So you’ve been looking for that next big show to dive in to lately? Game of Thrones just killed off your favorite character or The Mindy Project keeps threatening to be cancelled. What fictional world is now offering you a weekend’s worth of catch up viewing? If you’re not already watching it, then Orphan Black should be your next obsession. The plot leaves nothing to be desired. After three seasons it doesn’t leave you cold, and the characters are so amazing that even the villains make you sad to see them go. If you’ve seen this show around but have so far failed to be convinced by anyone to pick up the remote, here are some reasons to get off the couch and put this on. Then get back on the couch and remain entranced for the foreseeable future.
10. It’s Filmed in Toronto
Some of the best shows apparently are. Hannibal and Suits, a couple of the best shot there, most worthwhile shows on Netflix are currently filmed in this New York look-alike. It would be daunting to even go into the number of films shot in Toronto. But while Harvey and Mike prance around the business district and Lector is inviting the upper class to dinner, Sarah Manning is running for her life around the alleys. Added stalker bonus for the enthusiastic Canadian fans.
9. An Amazing Showcase of Canadian Talent
A good deal of the roles are giving fantastic exposure to gems from all over Canada: Tatiana Maslany – Regina, Saskatchewan; Jordan Gavaris – Brampton, Ontario; Dylan Bruce – Vancouver, British Columbia; Evelyne Brochu – Montreal, Quebec. These impressive people, and more, are representing Canada’s talent in exciting ways, and Orphan Black has a lot to do with that.
8. Tatiana Maslany
This woman. If you want to see what happens when you film an entire show about someone talking to themself, this gets close. It’s easy to forget that this one person plays 90-percent of the roles. Screen time and the intricate world of Orphan Black are actually predominantly Tatiana Maslany with a large wardrobe. But that’s the point. She is so amazing that you can forget that it’s her… and so is she… and her too. She can’t even rely on makeup or costumes or various inventive wigs to disguise her because the whole point of the show revolves around Clones. While she looks slightly different, she is supposed to look essentially the same. Her entire bid to convince you she’s not herself is in her personalities – her voice, her tiniest mannerisms. And she does this very well.
7. Familiar Faces
The stellar cast surrounding Miss Maslany is like a mosaic of vaguely familiar faces. Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) from Game of Thrones? He’s in it. Matt Frewer is there, someone you might recognize from Watchmen, 50/50 and a long list of movies going back to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Even Suits’ Patrick J. Adams walks into a bar. Not a joke. He buys Miss Maslany a drink.
6. It’s BBC
Technically it’s a BBC America. Regardless it flies under the flagship that brings us Sherlock, Dr. Who, and apparently The Teletubbies. Orphan Black lives up to its brand with fantastic cinematography, story, and acting. This also means the inclusion of brilliant British and Irish accents and all of the sarcasm and euphemisms that come with them.
5. The Cinematography
This show has that eerie quality of darkness somehow present in every scene. The tones seem to have a constant quality to them that make the colors deeper, the sky greyer, and the atmosphere cooler. The color scheme is definitely centered on a dark, cool feeling that always seems to suggest a looming rainstorm. The streets always appear wet, the sky always slightly grey. Even in the suburban shots, there is a darkness present. Bright colors are never truly allowed to take precedence in the shot. The result is a sharper image itself and a feeling that the main character is always on the cusp of something, yet somehow stuck in the middle of awaiting the storm.
4. The Story
A quick synopsis, avoiding any spoilers that may ruin your experience: Tatiana Maslany plays a young con artist who has just seen what appears to be her duplicate leap in front of a subway train. In search of answers, she takes on the identity of her doppelganger and soon realizes she is in for more than she expected when she finds three more women who look exactly like her. The show focuses on her and what she discovers to be her clones’ journey to uncover why they are dying, who wants them dead, and who was behind their creation. The twists and turns over the seasons have not left anything boring or predictable yet, and there seem to be an endless amount of veins to the mysteries lying within the subplots.
3. The Characters
To briefly outline some of the characters here is to describe just how intricate and exciting the Oprhan Black universe starts out, before growing over time. Maslany’s lead role and lead clone is Sarah Manning. She is a foster child, somewhere in her late twenties perhaps, brought overseas from the UK with her foster brother Felix and her Irish foster mother Siobhan. Sarah begins the show just leading a life as a rough-around-the-edges con artist and single mother, now estranged from her daughter. The additional lead clones include Alison Hendrix, who is a stay-at-home suburban mom with two adopted children, a rather woeful husband, and a pretty serious scrapbooking hobby; Cosima Niehaus is a scientist in the realm of biological engineering (a perfect addition to the team, trying to discover their biological origins). Niehaus is the sweetest member of the clone-club, her bohemian-esque lifestyle makes her lovable and interesting as she serves to uncover information for Sarah Manning, doing the investigative legwork. Lastly, and coming into the show somewhat later in the first season, is Helena. This creepy blonde emerges as a danger to the other clones, appearing to be raised as a religious fanatic who is morally opposed to the righteous damnation of the cloned abomination – her job is therefore to destroy the rest of her kind in order to achieve salvation.
2. The Development
Not only does the story develop over the course of the current three seasons, but the characters and their relationships deepen extremely, yet believably, during that time. At no point is there a lack of purpose or interest to the plot. At the same time, the writers have done an extremely good job of holding back. Never is too much revealed, and the viewer is always allowed a certain amount of time to try to figure it out for themselves – before another twist is added. The action plot is beautifully supported by the deepening sisterly bond between the clones and a slow revelation of backstory for Sarah, her brother, and her mother. The story of Sarah and her child is also slowly explored. Characters are introduced at a steady pace and in a way that it never feels like a new intrusion in the show. They are all so lovable or interesting that even the villains, like Sarah’s drug addicted ex-boyfriend, earn their place in the world, rather than just simply being a nuisance you wish someone would kill off.
1. The Fan Culture
This is almost always the best part right? The cast appeared at the 2013 Fan Expo in Toronto, the epic gathering of fandoms. And that is exactly what Orphan Black has achieved. Maybe you’re thinking you will never watch it because it’s not on that ever lengthening Netflix queue you’ve got waiting at home for you. But that’s the fun part of any cult fandom. This show, though very popular, still garners a select group of fans that don’t include everyone who’s ever used a remote. Being part of this fandom is a prideful thing, knowing the characters is personal, and following the plot is exciting beyond contain. This is something you can show your friends with a swelled chest and obnoxious sense of self worth.