TV Show Review: Orphan Black

I first saw this show at JB Hi-Fi, it had one of those tags underneath the DVDs saying one of the staff members recommended it. I wasn’t watching anything else at the time, so I thought, sure, why not? I don’t know how to describe this show without spoiling the basic premise, but I think it’s something that you find out within the first couple of episodes, and I think the description of the show also spoils it, so I figure I might as well. Warning: If you were going to check out the show just because you heard it’s good, and you don’t want it spoiled for you, stop reading now!

The main character is Sarah Manning, who was raised in the UK, judging by her accent. She’s at the train station when she sees a woman who happens to look exactly like her. That woman jumps in front of a train and kills herself. Turns out Sarah is not doing so well for herself, and when she finds out the jumper is well-off, decides to take advantage and use what the woman has left behind – since it’s not like she needs it. Things end up a little more complicated, and so she has to impersonate her for longer than she intended.

So the big spoiler, there’s another woman out there who looks just like her – suburban housewife Alison. And another – genetics student Cosima. As it turns out, Sarah, Alison, Cosima and Beth are all clones. As stupid as the premise sounds, the show is actually really enjoyable. Tatiana Maslany plays all of the clones, and she is amazing at it. Each of the clones has their own quirk, and you can really tell which one is which based on the way she plays them. What is also really enjoyable is when she plays one of the clones pretending to be one of the other clones.

What I love most about the show is Sarah’s foster brother, Felix. He’s just such a good character, and all the deadpan snarking.

OK, I have to admit that there are parts of it that don’t quite make sense (though maybe it’ll be cleared up in a later season), but the story is interesting – if you can ignore some of the stupid techno/science–babble that. The story follows Sarah (as Beth) trying to investigate why they were made, while still trying to pass under the radar as she doesn’t want anyone knowing that Beth is dead. There is a little hint of the secret society-style conspiracy, but it doesn’t completely take over the show in a stupid way like the Rambaldi stuff did in Alias.

It’s also interesting seeing the other clones live our their lives, and all their little problems, which don’t seem all that important when you consider the bigger picture with the cloning mystery, but still funny. Even though I found her incredibly annoying the first time I watched it, my favourite clone is Alison, and I love every scene where she’s with Felix. She’s the kind of person who would worry about what kind of stain she leaves on the carpet after shooting someone.

If you like action and sci-fi, along with a bit of drama and snarky humour, I think you’ll like this show. I do sometimes feel that the side characters (i.e. the characters other than Felix and the clones) are almost one-dimensional, but the amazing acting with the main characters more than makes up for it. I’m really looking forward to season 3, which I guess I’ll have to wait to show up on Netflix or be released on DVD (seasons 1 and 2 are available on Netflix, and I’m re-watching it now. Note: I have watched something new on Netflix, I watched the movie Tangled. I started watching Mean Girls 2, which was just as terrible as everyone told me it would be, and I couldn’t make it past 15 minutes. Serves me right for trying something new).

I don’t know what else people are meant to talk about in TV show reviews. I have a feeling that my high school English teachers would be really disappointed in this review, but I wanted to review it without giving away the major plot points. Anyway, if you have the spare time, I think it’s worth checking out!

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