TV Picks: Orphan Black, iZombie, Veep

Clone Club rejoice: "Orphan Black" is back, this time with an added x-y factor.

“Orphan Black”: When, at the end of season two, it was revealed that Mark (Ari Millen) the creepy Prolethean was actually just one member of a male clone army, Clone Club went wild. More clones? Male clones? Male military clones? Would this be the end of the Sarah/Cosima/Alison/Helena/Rachel empire and Tatiana Maslany’s ground-breaking, career-making (but still outrageously Emmy-less) role?

Well, no. There are indeed many more male clones a’comin’ — Project Castor to the female Project Leda — and the added x-y factor could prove either re-invigorating or super-confusing, but Maslany remains very much the star, though Millen’s role does give her a bit of a break.

Because Maslany is, and remains, the show. Her shape-shifting brilliance lifted the story from the slough of genetic-engineering despond ever since the first episode three years ago. And it continues to do so in season three as Sarah, the streetwise British con artist at the center of the tale, widens her protective mandate from daughter Kira to sisters Alison, Cosima and Helena. Although Sarah did her level best to kill hyper controlling clone and Dyad sociopath Rachel, her new motto appears to be: No Clone Left Behind.

Meaning her sister clones, of course, not the Project Castor guys who appear to have far more nefarious purposes and personalities, though that of course may change.

What doesn’t change is Maslany’s astonishing ability to create a spectacularly diverse array of women and convincingly play them against each other scene after scene; in several remarkable instances, one clone plays the other and not perfectly, resulting in a multi-layer cake of performance.

Also unchanged is the remarkably strong ensemble that surrounds her, including and especially Jordan Gavaris as Sarah’s foster brother Felix. He needs an Emmy too, if anyone’s listening. BBC America, Saturdays, 9 p.m.

“iZombie”: Though late to the wedding of modern monster-maintenance with detective-with-something-extra, I became a fan in half the time it took to binge the first four episodes. My colleague Robert Lloyd called it “smart and sparky” in his review, and I’m down with that.

Any show that can pull off a zombie coroner named Liv Moore (Rose McIver), who assumes the memories and habits of the crime victims’ whose brains she eats, is definitely smart. And as Liv, previously a hyper-ambitious MD seriously in danger of missing out on her own life, McIver manages to meld Reese Witherspoon’s Tracy Flick with Kristin Stewart’s Bella to create a whole new archetype, a Manic-depressive Zombie Dream Girl, who gets out of her own head by feeding on the contents of others’. The CW, Tuesday, 9 p.m.

“Veep”: All good satire rests on sympathy, and “Veep” is no exception. It is to politics what “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” have been to the news: righteous indignation with a heart of gold.

Former Vice President turned President Selena Myer is intellectually limited, petty, graceless and endlessly monomaniacal, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus humanizes her all the same. Spared the hollow righteousness or scheming villainy that plagues most political characters, Selina is a self-centered Every Woman, perpetually dissatisfied with her position in life.

Including, this season, her dream job.  After the resignation of the president, Selina now runs the Oval Office and realizes the truism of answered prayers.  Or, as she puts it: “I’m the president now, I get blamed for everything.” Her staff remains the worst (and the best) in the business — Amy (Anna Chlumsky), Gary (Tony Hale), Ben (Kevin Dunn), all both capable and undone by the prospect of dealing with issues that are, truly, of national importance. Most important, this season allows Selina to be taken seriously now and again. Which makes the inevitable mistakes even more hilarious.

"Veep" is preceded by “Silicon Valley” entering its second season also on Sunday night. The bicoastal and cross-generational satires — "Silicon Valley" skews far younger than "Veep" — combined with John Oliver’s new news hour, prove that HBO’s attention to the youth demographic is not limited to the recent creation of HBO Now. Even cord-cutters need a reason to buy in, and if "Game of Thrones" isn't enough, these two shows may be the millennial" version of Spy magazine. HBO, Sundays, HBO, "Silicone Valley" at 10 p.m., "Veep" at 10:30.

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