Copper Killed for Orphan Black? BBC America Clearly Does not Like American Viewers!

Kyle_Schmid_March_2008Kyle Schmid at Megacon, Orlando Florida, March 2008. Schmid plays Robert Morehouse in Copper. Photo by Anne Petersen.

I do not watch the BBC on a regular basis. They rarely offer shows that appeal to me, other than Dr. Who. However, when a friend recommended the show Copper, produced by BBC America (and a list of others) I thought I would give it a try. In addition to my obsession with supernatural television, I also study American history and write a popular blog called Wild West History, so the theme of Irish immigrants trying to survive in Five Points New York during post American Civil War Reconstruction in Copper appealed to me.

This is a topic I know, a subject I’ve studied, and coming from a family of Irish immigrants, I connected. Copper premiered on Sunday, August 19, 2012. I truly enjoyed watching the show. I was more than happy with the show, Copper, I was thrilled. I told my friends about the show, my family, posted weekly comments on Facebook, and had lengthy discussions about the episodes.

Then, in mid-September, one of my friends said, “Another great aspect of Copper is the fact that it’s produced by BBC America, so you know they’ll give the show a fair chance.” The next night we watched the show, and when I logged onto Facebook to discuss it with my friends I discovered it was cancelled.

To make matters worse, it was cancelled with open endings! Copper is a show with multiple story lines. The finale introduced a new story line with the assassination of President Lincoln and left all other story lines open. I can’t think of an easier way to disappoint and anger viewers than to leave open story lines.

There are so many aspects of Copper that I could discuss here, such as the representation of the Irish in the show, and the risk of BBC America presenting anything about the Irish without obvious prejudice, but this blog is about Supernatural Television, and the only reason I am discussing Copper here is because it was supposedly dumped due to a supernatural television show that I do not believe has the same quality of writing.

Orphan Black

I was stunned. Finally, the BBC had a show that appealed to many Americans with its honest, brutal portrayal of American history, and it cancelled the show? Not only was it cancelled after only two seasons, but according to Deadline Hollywood, the show was cancelled because it was “overshadowed by “BBC America’s second drama series, the buzzy Orphan Black.

Tatiana_Maslany_(derivative_image)Tatiana Maslany at a barbecue hosted by the Canadian Film Centre founder Norman Jewison. 

As you may recall, I reviewed Orphan Black in May. After only one episode there wasn’t much I could say for the future of Orphan Black, but to be honest, I was too nice. While it’s true that the show has fine acting, particularly with Tatiana Maslany and Jordan Gavaris, I was a bit put off by the graphic sex scene in the first few minutes of the show.

The lead character (there are many lead characters, all played by Maslany), is trying to figure out if she is a clone, or a twin, or a doppleganger, or something else–this is supernatural television, remember–and is raiding the house of a woman who committed suicide in front of her hours before.

The other woman’s husband comes home and starts to question her about her clothing choice so she tries to distract him by attacking him. She pretty much rapes the man in the kitchen (remember, it is not her husband) in one of the most graphic scenes I can recall on television.

It was not the sex that bothered me, it was the writing. There was no need for the graphic sex scene and gratuitous sex is boring and irritating. That moment, that scene is what separated Orphan Black from Copper. As I told my husband, friends, and other Copper fans, one of the many aspects of Copper that I truly enjoyed was its clean writing.

When I say clean I’m not referring to sex. By clean writing I mean that when something happens, although it may seem minor at the moment, you know it is important to the plot. The Orphan Black sex scene did nothing to further the plot. It was gratuitous sex, plain and simply.

The Request

I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I’m not the silent type. So, I decided to send an email to BBC America via their website, which they claim is the only way to communicate with them. I explained that I enjoyed the show and was extremely disappointed that it was cancelled, particularly with so many open story lines. I received this response:

Dear Darla,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us  – we appreciate your support of COPPER.  The show, however, concludes at the end of its second season. We recommend visiting the TV Schedule page on our website, regularly for the most updated information about new and upcoming shows on the channel such as Burton and Taylor on Wednesday, October 16th starring Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West and Ripper Street which returns this December.

Regards, Robert

Viewer Relations

My Response

BBC America, could you be more cold to your viewers? Seriously? So they call themselves BBC America, but they killed the show about American history and are suggesting we replace it with a history show from the same time period set in England–Ripper Street. (I must say, though, I adore Matthew Macfadyen). In addition to everything else, neither one of these shows is offered by my cable company.

Removing Copper and BBC America’s response is a slap to the faces of Americans, particularly Irish Americans. Frankly, aside from Dr. Who, the BBC has nothing worth watching to offer Americans.

Asking for Copper’s Return

One of my friends told me she tried to post on the Copper Facebook page and her comment was deleted. I found that rather odd since she is not the confrontational type and I felt certain her comment would express nothing more than disappointment. I also tried, repeatedly, to post on the Copper Facebook page and the same thing happened–my comments were deleted. I suspect BBC America is trying to downplay the large number of disappointed viewers.

I am not alone in my feelings about Copper‘s cancellation. There are many people angered by BBC America’s abrupt cancellation of the show, as well as by the way they left so many open story lines. It seems clear to everyone that BBC America could care less about what its viewers wish to see on television and the focus has shifted to trying to convince another network to pick up the show.

There are letter writing campaigns weekly and tweet storms focused on bringing back Copper. If you’d like to learn more and become involved in the effort to bring back Copper there are two Facebook pages–check the Bring Back Copper page regarding a letter-writing campaign that starts tonight, October 17:

Bring Back Copper

Save Copper

You can also contact BBC America and voice your opinion.

There is a Save Copper video on You Tube.

There are also petitions requesting a third season of Copper: BBC America to Renew Copper for a Third Season BBC America Bring Back the Show Copper BBC America Renew Copper TV for Season 3



  1. Pamela Edwards says:

    Thank You Darla for speaking your mind about the cruel treatment of Copper . Your comments really sum up how many of the fans feel about Copper . Copper is a phenomenal show , one of the best I have seen in a long time and unlike anything else on TV now. It is a shame that not only the show was disrespected but it seems the fans who supported this show are being disrespected as well. We will keep up the hard and dedicated work to bring back our beloved Copper . Thank You for posting all the links on your page. This fan is very thankful .

  2. Thank you Darla for expressing what many Copper fans are feeling. BBC America did the cast, crew, and fans of Copper a disservice by ending the show abruptly at the end of the 2nd season without any resolution. Even Tom Fontana had plotted out and anticipated a 3rd season- hence why we were left hanging on a balcony with no resolution in sight. This move on BBC America’s part was in bad faith and has caused them a lot of ill will from the viewing public. But, since they have opted to go the ‘financial reasons’ route- which is what they told me in their 2nd email reply to me- we are looking to find another network or avenue whereby Copper can live on and be appreciated. So, I appreciate you bringing attention the Bring Copper Back campaign and hope your article inspires other Copper fans to join us!