I am sick today. Don’t pity me; I’ll be fine. Or rather pity me but not for the fact that my immune system has failed but for the fact that I have not the energy to accomplish anything more than half a season of Orphan Black.
I first heard about this programme in Sci-Fi Now about eight months ago and because it was not immediately available to me I’ll confess that I forgot all about it. However, today the phlegmy version of myself spotted it on Amazon Prime (after a lost half hour of watching a film about a dead supermodel??) and I am lost. I have been sucked in.
For those of you who have yet to discover Orphan Black the basic plot revolves around a character called Sarah Manning, played by Tatiana Maslany, who upon seeing her doppelganger commit suicide assumes her identity. Not Sci-Fi enough for you? I understand. Upon entering the world of Beth, the deceased mirror-image of herself, Sarah soon discovers that she and Beth are not alone in their similarities and soon there are more Tatiana Maslany’s than you can shake a stick at. You can keep track though I promise; they all have very different hair. They also have conveniently helpful job roles that help the plot along, for instance Sarah is the street wise lead, Beth
is was? a detective, Cosima a PhD student, Alison the wealthy house wife and Helena who is 100% bat shit crazy. No, seriously there was a very tense moment with a little boy that nearly had me running to Sunnydale to go find Buffy.
Five episodes in I am actually quite impressed by Tatiana Maslany’s acting, after all it must be quite a challenge for any actor/actress to play this many versions of themselves. So much so that I am willing to forgive the occasional grating of Sarah’s wavering British accent. It has a ring of Joss Whedon’s Doll House and definitely a hint of Blake Crouch’s The Pines (now also a TV series, The Wayward Pines). Admittedly the idea of a detective immersing themselves into fringe science isn’t a new one, see Fringe, but what makes this stand out for me is the ability for everyone to find something relatable in one or more of the clones. It’s hard not to empathise with a character who can’t avoid portraying at least some part of your own persona.
I also like how quickly the plot moves along without cramming too much into an episode. This makes for quite a conservative series length of ten episodes which is indeed a rarity in what I regularly pick up from the Prime catalogue. That being said I imagine that by the weekend, when I have exhausted what’s available I’ll be cursing this very fact. It’s distracted me from everything else but really this is far as my snotty face is lifting off the pillow today.
So give it a go. It’s available in Ultra HD too, who can say no to that anyway?