Do you like science? Do you like science fiction? Do you like bad ass female characters? Do you like insanely amazing acting? If the answer is yes to any of these then you need to be watching Orphan Black.
You may have heard of this show for various reasons. Possibly because someone you know or follow online has talked about it. Maybe you’ve seen commercials for it. Perhaps you heard about the Tatiana Maslany Emmys snub that’s happened the past couple of years? Maybe this is the first time you’re hearing about it. No matter what, I am going to list the reasons everyone should watch this show.
Number one, the storyline. The show begins by focusing on Sarah Manning (Maslany), who, though British, comes home to I believe Canada to reunite with her family and hopefully properly raise her daughter. What she finds upon coming home, however, is a woman who looks exactly like her who leaves her shoes and coat and bag and steps in front of a train. This obviously frightens Sarah, and after a pause she grabs the woman’s belongings and runs. She discovers the woman was Beth Childs, a police officer, who has a great apartment and a sexy boyfriend. So why did she kill herself? Sarah soon discovers that she, Beth and three other women (at least) are clones grown and developed in a lab and who are now being hunted down. But that’s just the basics. With it’s now three seasons, the storyline has grown and developed and become so much more and so much stronger. But they have not lost sight of the original basics of the story.
Number two (and this really should be number 1.5 because it is just as amazing), the acting. Tatiana Maslany plays every single clone, and to date I think we’ve met nine of them. Though each clone is played by the same actress, they all have their own, very distinctive personalities. Each one is fleshed out, each one has their own drawn out back story, and each story is told beautifully by Maslany. But her skills don’t end there. Sometimes in the show she has to be one clone impersonating another. For example, in season one, Allison, a soccer mom trying to be as normal as possible despite being a clone, has to impersonate Sarah, a rebel who dresses and acts absolutely opposite of Allison. And Maslany, even that early in the show, knew how to show that the Sarah we were seeing wasn’t the real Sarah Manning. It’s absolutely incredible, and the fact that she has been snubbed from nominations until this year is ridiculous. Of course, she isn’t the only character or actor, but the rest of ensemble is just as amazing as she is.
Number three, the characters. As I said, each clone, even those we don’t see much of, clearly have a detailed back story and are fleshed out enough for us to care somehow about each of them. And every other character is the same way. No character on this show is minor, no matter what. Every character matters and every actor knows that when jumping into the show.
Number four, the pacing. Each season is only 10 episodes, which means there’s only been 30 episodes so far. And the writers and creators don’t waste a minute of the show. If you’re watching and not paying full attention, you will miss details and forget things that will pop up later. They know how to thread storylines so that you think it’s over and then they hit you with it again a season later and you sit there in shock as events unfold.
Number five, the core of Clone Club. We’ve met Sarah and briefly met Beth. Allison, as described, is a socialite soccer mom who loves her family and loves her clone sisters. Cosima is an incredible scientist who works to figure out how they were created while falling in love with a beautiful French scientist named Delphine who always seems to know more than she should. Felix, Sarah’s adopted brother who loves sex, art, and his growing clone family. Helena, a clone from Eastern Europe who I can’t say much about because she is the character who grows so much over time that telling her story here would spoil so much story. Each member of Clone Club is unique, loving, selfish, and so perfectly human.
Really, I could continue singing the praises of this show. But I think these four speak volumes to it’s merit. By the end of the second episode, you find yourself caring for each clone, wondering about each character and how involved they are and what do they know that we don’t know yet. You feel for characters when they fall and falter even when you know you can’t trust them. And most importantly, you never truly figure out what’s going on until they decide to tell you on their terms. It’s a wild ride of a show, and if you catch up now you’ll have less of a year long wait than I currently have (because yes, each season’s wait is a year. Cue the tears and the marathon). So go and find it and fall in love with this story and these wonderful humans, both fictional and real.
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