Sometimes I’m a little behind on my TV watch since I currently lack cable so my only chance to catch my favorite shows is on either by Netflix binging or when I visit my parents on Sundays (they have cable and OnDemand!). Since The Walking Dead has been off the air for one month and eight days, my Sundays have been pretty empty. Luckily about 2 weeks ago, I discovered a BBC America show called Orphan Black. I had heard good reviews and BBC America has produced some quality shows that I’ve actually enjoyed like Being Human.
And why not binge on a new show since I had nothing else to do while I ironed my clothes, right? Right! I was instantly hooked in the first 5 minutes of the show. The show centers around Sarah Manning, played wonderfully by Tatiana Maslany, a troubled young British mother living in the states who is trying to return home after an absence to be with her seven-year-old daughter, Kira. She runs into trouble, unsuspectedly, as she waits for her train to get back home. As she waits, she watches a woman jump in front of a train. Being the troublemaker that she is, she grabs the woman’s purse and runs off and learns that this woman looks exactly like her.
In the pilot, Sarah takes on this woman’s identity not realizing that this woman was a cop with a history just as shaky as her own. Sarah soon realizes that taking up her look-a-like’s identity is no easy task and must pretend to be a cop long enough so can she steal Beth’s (her look-a-like) $75K that’s in the bank. The show is about clones so throughout the beginning episodes you see Maslany play different characters from a scientist to a suburban housewife to deranged killer. What’s so great about Maslany is that she pulls it off effortlessly portraying these different characters that you tend to forget that it is the same actress doing them all. Maslany manages to put different characteristics to each role that you truly start to care about all clones. As a viewer, I find myself wondering how the hell she does it. Each character is unique and she is in every scene playing a clone. It’s a test to her craft that Maslany really captures the essence of her many roles without ever wondering who is who.
Another standout character is Sarah’s foster brother, Felix (John Gavaris) who is not just her sidekick but also her confidant. Gavaris plays Felix brilliantly as both funny and dramatic but his character isn’t striving for the jokes. The humor and dramatics comes from his personality by simply making him a character you’d want to be around.
Season one was essentially a mystery and a thriller, as Sarah slowly discovered what the deceased Beth found out about the clones. She also realizes that there are two bigger issues at hand: where they came from and who is trying to kill them. The current second season just began 3 weeks ago and so far these 3 episodes carry on the same thrill and mystery of the first. In the current season, the religious cult called the Proleatheans, who were hell-bent on destroying the clones in the first, drives the second season and introduces new characters. If you have a chance, I highly recommend you give this show a try even if it’s just to watch how wonderfully Maslany plays all the clones.