Orphan Black (TV Series)

Dr_Grip

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Now, that's something special right there. Orphan Black makes stuff work that should not work. The pilot starts with Sarah Manning (played by Tatiana Maslany), a British small-time crook living in Toronto, returning from a coke deal gone south. At the train station, she witnesses an elegantly-dressed woman walking slowly but surely in front of a train. Being the petty criminal that she is, she steals the dead woman's purse and makes a run for it.
Only to find out at home that the person on the dead women's driver's license looks very similar to her, which of course gives her the oppurtunity for a short con: Having her foster brother identify the woman in the morgue as Sarah, take the dead women's place, empty her bank accounts, fetch daughter from foster care, start a new life somewhere else.

Of course, things don't go that way. To Sarah's horror, she finds out that Beth, her lookalike, is a cop. A cop under investigation for shooting a civilian. And they look similar enough to fool not only Beth's partner at the force, but also her boyfriend. As her partner fears that she will end his career by skipping town, he steals Beth's/Sarah's cash and uses it to blackmail her into attending an internal affairs hearing. A short con turns into a long con...

...until Sarah starts receiving calls from a woman named Allison inquiring about "the German". Sarah meets "the German", only to find out that she looks like her as well seconds before a sniper kills her, forcing Sarah to bury her body in a shallow grave before meeting Allison, a soccer mom who as well looks exactly like her. And that's only the first half of the pilot.

Before we know it, we are down a rabbit hole of different identities, racking up no less than nine indentical, presumably cloned women spread all over Europe and North America. Working together as well as against each other, these women then start trading places and impersonating each other. But who cloned them? And why? And do they all have a genetical disease that will kill them? And does that even matter with a sniper on the hunt for clones being around?
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There are several things that make Orphan Black great television: First of all, Tatiana Maslany, who pulls off convincingly playing a bunch of different identities, sometimes interacting with each other, as different persons with different mannerisms, speech patterns, body language. She embodies the diffent identities in a way that Eliza Dushku never managed on Dollhouse.
Second, it's a plot that puts as much empasize human interaction and the troubles of keeping a mess like "a bunch of identical-looking woman all living in the same city" under control as on the big sci-fi concept. Of course, there's a secret organization behind the closes (that's not a spoiler, someone has to have cloned them!) and of course not everyone is who he or she pretends to be. But it's never as much overwhelming mytharc emphasize as in later X-Files seasons.
Third, it is the stellar cast of supporting characters, from Sarah's foster mom and her gay artist and sometimes-callboy foster brother to Beth's ex-military boyfriend Paul and Allison's overweight cuddly-bear husband Donnie and their bordering-on-caricature soccer mom neighbors...

I am through two thirds of the first season so far and am looking forward to the rest. Getting out of Wales and into Canada seems to have really helped the BBC drama division (Orphan Black is a BBC America production) by delivering a degree of attention to both characters and plot that has sadly been missing from Moffat's 2013-14 output...

Season two will start in April, so you don't have that much time to catch up! ;)

EDIT: Even the image above contains a mindtwist. As Beth got killed off during the first seconds of the pilot, the image technically shows Sarah twice - once as herself, once impersonating Beth.
 
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Orphan Black's second season just kicked off on BBC America and it's glorious! More clones! Clones dressing up as different clones! Clones getting mistaken for other clones! Clones! Clones! Aaaargh!

But in all seriousness, everything I've said above about season 1 is true for season 2 as well - it may just be the sci-fi series to watch this year!
 
Just to throw in my 2 cents, I watched the first 4 episodes when the show was first around and I quite liked it. But then I stopped watching because it didn?t really have a character that I wanted to see develop. Especially the main character was all over the place motivation-wise. But ... I?ve been told a lot that I just should have kept watching the show and my "issues" would somehow dissapear ... and I think I may give it another chance now that season 2 has started. I mean, at least :jc: she does have a nice bottom ...
 
Alison's yoga pants, right? :D
 
Alison's yoga pants, right? :D
No. Interestingly enough, I find her least attractive ... wich is of course curious since it?s all the same actress ... but I?m really turned off by the Soccer-mom version. What ever the opposite of viagra is, that?s her.

Finished episode 6 (the worst one so far IMO), still not hooked on the show. But will keep trying ... I?ve got a bit time to fill this week ... and I can do a lot worse.
 
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I think you just pointed out one of the amazing things about "Orphan Black": Even though you know that they are the same actress, you still are turned off by Alison (even though she wears yoga pants) but got the hots for... Cosima?
 
Cosima = hell yes. Mmm, glasses.

You're right that it's so easy to forget that it's the same actress. Tatiana Maslany does an amazing job!



Season 2 isn't hooking me a ton so far but looking forward to how it develops. I loved season 1.
 
[...] Tatiana Maslany does an amazing job!

While I don?t want to say she doesn?t, IMO it shows more how much hair, clothes and make-up can make a difference. I mean, every make-over beauty-show ever ... new hair, new clothes and a person can literally transform into another one. It is helped by her actually being able to act and talk differently (without being unbelieveable) ... but a big chunk of the work has been done by the people behind the camera.
 
I give you that - but compare it to how the setup did not work on "Dollhouse" cause it was always just Eliza Dushku dressed up differently. Duskhu never managed to bring the different characters to life, so to speak. Without spoiling too much, there's a scene in S02E01 where Sarah "goes undercover" as one of our other favourite clones and the nuances in Maslany's acting just bring the difference out beautifully...
 
S02E02:
I really liked that episode. TIL that among all of the things Sarah Manning can do, drving stick isn't. Alison is slowly falling apart, now that she knows Donnie is her monitor and she killed her best friend for nothing (well, let her die). I predict the "comic relief" Alison getting a darker touch from now on. Not much to do for Cosima and Felix this episode - but lots of interesting IRA-style action with Mrs. S (dare I say it - both episodes of S02 so far were very action-centric, I hope they'll dial the pace down a bit in S03). And I am looking forward to how the reshuffle-by-nailgun amoung the Prolithians will play out...

Bonus Felix moment: "Nah, I've seen were this hand has been!"
 
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S02E02 was better than S02E01 -- I'm hooked on the show again! :)

now that she knows Donnie is her monitor and she killed her best friend for nothing (well, let her die)

I'm not so sure of this. I wouldn't be surprised if her friend was the monitor and her husband has just been roped in, thinking he's helping her (saving her from trouble). He seems too bad at it.
 
Cosima = hell yes. Mmm, glasses.
If she wore nice glasses, then yes. But hipster glasses = no thank you.

But the glasses bring up an interesting point: So far (I've watched only the first four episodes so far) we have six versions, biologically identical. So why does one wear glasses? The only logical conclusion would be that all the others wear lenses...

Well, so far, I like it. Hilarious: K?rchering the interior of the car. And Felix.
 
But the glasses bring up an interesting point: So far (I've watched only the first four episodes so far) we have six versions, biologically identical. So why does one wear glasses? The only logical conclusion would be that all the others wear lenses...

I'm pretty sure it's not entirely genetics when it comes to glasses. Plus she's the smart one so therefore she of course has to wear glasses. /s
 
Glad to see this showing is gaining steam as far as international attention.

I'm proud that it's a predominantly Canadian show. Most Canadian shows are shameless derivatives of US shows from 20 yrs ago (re: they really, really suck).

What pisses me off is that the producers feel a need to almost completely hide the show's "Canadian"ness. The Ontario license plates on the cars have "Ontario" blacked out. Mrs S referring to how they leave the UK (but never referencing where they go TO). The locales around Toronto are made to look generic big city (well, that's partly Toronto's fault).

Okay, I'll stop bitching. Because it really is a great show, and Saskachewan raised Maslany deserves A LOT of praise for her incredible acting versatility.

Oh, and 1st season Felix is hands down my favourite character!
 
Glad to see this showing is gaining steam as far as international attention.

I'm proud that it's a predominantly Canadian show. Most Canadian shows are shameless derivatives of US shows from 20 yrs ago (re: they really, really suck).

What pisses me off is that the producers feel a need to almost completely hide the show's "Canadian"ness. The Ontario license plates on the cars have "Ontario" blacked out. Mrs S referring to how they leave the UK (but never referencing where they go TO). The locales around Toronto are made to look generic big city (well, that's partly Toronto's fault).

Okay, I'll stop bitching. Because it really is a great show, and Saskachewan raised Maslany deserves A LOT of praise for her incredible acting versatility.

Oh, and 1st season Felix is hands down my favourite character!

A large number of TV shows that air in the US are actually Canadian shows. For tax reasons, it's a lot cheaper to shoot up there in Vancouver as well as Toronto. Nothing new with this show. ;)
 
A large number of TV shows that air in the US are actually Canadian shows. For tax reasons, it's a lot cheaper to shoot up there in Vancouver as well as Toronto. Nothing new with this show. ;)
True, but I'm referring to shows with Canadian scriptwriters and producers as well as actors and location. What you are talking about are still essentially American efforts, which shows in their quality (i.e., generally much much better than Canadian-backed shows)
 
True, but I'm referring to shows with Canadian scriptwriters and producers as well as actors and location. What you are talking about are still essentially American efforts, which shows in their quality (i.e., generally much much better than Canadian-backed shows)

True, but this isn't the first. Continuum is also really good for example.
 
What pisses me off is that the producers feel a need to almost completely hide the show's "Canadian"ness.
The producers commented on it in an interview. While Toronto locales are featured and even named sometimes (the suburb Alison lives in, for example), the fact that it's not set in the US is supposed to go above the head of the casual viewer due to the international co-financing of the production. Which also explains why our lead is a British expat.
 
The producers commented on it in an interview. While Toronto locales are featured and even named sometimes (the suburb Alison lives in, for example), the fact that it's not set in the US is supposed to go above the head of the casual viewer due to the international co-financing of the production. Which also explains why our lead is a British expat.

Exactly. It sells better and will do better with audiences if they think it's local and not Canada. They're even doing American accents instead of Canadian ones (which you would normally notice).
 
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Exactly. It sells better and will do better with audiences if they think it's local and not Canada. They're even doing American accents instead of Canadian ones (which you would normally notice).
...and as it's BBC America, they threw in a few Brits in key positions.

EDIT:
I think it has been established in the "limo" sequence at the end of Season 1 that Donnie always was her monitor and whatshername was just a nosy, self-righteous suburban bitch.

- - - Updated - - -

So why does one wear glasses? The only logical conclusion would be that all the others wear lenses...
Not all kinds of short sightedness are genetically induced - it's only far sightedness that's entirely genetical...
By now we know for a fact that at least Sarah is normal-sighted.
 
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