Orphan Black is the newest and greatest and most addicting sci-fi show you’ve never heard of. The show takes off running when Sarah Manning, played by Tatiana Maslany, witnesses the suicide of a woman who looks exactly like her. Before you know it, she’s knee-deep in clones, and within the span of a few episodes, you’ll begin to marvel at the fact that the ridiculously talented Tatiana plays roughly half the cast of the entire show. Do you need even more reasons to watch it? BECAUSE I'VE GOT THEM.
1. Tatiana Maslany is a super gorgeous lady goddess. I don’t know if I want to date her or be her. Seriously, she can rock everything from the "punk rock" look to the "psychotic religious zealous intent on killing everyone" look. That’s quite a spectrum.
2. The girl can act. I mean, holy versatility. At various points in the series she portrays seven different people. I’ve watched terrible movies that didn’t even have that many people in the cast. And she plays them all as totally distinct characters with their own mannerisms and facial expressions. She plays Sarah, the kickass British con artist. She plays Alison, the Paranoid Soccer Mom. She plays Cosima, the adorable smartypants of the gang. She even plays Helena, and Helena’s kind of like if you crossbred a cold-blooded assassin with a baby koala and also Shakira, so you know that one's not easy to pull off.
So Tatiana Maslany is pretty much a mystical wizard actress capable of making us believe that there are actually a handful of her running amok. But what’s really astounding is when she’s playing a character that’s pretending to be somebody else—for instance, when Sarah pretends to be Alison during Alison’s neighborhood potluck. Underneath the makeup and the headband and the soccer mom blouse, you can totally tell this is just Sarah trying to be Alison. And when Alison pretends to be Sarah? SAME THING. You would never think this is one actress—you really, truly believe this is a suburban soccer mom trying to pull off a British accent. It’s just brilliant.
3. Sarah’s foster brother Felix. He gets his own category, because he’s terrific and he knows it.
4. The cinematography. Cinematographer Aaron Morton is the creative genius behind Spartacus, and Orphan Black is flawless and dark and just really aesthetically pleasing to look at when you’re not shouting things like "WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?"
5. The soundtrack. I will be hearing Trevor Yuile's chilling "Helena Screech" score in my nightmares. It was equal parts Lost Smoke Monster noises and the HOUNDS OF HELL.
6. The science behind them putting two or more clones in the same scene is absolutely fascinating. It involves a lot of takes, and probably more patience than I actually have in my arsenal.
7. Tatiana just won a Critic’s Choice Award, so when Orphan Black starts getting surreptitiously nominated for things, you want to be that person amidst the confusion who can say, “I’VE HEARD OF THAT.”
8. The very first scene of the season is SPECTACULAR. If that doesn’t suck you in, I don’t know what you’re looking for in a TV show.
Basically, Orphan Black is one of those edgier sci-fi shows that sprinkles in a hint of everything else, including but not limited to humor, romance, and suspense. Dear God, the suspense. I just watched the season finale, and I shrieked out loud in a house full of sleeping people who were not happy about it. That was after I binge-watched the other nine episodes more or less in a span of days. (Human contact? Responsibilities? Pfft.) So c’mon, people. Make with the bandwagon-jumping so I can form a support group of emotionally compromised superfans who just think Tatiana should win an Emmy, if for no other reason than the presenter will have to pause for breath while listing all the roles she plays.
Have you checked out Orphan Black yet? Do you want to after reading this? WE DO. WE REALLY, REALLY DO.