Orphan Black

Orphan Black is an amazing show in many respects.

It begins with a mystery – a woman discovers she’s actually a clone and there are others of her gene line – “clone club”. They are trying to figure out how they exist, why they exist, why there’s such mystery around their existence and why bad things keep happening to them. It’s a show worth watching at least for the first 3 seasons. If nothing else, you will marvel at the lead actor’s ability – she plays all the clones herself.

All the acting is top-notch, the plot is twisty-turny without being too insane, the filming is straightforward but not dull. Most of all, the characterizations are what fuel the love of this show. Every clone has her own unique personality, mannerisms, inflections and outlook on life. Each clone plays an integral part of the greater mystery but surprises abound throughout the show. Everyone has their favorite clone, of course, and the show does not pound too hard on dark themes all the time – there’s plenty of humor, some of it slapstick, some of it clever one-liners and some of it just straight up absurdist adventuring. The peripheral characters are amazing as well – thrown into a strange world they gamely keep up with the clones.

The biggest beef I have with the show over all is the villains. Like many shows, Orphan Black has a tendancy to make the villains over-the-top and trope-ish. This clashes mightily with the realism of all the other characters. Occasionally, some of the other characters become trope-ish too; Sarah’s tendancy to be angry does wear on the nerves sometimes whereas Helena’s crazed assassin schtick gets a bit cartoonish at times. There are times in the storyline where you wonder if the writers simply weren’t sure of what to do – they didn’t know if they’d be extended so they made up some goofy situational comedy to fill the time. Then they swing right back into the deep scary intrigue that grounds the story in it’s original dark place.

You could do worse than marathon Orphan Black. If you like a tight taut storyline, amazing characters and want to watch women kick ass in every possible realm of reality, it’s a real treat.