Kristian Bruun

Yes him again. Bruun had a half-hour panel (although this time it was 20 minutes because it appears as though someone forgot to get him on time – again) discussing the popular Canadian television series. This time there was a emcee who was filled with great questions for Bruun, including touching on the long-running Murdoch Mysteries. Unfortunately when Britain not even having a premier date yet for season 3, it was difficult to talk about anything that happened in season 2 (which aired over a year ago now). But as with Saturday, Bruun was sweet and great to listen to.

He did promise to post a photo of his and Tatiana Maslany’s matching red fleece onsies. Still waiting for that one, sir. For anyone a part of the Clone Club, feel reassured that the cast and crew are dedicated to making fans happy. Bruun stated that nothing was more important than wanting to please the fans.

“We have a unique story that we bring dedication to,” the actor said.

My biggest regret of the whole weekend was not getting the balls to set up an interview with Bruun. His Canadian-ness was so appealing it would have been great to sit down with him. Major lesson learned for next time.


Parting thoughts

MCM has improved in many ways over last October’s incarnation. My biggest problem last time was that it was almost too big to manage. Queues (lines) were everywhere and always in the way, making it impossible to get around in the place. This year they had made everything more compact. It was easy to navigate and see everything that you wanted to. Everything was clearly labeled this time and everything was sectioned off really well. Not into art? Skip the comic village on the first entrance. Not into Anime or Manga? Just avoid the back and front. It was a really welcome change and all the extra space acted nicely as areas for people to rest and eat.

Unfortunately, it was very difficult to overlook the amount of time people were interrupted, delayed or cut off. Perhaps they need to get more volunteers this year because several of the workers appeared to be spread thin. And according to several of the actors in attendance, they were never told where they needed to be or what they were going to be doing. I’m not sure where the problem lies, but hopefully this will be smoothed over next time.

This con was so much better than October’s it was incredible the amount of difference. With a few more tweaks (especially by picking someone to proofread the programme), I’m sure the next go will be even better.

MCM London Comic Con: Day 2 in brief


MCM London Comic Con’s big day finally came on Saturday. There were panels and guests abound. Saturday definitely is by far the busiest day at the convention. While there was plenty to love, there were some great disappointments (and mishaps) as well.

Two highlights in the start of the day were Tyler James Williams of the Walking Dead and Kristian Bruun from the popular science fiction show Orphan Black. The two each did a Q&A that was supposed to be an hour long. Williams was terrific. The first thing he did when he entered the room was compliment the amazing fan base. The entire time after that he only showed the greatest respect for the people there. Every question he answered was very thoughtful. He acted more like a devoted fan than just a cast member. He definitely won the room over.

Then Bruun. BRUUN! This man is incredible. While Gillian Anderson was great to watch at her Friday panel, Bruun could give her a run for her money for best personality of the whole weekend. He kept everything super witty and told fantastic stories: how confusing it is to work with the same actress who plays so many parts and he gave full details about that torture scene from season 1. Unfortunately, there weren’t many fans there to actually see him. And that was a part of a major problem that happened at the con this weekend.

First, there was no emcee. When Williams entered he wasn’t even entirely sure what he was supposed to do. Brunn was over 30 minutes late because no one came to get him. He didn’t know what to do either. Thankfully they both were quick and took control by running a Q&A. Both were great sports and were totally gracious guests. But they kept getting interrupted due to ‘scheduling conflicts.’ The entire thing was a total fuck up. These were two guests from two of the biggest shows on television and weren’t allowed to have an entire hour with the devoted people who came to see them. It was really a shame. While they were great to listen to, there should have been someone in charge to make sure things were going right – and they certainly didn’t.

Even more embarrassing, no one thought to give the (paying) fans any respect. No apologises were made nor was there ever an explanation. Normally that wouldn’t be so bad is people hadn’t paid to be there.


Orphan Black star Kristian Bruun

That kerfuffle aside, the rest of the con appeared to run smoothly. The afternoon was full of panels that celebrated television on the other side of the pond. Upcoming ITV show, Jekyll & Hyde had many stars in tow to share information about their new show. Guests on the panel included stars Tom Bateman, Natalie Gumede and Richard E Grant, writer Charlie Higson, producers Francis Hopkinson and Foz Allen.


Jekyll & Hyde panel on Saturday afternoon.

The show, which will be out next autumn on ITV, is more a sequel to the classic Victorian novel. Instead of focusing on the traditional story, this show will take place in the 1930s in London. Hyde’s grandson (Bateman) has been trying to figure out his grandfather’s secrets. Bateman discussed the intense challenge it was to bridge his Jekyll and Hyde. Unlike the book where Hyde becomes a grotesque ape-ish character, the alternative personality is “the guy we all think we are when we’re drunk.”

The cast and showrunners promise plenty of early monster movie inspiration. While Hyde will be battling his own personal demon, other terrifying creatures will be haunting the streets. In an exclusive first preview, there was lots to see including werewolves, vampires and a British icon. Of course that staggering icon is Richard E Grant. He was on the panel offering fantastic quotes like, “I’m very greatful for a job” and his favourite part of filming was “fucking lots of vampires.” Still waiting on clarification on whether or not this was a joke. But jokes aside, Higson promised to bring these British myths back (such as the black dog) to the forefront before they are forgotten in the mist.


Jekyll & Hyde creator Charlie Higson, actor Richard E Grant and executive producer Francis Hopkinson

British myths and stories were also the centre of attention for the panel of BBC miniseries Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. The show, based on the 2004 book by Susanna Clarke, follows two magicians as they bring magic back to England during the Napoleonic Wars. The panel was unlike any other from the weekend. Considering the original source material, many of the answers and questions were on a higher philosophical level. Actor and star Bertie Carvel was definitely unusual, but his love for the theatre showed through everything he said as the panel discussed things such as the importance of a community when creating a project that worth being proud of.

The seven-episode miniseries is now showing on Sundays on BBC 1.


The Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell panel on Saturday


Orphan Black Season 3 Premier: The sestras are back


Episode 1: “The Weight of This Combination”

Seasons 3 of Orphan Black opens Helena’s dream sequence: blue skies, mountains of cupcakes and costumes right out of a little girl’s dream (including Cosima in Ukrainian folk dress). But for anyone watching the Canadian sci-fi show for the past two seasons, they know that the dream is a far cry from the reality of the clone sisters.

When Helena wakes up, she’s in a small box with scorpion. At the dramatic conclusion of season 2, she had just been kidnapped by the military with the authorisation of Mrs S. This season is shaping up to be something far complicated, and really an undertaking. And it is a far, far cry from any dreams and happiness.

There has rarely been a chance for anyone to breathe – both for the characters and the audience. The show is increasingly becoming more and more complex: characters like Delphine are not what they seem, the looming shadow of Dyad Institute, and the introduction of the male clones that were a part of the Project Castor experiments. It’s been a constant series of changes that has made it difficult to keep up with at times, but that can often be the beautify of things. Viewer’s don’t know the answers any sooner than any of the girls in Project Leda do.

It is that addition of Project Castor that seems to have muddled things a bit. Their goal seems a bit vague at the moment. They were raised together, unlike Project Leda, so it might be interesting to see how their dynamic differs. So far they’re not very compelling at the moment, but hopefully they will find their place.

Someone who has found their footing in a big way is Delphine. She’s now acting as the “new Rachel.” Suddenly she’s a bad bitch. As to why or how this happened seems to be a bit clunky, but so far it has been enjoyable. Her new found inner-power was the catalyst for much of the action in this episode. Unfortunately, that means ending her relationship with Cosima in a really heartbreaking, though brief, scene.

Tatiana Maslany continues to be utterly brilliant; has she won all of the acting awards yet? As her roles become more demanding, she rises to the occasion. She’s even compelling as a scorpion. Even as the relationships increase in complexity, she delivers performances that help see into the unique psyche of each clone.

It’s clear that the comradely and love between the sisters has grown, and yet they clearly don’t understand each other fully. When they have to act as each other, as suburban mom Alison has to act as Sarah, it is still a one-dimensional depiction of each other. Maybe it’s just poor acting by the clones, but the women have a ways to go if they are going to win the war with sisterhood.

This seems to be where the show wants to take viewers next. “The Weight of this Combination” focuses not so much on the individual, but the workings of each individual group. There’s a lot of characters coming out of the woodwork, but no storyline is as compelling as the women viewers have grown to care about over the past two seasons. There’s a lot of directions they can go, but there’s a battle coming that is bound to be relentless.

The sestras are back indeed.