Orphans, pleas, and How I Met Your ... Father?

You know how life sometimes gets in the way of television viewing? I guess most people aren't too bothered by such things, but - when it happens to me - it invariably means I don't have time to really delve into topics I'd love to spend a thousand words trying to understand. Also, it means I fall two episodes behind on Boardwalk Empire and Orange Is The New Black, which is upsetting in itself.

No, on those days its best to leave the deep'n'meaningfuls and go for a quick-fire approach. Here are some quick thoughts on a few shows, a couple of interesting stories, a plea for help, and a handful of links that caught my attention. Feel free to share your thoughts on anything mentioned below (or not, whatever) in the comments below.

(Be warned: spoilers for Orphan Black, The Walking Dead and Downton Abbey follow.)

So you're saying she's, like, a clone or summin?
The first season of Orphan Black got underway last night (SoHo, Tuesdays at 8.30pm) and, if you haven't already partaken of its goodness via the internet, you should definitely be watching: the story is original and engrossing, the setting is unique, and lead Tatiana Maslany is a revelation: we meet her as Sarah, but she quickly finds out that she is one of several copies. Maslany is flawless, playing each of the versions in both obvious and subtle ways, really getting the nuance of each character. I've seen four episodes already and this is one show that I can highly recommend.

The ballad of Carol & Rick ... and the eventual Rick-Daryl brawl
I'm not sure if I want Carol back or not, but I do think this was the gutsiest move we've seen from Rick all season; the Rick who refused to carry a gun, who looked shaken after a run-in with Tyreese, and who was haunted by the pair of murders that took place in hi prison, is now more decisive than ever (though not beyond looking back, as hinted by that little glance in the rearview toward the end of the episode). I am interested, however, in how Daryl is going to respond when he finds out what has happened. Judging from promos for next week, it seems like everybody will be back at the prison, so we might find out sooner than later.

I reckon The Walking Dead (TV2, Tuesdays at 9.30pm) has been at its best over these four episodes, and last night's instalment - complete with a nod to The Wire, with Bob using a board game metaphor (kind of like how D'Angelo Barksdale, Larry Gilliard Jr's previous character, once explained gang life in chess terms) - was the best yet.

Downton Abbey goes into some pretty heavy territory
Apparently somewhere in the order of 400 people complained about the latest episode of Downton Abbey (Prime, Monday at 8.35pm) when it aired in the UK - but why? The actual act of rape, in which Anna (Joanne Froggatt) was attacked by Mr Green, took place off-screen, and it seems like the writers are more interested in the dramatic fallout (some of which will stem from Anna's decision not to tell Bates) than with the act itself.

If Fellowes can manage to look at rape from an intelligent angle, perhaps even discussing why rape is so wrong and looking at the emotional toll it takes - especially when so much media time this week has been spent on a group of dropkicks with a stupid name, the Roastbusters - then I think it might actually be worth the screen time after all.

How I Met Your ... Father? Stop. Just, stop.
I was already fed up with the antics of How I Met Your Mother when last season ended and, by all accounts, that frustration will only grow when I finally get to see the final season - which takes place over the course of a single weekend, and will end with Ted (Josh Radnor) finally meeting The Mother (Cristin Milioti). Snore.

As if challenging us to be even more angry at the show, news broke late last week that CBS are developing a spin-off from the show with producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, plus Up All Night creator Emily Spivey, titled (you guessed it) How I Met Your Father. Basically, it would be exactly the same show, but with a female lead and a new cast of characters. I think it sounds awful. So please, CBS (and Bays, and Thomas): please don't do this.

Sequel idea: Full House 2 - Full Houser
Do you think the idea of doing a sequel to hit eighties-nineties comedy Full House sounds like a brilliant idea? You don't? Well, it doesn't matter what you think - it sounded like such a great idea to some people that they broke news of its impending, uhh, happening: Perez Hilton ran a story claiming exactly that this week, before quickly running a retraction because it turned out to be a hoax (translated: he misread the original story and jumped to a wild conclusion).

It had me thinking, though: why wouldn't something like this work? Bob Saget is hilarious and, if given a little space to introduce some of the more mature elements of his comedy, I'm sure he could lead a nice spin on the traditional family comedy. On the other hand, family comedies can be pretty damn terrible (see: Middle, The).

Vote for On The Box in the Netguide Web Awards!
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Okay, let's wrap this up with a barrage of links ...
The first photo from the third season of Sherlock has emerged and tells us absolutely nothing ... it appears The Walking Dead out-rated Sunday Night Football (NFL) in key demographics in the USA this week, which is amazing ... the first trailer for Helix, the new series from Ronald D Moore (Battlestar Galactica) starting on SyFy on January 10, looks enticing ... Agents of SHIELD producers have announced that the show will crossover with the rather brilliant Thor: The Dark World ... I enjoyed this roundup of 11 female villains ... I also enjoyed James Poniewozik's tribute to Marcia Wallace/Edna Krabappel, and thought The Simpsons subtle tribute to the character was gorgeous ... and Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan is set to guest star in the fifth season of Community.

What have you been watching this week? Are you enjoying The Walking Dead? Orphan Black? Think a sequel to Full House would be a fantastic idea? Would you watch How I Met Your Father? Share a few random thoughts in the comments below ...

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