It seems inevitable these days that Science Fiction shows will fail to keep their original premise. Characters get wiser or evil and things progress until the crux of the story has been all but washed away. Usually it’s easy to see the eventual demise of a story line from the pilot episode. If a story does stay true to its core message, I have to celebrate it. As is the case with the BBC America‘s Orphan Black.
The sun is heating up the pavement in Boston and the last thing anyone wants to do is sit in the house, but summer is usually the best time to play TV catch up. So, if you are looking for something new to watch; something with a completely different spin on the whole ‘clone’ story, this might be the one for you.
Orphan Black is dark, but in a way that makes the story gritty and realistic. It’s a science fiction show that is easy on non-Science Fiction minded television viewers, while still holding a candle for Sci-fi geeks.
OB follows the intertwining lives of four strangers who by all appearances are identical. Clones, if you will, but the physical is the only comparison due to the fact that the lead actress, Tatiana Maslany moves seamlessly between personalities, so much so that you start to believe they truly are different women.
A handful of unidentified young women, all identical, are falling off the radar by violent means. But it isn’t until Sarah Manning comes face to face with one of them, that the deaths are given the closer inspection they deserve. After Sarah watches Beth (Elizabeth Childs), a detective, commit suicide on the public rail, she assumes her identity.
It would be easy for Sarah to pick up and walk away if not for her unwavering commitment to regain custody of her young daughter, and so along the way she becomes ever more entangled in the conspiracy that is the clones’ eventual legacy.
Sarah is joined by the only living clones (so far), Alison and Cosima in an effort to find out who made them, what their purpose is and just exactly who is trying to kill them all off. But the road to their origins story takes a lot of twists including regaining and losing the trust of Beth’s partner, Art Bell who is already on his own path to discovering how so many seemingly unconnected deaths have a special link to Beth.
There’s also the catalyst under the microscope, Dr. Aldous Leekie, played by the ever versatile Matt Frewer, who may have helped to create the clones, but all of that remains to be seen. Alison and Cosima have battles of their own, trying to discover who their ‘handlers’ are and all the while, Sarah’s handler is also (her fledgling yet reluctant love interest), Beth’s ex-boyfriend (and a secret agent).
The season finale finds Sarah trying to reign in another clone, Helena, the religiously motivated and mentally unhinged angel of death, who has been relentlessly bringing an end to all her ‘sisters’ in the belief that she is the one and true original. At the same time, a key to the clones’ past comes to pay a visit.
Orphan Black is Emmy worthy for it’s engaging and thought provoking writing, it’s carefully and creatively laid out story line and most of all its lead actress, who is absolutely brilliant and more than adept at making anyone believe she is one and all of these characters.
If you didn’t catch the first season during it’s debut, you can re-watch it from the beginning at Itunes, Amazon or purchase the Season One complete DVD set here.