If you’ve ever been curious about, but haven’t check it out yet, this is a quick series review of Orphan Black on BBC America.
Orphan Black is well written, the plot fast-paced, the dialogue realistic, and the characters believable. It is a mystery thriller with a little science fiction thrown in. I am a sucker for mysteries and if it is spiced with a little science fiction, I can’t resist. A word of warning the show is rated mature and not recommended for those under seventeen.
The main character, Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) despite her many flaws (she lies, cheats and steals and abandoned her daughter which she now wants back) is made sympathetic by the brilliant writing of Graeme Manson (Cube ) and Jon Fawcett whose extensive resume includes Saving Hope, Lost Girl and Rookie Blue.
The Orphan Black pilot was fantastic but the premise of the character being a clone is an old science fiction plot device that is well worn by now. I worried that they couldn’t keep the fast pace of the pilot.
The main character, Sarah (Tatiana), discovers that she has a look-a-like (Beth a police detective) that commits suicide. She steals the identical twins identity as a way of escaping her messed up life only to discover her twin has even bigger problems and that there are other look-a-likes and someone is killing them.
The worry that the show would lose steam after the pilot was unfounded. Every episode is filled with plenty of action and plot twists and the mystery becomes more interesting and complicated.
Since Orphan Black adds the additional twist that the there are multiple clones, Tatiana plays numerous characters. Why her character was cloned and why someone now wants to kill them off is the mystery she must solve. In addition, there are numerous sub plots. She attempts to get the daughter back that she abandoned a year ago while hiding her identity from the killer. On top of everything else, she is constantly in danger of being pulled back into her old life of crime by her ex-boyfriend.
Tatiana Maslany is amazingly versatile. Even though I knew, it was the same actor I was able to become immersed in the story and accepted each clone as a different person.
As fantastic as Tatiana is she doesn’t carry the series alone. She is supported by a remarkable ensemble of actors. Jordan Gavaris as Felix, Sarah’s adopted brother, pulls off an incredibly complex character. He is a gay artist. Yes, I know you are going to say that it seems like every show has to have a gay character today. Well, maybe so, but thanks to the writing and Jordan’s talent the character does not come off as cliché. Felix is the reluctant hero who keeps being dragged into Sarah’s dramas because of his sibling love for her.
Kevin Blanchard as Art the police detective who was Beth’s partner is coming close to discovering that Sarah is posing as Beth. I’ve seen him before in guest roles on Nikita and Saving Hope.
Maria Doyle Kennedy ( I remember her from my favorite cult film The Commitments, 1991) as Mrs. S the woman who raised the orphan Sarah and now is guardian of Sarah’s child, Kira. Kira is played by Skyler Wexler, who I will never forget as Zoe the daughter of Skylar Adams (Summer Glau) on Alphas.
The credits are full of great young actors like Dylan Bruce who plays Paul, Beth’s boyfriend or Michael Mondo as Vic, Sarah’s criminal ex-boyfriend.
Graeme Manson and Jon Fawcett, aided by the incredibly talented cast, have provided us with a very entertaining and believable story that is just plain fun.
Orphan Black is on BBC America Saturdays at 9PM Eastern/8 PM Central after Dr. Who.