Why ‘Orphan Black’ is the Best Show You’re Not Watching

Orphan Black was a show I kept seeing pop up on tumblr. A lot. I didn’t dig too much into it, figuring it was a fringe show. It looked kind of sci-fi-ish, which isn’t usually my thing and, frankly, I was overwhelmed with the end of the TV season. However, once the lead, Tatiana Maslany, was nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award (and ended up winning- rightly so!), I knew I had to check it out. At least the first episode.

I am so glad I did, because I was hooked from the very first five minutes of this show! I kid you not, I watched all 10 episodes of Season 1 in two days. I’ve admitted to binge-watching before, but this show was different – I simply could not stop watching. Lucky for me, all 10 episodes of the BBC America show were available on demand (I have Time Warner) and I soaked them up. It’s provocative and sexy and edgy and thrilling. Honestly, it was like watching a 10-hour movie, that’s how good and cohesive and addictive this show is. I can’t remember the last time I raved about a show like this. It is ah-maz-ing!

If you haven’t heard of Orphan Black, or simply haven’t taken the time to check it out- here are some reasons why you should get on it, and soon!

– Tatiana Maslany. Or, as I should say, Tatiana Maslany Tatiana Maslany Tatiana Maslany Tatiana Maslany Tatiana Maslany Tatiana Maslany Tatiana Maslany. Ms. Maslany plays seven completely different characters on the show. So far. SEVEN TOTALLY DIFFERENT CHARACTERS. She brings a newness, realism and totally different personality to each of the seven. And, that’s only in the first season. She is perfection.. Completely mystifying and mind-blowing. Sure the costumes, wigs and makeup help, but only someone with true talent could ground these characters the way she does. She’s the dark horse to win the Emmy if nominated, but I”ll admit, I have her as front-runner if she earns the nod (and that’s over Claire Danes and Julianna Margulies, both of whom are favorites of mine and perennial nominees). She should actually win all the Emmys. All of them. Every single one.

– Clones. Yes, you read that right, Clones. Hence the seven (so far) different characters Ms. Maslany plays. The show begins when a woman, Sarah, sees someone who looks just like her commit suicide. She grabs the woman’s purse and assumes her identity, only to find out she’s in way over her head.  As the story begins to unravel, Sarah, and the audience, are introduced to new clones and new mysteries. Along for the ride, Ms. Maslany adds so much gravity to the show she makes it more than just another gimmick. She is in every frame of the show, sometimes as two or three characters. If you’re not sold on the plot, you’ll be sold on her amazing ability. The physicality of each of the clones is remarkably different from the mannerisms, ways of speaking, walking, eating…it’s simply astounding.

– Character-driven plot. Though the show is about clones and has a sci-fi feel to it, it is at its heart a character-driven story. Each of the clones has her own struggles, highs, lows and very, very, different life. One is completely animalistic, one is an up-tight soccer mom, one is a British punk, one is a geek-chic genius, one is a cop. I think that’s why most people who have seen the show rave about it. The core of each of these characters is what drives the show. I know that the characters are what drew me in, each of them uniquely compelling. Let me also mention the supporting cast is also fantastic and also totally knocks it out of the park.

– Mystery. Because the show borders the realm of sci-fi and reality, the mysteries that unravel as we find out more and more about the conspiracy behind the cloning become deeper and richer. The writers and creators seem to have an end-game at play, so they ultimately know what they are working towards (which is beyond important when telling a story this layered…remember Lost before the writers set an end-game?), whether the show goes another year or another ten.  Each episode is so wonderfully crafted, bringing to life more puzzle pieces that the viewers simply cannot stop watching.

– Accents. Accents galore! Pretty much each of the clones has her own way of speaking, and three of them (so far) have heavy accents. British, Ukrainian, and German have popped up so far, not to mention American by way of British, American by way of Ukrainian, and different regional North American dialects. Did I forget to mention that these are all spoken by Ms. Maslany? Oh, silly me, they totally are.

-It’s completely unique. I know, the clone thing has been done before – Alias, Battlestar Galactica– conspiracy has been done before – X Files, Ringer, Fringe– I get it. But, trust me when I say this show is completely unique. I was asked by a friend to compare it to something and I came up short. I don’t know how or why, but all I can say is that this show is nothing like anything on television right now. It’s refreshing, it’s addictive, it’s breaking the mold. Each episode feels like a whole different show AND another chapter at the same time. I cannot wait to see what Season 2 holds for us (and how many more clones we will meet)!

I have been telling everyone I know to watch this show- so far only one person has taken my advice (and she was thrilled)! This show has a lot of underground buzz right now, that is starting to get louder and louder. I’m a little bit sad I didn’t pick up on it and watch it while it was airing, but I’m also not because I could watch them all at once. If you really want to go on an amazing journey, check it out. I want to watch it again, but slower this time to pick up on things I may have missed. I am also anxiously awaiting Season 2, which won’t bow until March 2014. Such a long wait! Seriously, I cannot stress enough how amazing this show is. I cannot even coherently explain why it’s so good, it just IS! Jump on in and join the clone club! If you won’t take my word for it, just listen to Patton Oswalt.

Featured Image: BBC America, Other Image: omg-squee