Orphan Black — S01 Review

22 Apr


I am addicted to Orphan Black. This is a show I’ve heard many good things about but never got around to watching until the last  3 days.  I knew from the commercials that it’s a show about cloning but what I didn’t expect is how completely unprepared I was, because it is nothing short of phenomenal.  Those of you looking for something new to watch show be for-warned about this one – the re-watch factor is high. The show is sleek, hilarious, endearing, dark, and thrilling all at the same time, yet I can’t compare this to anything I’ve seen. One minute you’re charmed by bantering, the next minute you’re a nervous wreck gripping the edge of your seat in fearful suspense.  The show is a perfect tease of tropes and archetypes – sometimes it plays into it, sometimes it’s completely off-the-charts-bonkers in the most delightful way.

The best thing about Orphan Black is that the writers didn’t set out to write the main character, Sarah Manning, as a woman or a feminist. They wrote her as a human being with proper depth and motivations, who, incidentally, just so happens to be woman, a mother, a clone, and a badass (I’m only using the protagonist, Sarah, as an example since this applies pretty much to all the clones, minus the mother part).  I can’t write much beyond this without dropping massive spoilers; however, another thing that I’d like to praise is how fascinating it is to see the clones physically and verbally interact with each other (and believe me, it happens more often than you would think), not only due to the technology behind accomplishing such a task but also because the clones are so drastically different from one another. So much so that it’s easy to forget they’re all clones of each other, much less clones played by the same actress.


Sure it’s easy to attribute this to make-up and wardrobe (btw, friggin’ love the clothes on this show) but those to do so simply have not seen Tatiana Maslany in action. Dual roles are mentally and physically demanding for anyone, but there aren’t many who can pull it off as half as convincingly as Maslany does – keep in mind, she plays… multiple (yes, lets just go with multiple) fully fledged characters – so major kudos to her!  The subtle differences in mannerism, posture, accents and speech patterns all done so succinctly that I can’t help but wonder why she’ s not a household name yet. Still don’t believe me? You need to watch a scene of her being a clone impersonating another clone.  I can’t even call her an actress because that woman is a chameleon.

In the pre-season two special, Orphan Black: The Cloneversation, Maslany explains her process a bit when she talks about learning her characters’ internal rhythm and how “if you change the song that’s inside of you, it changes how you walk, how you express yourself, how you speak; even your dialect changes.”  She tells the host that having a fantastic cast to work with also helps immensely: “As a actor you respond to what you’re given, […]. The dynamic is inherent because of how the actors respond to me,” and she could not be more right about that.

I wish I would find a better photo but this show is so visual to begin with, it’s near impossible to find one of the entire season one cast without leaking spoilers.


The entire cast has the type of natural chemistry that is rarely achieved before a show’s second or third season.  I love that all secondary characters actually interact and create bonds unique to each other.  This is certainly not a show where girls fight over boys (which is refreshing given its predominantly male cast), nor is this a show where viewers get battered over the head with endless rounds of  exposition after exposition.  If actions speak louder than words, then show-runners of Orphan Black have mastered the art this medium.  The serial would rather let viewers formulate our own opinions rather than waste time telling us what to think, how to feel, or who to root for in this giant conspiracy.


I rarely give a show such a high rating, but season 1 of Orphan Black gets at least a 9.5/10. The casting is perfectly done. The characters are so multifaceted and complexly written that as a viewer, you can’t help but second-guess the plot-twists at every turn, only to be delighted when things go completely off course. The best description that I’ve come across in regards to the writing is that the show is “[taking] the fiction out of science fiction,” as cast member Dylan Bruce proudly describes. The dialogues are sassy and to the point; the sets are extremely diverse… Did I also mention that this show takes place in Toronto? (“Scarborough? That’s practically local!”) Many big production television shows and Hollywood films have been shot in Canada but little to none of them actually take place here plot-wise, so it’s especially thrilling to get a shout-out like that.

Simply put, this show does not play around. Those of you who have seen it will undoubtedly agree that the re-watch factor is high – the show is fast paced (no fillers), highly suspenseful, funny, and endearing all at the same time. As for those of you who haven’t experienced this yet (whatareyouwaitingforthisshowiseffinamazing), I highly recommend you put aside an entire weekend to do so because you won’t be able to stop yourself from binging the entire season (10 episodes) from the get-go. This is the type of show where if you don’t get hooked from the first 10 minutes (and I’m being overly generous here since most people are already reeled from the 3 minute mark) then this is probably not your cup of tea since things will only snowball from there. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


+ + + + + + + + + + + +

FYI:  Season 2 just began over Easter Weekend.

Writers of the show have confirmed that “season 2 is like season 1 on crack” —

I certainly hope so because the final few seconds of the latest ep. me cheering ecstatically.

Will Wheaton chats to the writers of Orphan Black on The Cloneversation


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