Again I was going to write about John Hurt and Doctor Who, but it seems far more important matters just keep popping up.  This time it’s the issue of Orphan Black and just how fraking great it is.  Now, for anyone who has already watched the show, well you likely know this already and reading on isn’t essential, but for newcomers to the show or more likely anyone who hasn’t heard of or watched an episode, well it’s time to become part of

Without being a clone, here's Tatiana

Without being a clone, here’s Tatiana

Clone Club.

Basically, the show is about a group of clones – Beth, Sarah (the main character), Alison, Cosimo, Helena, and a few impersonations for good measure – played by Tatiana Maslany.  I’ll admit, watching the first episode it took me a while to realize Maslany was playing multiple characters.  This is due to two things: writing and acting.

Writing:

Surprisingly, I’m not used to good writing.  At least I don’t think I am, as watching Orphan Black really showed me what good writing is.  Each episode has consistent pacing, allowing nothing to feel rushed.  Of course, I would have liked more than ten episodes, but a lot happened in these ten episodes, allowing little room (actually I can’t remember any room) for dragging out a point or becoming boring.  But yet it isn’t all heavy plot points, a lot of the show focuses on the relations between the clones and of course, Felix, Sarah’s foster brother.  I will argue Felix is the best support character on television right now by simultaneously being an endless source of appropriately hilarious comments and a person for Sarah to come back to for help and the like.  The best way to enjoy the writing is to avoid any spoilers, so don’t go reading anything online about episodes, this is a roller coaster ride you won’t want to spoil (or River Song will have a word or two for you).

I don’t blame you if you are still a bit skeptical, I know I was when they showed preview clips and interviews with the writers.  I’m all for a good sci-fi story, but too often have I been let down.  Luckily, the writing has yet to disappoint, especially in the way each clone feels completely different, thanks to…

Acting:

… Tatiana Maslany.  I have watched shows with actors playing multiple versions of their character (i.e. Battlestar Galactica) but I don’t think I have ever watched a show with one actress playing seven characters throughout the course of ten episodes.  Additionally, when in the role of a clone don’t be surprised to see her impersonate another clone.  If this sounds confusing it surprisingly isn’t.  I can’t begin to imagine how she is able to get into the role of each character.  It seems I always hear about actors saying how hard it is to become a character, but here Maslany basically plays every character in the show as the season progresses.  Brilliant, is the only word that comes to mind when trying to describe her acting.  With such a diverse group of characters there is no doubt you will have your favorite(s) picked out in no time (my favorite clone is Alison).

So now I’ve told you how she can play each character, fine, but there still can be the chance each character becomes nothing more than an over-the-top version of themselves.  This doesn’t happen here.  I was glad to see the characters actually feel like real people and not just there with specific character traits in order to progress the plot (well, okay to be fair their talents do come into play at times).  Watching the clones struggle with their personal lives could easily be its own show and could potentially put the sci-fi stuff to the side for a season, that’s how rich in detail these characters are written and brought to life.

Just a little bit of Alison's sass

Just a little bit of Alison’s sass

Is there nothing wrong with it?:

Yes, the show is not without its faults.  I’m not a fan of Paul (played by Dylan Bruce) and it at one point you may find it to become a little cliche (at least I did, but the following episode added a nice twist to get me right back into the action).  Again, the biggest crime, only ten episodes ending on a killer cliffhanger forcing us to wait until next year to see where the show is going.

Basically:

With the current summer drought of shows there’s really no reason to not give the show a go.  Well, that’s making it sound like the show is just kind of there for when you feel like watching, and you know what, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not having watched the show yet.  Don’t worry though, I don’t mean to sound rude, as a matter of fact, the fine folks at BBC America have compiled a list of ways to view Orphan Black.  Just be warned, once you watch Maslany it may be difficult to take other actors seriously.

Oh, if you want a rating for the season, well I’ll give it a 9.5/10, as everything out there has room for improvement but this is pretty close to being a perfect show.

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