BBC America’s “Supernatural Saturday” is about to kick off this Saturday, March 30 with a full-night lineup that includes Doctor Who, Orphan Black, and The Nerdist. Sandwiched right in the middle of all the excitement is the new original series Orphan Black that promises to bring conspiratorial mysteries back to television. I can assure you it does not disappoint.
The centerpiece of the show is the ridiculously talented Tatiana Maslany who plays not only the troubled protagonist, Sarah, but also her many clones. Maslany makes each character so unique and different you’d swear they’re being played by different people who just happen to look the same. From each character’s accent all the way down to miniscule mannerisms, it’s as if she’s changing at the molecular level when she plays each part.
The first episode does a great job of introducing the characters and giving us a taste of a larger conspiracy at the core of the story. In fact, it’s just enough to grab you and leave you screaming for more without giving it all away during the first outing. It’s a serialized drama in the best sense with interesting and fully-formed characters.
One of the many great things about this show is the genre aspect of it, cloning, is easy for most people to accept. Since the idea of cloning is so accepted by the mainstream consciousness Orphan Black will appeal not only to genre fans, but to those usually turned off by science fiction premises.
If you have any friends who love thrilling mysteries, but aren’t really scifi fans, do them a favor and get them to watch this show.
Sarah, an orphan from England now living in America, gets off a train at an almost empty station. There she witnesses the suicide of a woman who looks exactly like her; so much alike that they could be twins. Sarah soon finds out it’s not that simple.
Seizing an opportunity, Sarah takes the woman’s purse and proceeds to assume her identity. It seems like a perfect plan. The dead woman, Beth, has a nice home, handsome boyfriend, and hefty bank account. What could possibly go wrong?
Everything, it seems.
Sarah soon finds herself caught up in a huge mystery and her very life may be on the line. As she digs deeper into Beth’s life she discovers that they are both clones, and not the only ones. Now Sarah’s racing against time and circumstance to find answers to questions about her origins, how many more clones there may be, and what forces are working against them.
Episode one introduces us to a host of characters beyond the clones themselves. Some we see a lot of while others only appear briefly, but that just adds to the mystery.
Sarah’s foster brother, Felix (Jordan Gavaris), is the one person in this world she can count on and confide in. Felix is quite flamboyant and outspoken, but also has a good heart and is unfailingly loyal to his sister. Jordan Gavaris nails the role and you can’t help but fall in love with his performance. He quickly became one of my favorite characters and I think you’ll end up feeling the same way.
We also meet Art (Kevin Hanchard) and through him we, and Sarah, learn that Beth was a detective being investigated for a civilian shooting. Art was Beth’s partner so it doesn’t take long before he starts to notice that “Beth” isn’t acting quite like herself. Art comes across as a no-nonsense kind of guy, but also someone who cares about Beth.
Vic (Michael Mando), aka “Vic the Dick,” a nickname well earned is Sarah’s boyfriend whom she’s trying to avoid. On the outside Vic’s very “alpha male,” but over the course of the first episode we see he’s really just insecure. Vic even provides some comic relief once we see other sides of his personality.
Paul (Dylan Bruce) is Beth’s boyfriend. He seems like a decent guy and obviously cares about Beth, but there are hints that there’s more to him than meets the eye.
Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) is Sarah and Felix’s foster mother. She adopted the two in England when they were young, but moved them to America when Sarah was 14 for reasons we aren’t made aware of yet. She probably knows the most about Sarah and it will be interesting to learn what she knows as time goes by.
Do you see what’s going on here? Not only is the storyline full of mysteries that have you salivating for answers, but even the characters themselves have unknown depths. Everything about Orphan Black draws you in and it does it in ways so subtle you won’t even realize it until you’re hooked.
Watch this show. You’ll be engaged, involved, interested and entertained. One thing you won’t be is disappointed.