Culture Television

TV Bingeing From Vampires to Clones

From fantasy to science fiction, these past few months have been a marathon of TV show binge watching.

Photo: BBC America

These past few months I’ve been binge watching fantasy and science fiction TV series with the dedication of an Olympic runner training to break a record sprint; at least one episode per night during the weekdays, and as many as I can on the weekends.

The binge started with “The Vampire Diaries”; a fantasy drama that alternates between cheesy romantic exchanges and blood splattering saturnalias. Indeed, the vampires in this show don’t bite and sip. They clamp and drain. Meanwhile, the love triangle between one doppelgänger high school cheerleader and two vampire brothers is reminiscent of Lana Lang’s entanglement with Clark Kent and Lex Luthor in “Smallville”; that is to say, corny and contentious. Boyfriend-girlfriend dramas aside though, “The Vampire Diaries” is really about the story of two brothers. And Ian Somerhalder as the older Salvatore brother plays the part with great gusto. Overall it’s a very addictive show.

“Game of Thrones” season 7 was a spectacle of fire and ice. All the major players in this sanguinary game finally meet face-to-face, the queens in particular; one displaying the boldness of Artemisia, and the other possessing the scowl of Medea. It was predictably entertaining. Although noticeably, the White Walkers are no longer the creatures of horror that surprised us in season 1. The living are scarier than the dead. Now we wait for the final season 8 to air in 2019.

After GOT I started “Sense8” by the Matrix sisters; thus making the transition from fantasy to science fiction. “Sense8” is a weird show that is very good. It is about a group of eight people from around the world who become telepathically linked. A psychic bond thus connecting them, allows a gang of unlikely friends to become a united cluster. Too bad the show only lasted two seasons though.

Next on the to-watch-list was sci-fi drama about clones “Orphan Black”; where “The Vampire Diaries” focused on brothers, “Orphan Black” was all about sisterhood. One actress plays a dozen clones, each with her own unique personality and background story, including: British punk, depressed cop, soccer mom, tattooed nerd, Ukrainian Assassin, nefarious CEO, bubbly blonde, etc. Actress Tatiana Maslany does a very convincing job; hair and makeup help, but it’s her excellent acting chops that make the different clone characters appear as distinct and believable individuals. My favourite clone in the series would have to be Alison Hendrix, i.e. “soccer mom”; lady of the house, queen of her husband, and empress of the suburb.

Last on this binge list is “Dark Matter.” The premise of the show is that a group of six people wake up from stasis pods aboard a starship and can’t remember who they are; their memories having been mysteriously wiped. In the meantime they call themselves One to Six, in the order of their awakening. The gang is a bunch of mixed personalities: there’s the guy with the hero complex, the woman in charge, the insouciant dude, the zen samurai, the tech girl, and the righteous man. There’s also an android on board; but her databank has been cleared as well. It doesn’t take long for the crew to realize however, that they are notorious mercenaries and wanted criminals by the Galactic Authority. All that said and done, this is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and so is great fun to watch. In other words, “Dark Matter” is “Firefly” with less cowboys. The women rescue the men in this show.

And that concludes my most recent binge watching of fantasy and science fiction TV series. Thankfully there are so many highly rated shows these days belonging to those genres, such that when one marathon ends another can immediately begin.

By Boripat Lebel

Boripat Lebel is a research coordinator at the Unit for Social and Environmental Research at Chiang Mai University. He authored the eBook “A Vomit of Diamonds.” Boripat can also be found on LinkedIn .