Jeffrey Malone’s 50 Favorite TV Shows of All Time

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You can learn a lot about people from their favorite television programs. TV viewing involves spending a lot of time with fictional characters and more or less forming relationships with them. Who we choose to spend our time with says a lot about our own personalities. With that in mind, here are the current standings for my 50 favorite shows of all time.

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Best Episode of the Season: Orphan Black Season 1

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Season Analysis: Tatiana Maslany gave the best performance(s) of the 2012-2013 television season, anchoring a show that did not quite reinvent the sci-fi genre but served as a breath of fresh air thanks to its supreme, grounded confidence regarding its most outlandish elements.

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“Variations Under Domestication”
“Variations Under Domestication” is a sort of modern-day comedy of manners, with clones.  In its satire of a particular class, a comedy of manners employs secrets and comic misunderstandings, as characters hide their shame behind closed doors and other characters get the wildly wrong idea about what is behind the door.  Orphan Black, with its lead actress playing at least seven characters and other characters serving as observers of those characters, is well-suited to having a comedy of manners episode.  “Variations Under Domestication” is slightly different than your typical Oscar Wilde play, though, what with its golf club assault, hot wax dripping, and nail gun firing.  And it was not even necessary to have this squirm-inducing violence just under the surface to skewer suburban Toronto and its Stepford-style housewives.  All that was needed for that was the presence of Jordan Gavaris’s Felix, who simultaneously embraces and goes beyond the bitchy gay stereotype.  His budding unlikely friendship with Alison, the most high-strung of the housewives and of the clones, allows for a buffer who can keep all the moving parts appropriately moving around at the potluck at Alison’s house.  Ultimately, “Variations” demonstrates how Orphan Black is aware how crazy its premise is and that it is still fully committing to it.  Clones showing up at your potluck party is what happens when wild scientific experimentation is released and butts up against (the rest of) real life.