At the end of last year, to mark ten years since the broadcast of the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the BBC, Naomi Alderman made a special edition of the Radio 4 programme Front Row, featuring interviews with cast, creator, and critics. Among other things, she asked what the show’s legacy had been, and whether the right lessons — female characters written as well as men, given as much narrative importance as men, and surrounded by other women — had been learned. Following on from her discussion, our panel will ask: who are Buffy’s heirs? (And you can listen to the original programme here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03m7zmq)
Orphan Black is one of the most critically-acclaimed and fannishly-popular SF TV series to debut in the last few years, and is notable both for being a strongly feminist narrative and for sticking (more or less, so far) to a plausible depiction of biological sciences. In the season one finale, the two themes are linked: “We have to control our biology”, one of the clone-sisters asserts. Bearing this imperative in mind, how do the show’s feminism and science interact and inform one another? How successful is the show at balancing commercial and political narrative goals?
The “Bechdel test” for female representation in films is now widely known. To pass it a film should contain two named female characters who have a conversation about something other than a man. In recent years, similar tests have been proposed for other under-represented groups, including the Mako Mori test for characters of colour, and the Russo test for queer characters. What are the strengths and weaknesses of such tests? How do they affect our viewing choices? And what does the popularity of such tests say about how popular media are being received and discussed?
Panellists: Simon Bradshaw (intellectual property lawyer), Richard Ashcroft (bioethics professor), Jody Lynn Nye, Simon Ings (New Scientist), Carolina Gómez Lagerlöf (patent expert), Joan Paterson (doctor – genetics specialist)
Who owns medical implants – the patient, the health service, the company that made them? Should the patient have access to details of the hardware and software? If an artificial organ is keeping you alive, does the company get to turn it off if you don’t keep paying the ever rising bills? What happens when companies close? When you move from mechanical implants to genetic treatment, who owns the DNA inserted into your cells? Will you become a product wholly owned by Big Pharma?
In a 2013 column for Tor.com, Alex Dally MacFarlane called for a greater diversity in the way SF and fantasy represent families, pointing out that in the real world, “People of all sexualities and genders join together in twos, threes, or more. Family-strong friendships, auntie networks, global families… The ways we live together are endless.” Which stories centre non-normative family structures? What are the challenges of doing this in an SF context, and what are the advantages? How does representing a wider range of family types change the stories that are told?
We have two rapes, victims of each gender, under very different circumstances. *SPOILERS*
Continue reading Rape in Orphan Black | Season 2, Episode 5 *SPOILERS*
As Sarah would say: Fan-bloody-tastic!
Except I’m not being sarcastic.
A truly thrilling wild ride of conspiracies and spies. The intense suspense of the finale had me on the edge of my seat screaming “Nooooo!” when the credits ran.
Orphan Black is a Canadian science fiction television series starring Tatiana Maslany as several identical women who are revealed to be clones. The series focuses on Sarah Manning, a woman who assumes the identity of her clone, Elizabeth Childs, after witnessing the latter’s suicide. The series raises issues about the moral and ethical implications of human cloning and its impact on issues of personal identity. [Source: Wikipedia]