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SYFY WIRE Orphan Black

WIRE Buzz: Orphan Black intros new clone; Garfield heads back to TV; more

By Jacob Oller
orphan black

Today’s WIRE Buzz is about a bunch of women who all look alike, a cat that’s so iconic that his image is inescapable anyway, and automated shuttles. But first, some actual clones.

Orphan Black: The Next Chapter, the 10-episode audio series that sees Tatiana Maslany reprise her role as the BBC America show’s various clones, has released its first clip: and of course, fans are already meeting a new member of the Clone Club. Speaking with EW, Maslany explained that there’s a lot more of the same to expect in the audio show, which takes place eight years after the events of the finale.

“There’s a lot of new characters, including new clones and the people in their lives, and people who are again trying to kind of control and manipulate them,” the actress said. “So there’s a whole new cast of characters.” One of these new clones is Vivi Valdez, “an unaware clone,” who fans can meet in the clip featured in the interview. In it, Vivi faces off against someone named Sturgess, an antagonistic force that knows a lot more about clones than she does.

Take a listen:

“She grew up with this sense that there were other girls who looked like her, and she thought they were imaginary friends,” Maslany explains of the naive character. “There’s this narrative that she sort of has repurposed in her head to be like, ‘Oh, those are imaginary friends that I was seeing.’ Her psychiatrist and her parents forced that idea on her. So when she first starts to see adult women that look like her, and Charlotte, and all of these other people, it puts that story of her childhood in stark contrast with what the truth is and she has to reevaluate it. Not only is she investigating this massive explosion that happened, she’s also picking through the part of her own identity and her own life story.”

Mirroring the original show's use of clones as a metaphor for the autonomy of the female body (and it being taken over by evil men/corporations), Vivi is just one of the new faces (well, OK, not new faces) fans can meet when Orphan Black: The Next Chapter drops its first episode on the Serial Box app on Sept. 12.

Next, another fan favorite is back from a bit of a media hiatus. Garfield — yes, the lasagna-loving feline from every comics page ever — is getting another cartoon.

Jim Davis’ fat cat (which is also the property that made him a financial fatcat) has already had a few television adaptations: Garfield and Friends and The Garfield Show. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nickelodeon is now going to try its hand at the icon. Now that its parent company Viacom is buying up the rights to Paws, Inc. (which includes Garfield and his animated U.S. Acres cohorts), Nick will be making a new TV show ... as well as pushing Garfield in all other media.

"Great content is core to the strength of our brands, and Garfield is a beloved character that continues to be part of the cultural zeitgeist with universal resonance across all ages," said Viacom Media Networks COO Sarah Levy. Basically, the show is just the beginning. Merch is just one component of the IP; adding a powerful potential franchise to its roster as SpongeBob SquarePants starts its first spinoff is another.

“I’m delighted that Garfield is going to be placed in the capable hands of the folks at Nick,” Davis said. “They know how to entertain and will be great stewards for the franchise. I am also excited to continue to do the thing that gets me out of bed every morning — the comic strip." If nothing else, that’ll still be as traditional and strange as ever—and maybe Bill Murray will even drop by the show for a cameo.

Finally, NYC’s transportation woes are about to get the AI treatment. That’s because the city’s first self-driving shuttle service launches in Brooklyn tomorrow under the name Optimus Ride.

According to Engadget, this service of vehicles (which are NOT Transformers) will be moving passengers from the NYC Ferry stop at Dock 72 to Cumberland Gate at Flushing Avenue from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. And as for being unmanned, self-driving cars of the future? Well, they’ll start off with a safety driver and software engineer riding along, just in case these shuttles turn out to be Decepticons.

The company specializes in vehicles that operate in inherent closed systems (its other ventures are in a retirement community and industrial park), which may serve as testing grounds for more expansive self-driving adventures in the future. But first they have to successfully help stressed New Yorkers have one piece of transportation that isn’t constantly slowed, stopped, or otherwise impeded by humankind.