Reviews of Movies, TV shows & metro Detroit Restaurants

Short movie & TV show reviews and metro Detroit restaurant reviews

Saturday, March 29, 2014

TV Show Review: "Orphan Black"

Entertainment magazines, websites, etc. sometimes classify certain TV shows as "the best show(s) you are not watching" and Orphan Black is most definitely on that list. It is probably the BEST show that nobody is watching. Well obviously someone is watching it because I'm writing about it and it has been renewed for a 2nd season which starts on 4/19/14, which is why I need to get this review out in the hopes that some of you go & binge-watch season 1. I highly recommend becoming one of the people who are watching it because it is an EXCELLENT show, one of the best that TV has to offer.

Orphan Black is a BBC America original, it was created by Graeme Manson & John Fawcett, and it is set in & filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It tells the story of...clones. Yes, clones. And these clones are all played amazingly by Tatiana Maslany. When people ask me for a new show to watch, I always recommend Orphan Black (along with Orange Is the New Black).

Sarah Manning (Maslany) is the primary character and she assumes the identity of Beth Childs (Maslany again) after she sees Beth commit suicide & sees that Beth looks identical to her. Sarah is a British con woman who takes this opportunity to assume Beth's identity as a means to make some quick & easy money. Here is Sarah witnessing Beth's death...

And this is Sarah as Beth...

Sarah is an orphan who along with her foster brother & primary confidant Felix Dawkins (NOT played by Maslany, but played by Jordan Gavaris) were raised by Siobhan Sadler (whom they affectionately call "Mrs. S" and is played by Maria Doyle Kennedy) and Mrs. S is currently taking care of Sarah's daughter Kira (played by Skyler Wexler). Sarah finds that posing as Beth is quite challenging as Beth was a cop who had been suspended from duty due to shooting a civilian. And Beth's partner Art Bell (played by Kevin Hanchard) is no idiot, he senses something is up with Sarah/Beth so he begins looking into her. Beth's boyfriend Paul Dierden (played by Dylan Bruce) also knows that something isn't quite right with Sarah/Beth, but he has his own secrets that he keeps close to his vest. The show focuses on Sarah as Beth and Sarah as herself the most, but while doing so, it puts her in contact with more clones (all played by Maslany):

- Alison Hendrix: An uptight, type-A personality who is a soccer mom and a bit unstable, especially when she's out of her comfort zone (and my personal favorite of all the clones).

- Cosima Niehaus: A grad student specializing in evolutionary developmental biology at the University of Minnesota who uses those skills to dig into what the clones are & how they came to be. She along with Alison are the clones that Sarah interacts with the most.

- Helena: A very disturbed, religious fanatic who is a trained assassin. Who is she trained to kill? Yup...the clones.

- Katja Obinger: The first clone Sarah is in contact with after Beth's death, she is suffering from a respiratory disorder which causes her to cough blood.

- Rachel Duncan: A clone who works for...the people who created the clones.

Orphan Black is the journey of Sarah/Beth trying to determine how & why the clones came into existence and portrays their struggles to survive. It is wonderfully written and it is filled with mystery, drama & actually quite a bit of humor, especially from Felix & Alison. It's a fun show to watch as it is very thrilling (especially early on), has a lot of plot twists, and also develops its characters very deeply. But what makes this show great and makes it really hum is Maslany's performances. For a single actress to take on all of these roles as the different clones with their different, quirky, dark, disturbed, humorous personalities is incredible. And she nails every single clone, playing each perfectly. She is truly a joy to watch.

Go out & binge-watch season 1 now...9.0/10 stars

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