While everyone else spent their Memorial Day weekend binging on Netflix’s new Arrested Development episodes or actually spending time with their families, I spent the holiday weekend catching up on BBC America’s stunningly brilliant new show Orphan Black. The first season, only ten episodes long, ends this Saturday after the season finale’s airing at 9PM. However, BBC America is kindly airing an Orphan Black marathon, beginning June 1st at noon and featuring the first nine episodes before Saturday’s finale.
Here are some reasons why you should tune in.
1. Tatiana Maslany
Orphan Black’s lead actress plays not one, not two, but six different characters throughout the show. Not one of the characters is similar to another; all of them come equipped with their own accents, styles of speech, movements, and various nuances that all fully-fleshed characters contain. Tatiana Maslany plays these various characters (who not only frequently appear on screen together, but also range from an uptight suburban soccer mom to a crazed, self-abusing assassin) so unbelievably well that I was constantly reminding myself while watching that each character was played by the same actress, and I still find myself forgetting when I watch. She’s that good.
2. The Twisty, Complex Plot
I started this show blind, only vaguely aware of the plot, and I definitely don’t want to give anything spoiler-y away here. The basic premise involves a broke woman named Sarah Manning who witnesses the suicide of another woman who looks exactly like her on the subway station. With the intention of robbing the dead woman, Sarah Manning instead finds herself impersonating her dead doppelganger in an attempt to discover how the two identical women are connected.
The show is one of the most fully-realized and well-written sci-fi shows I’ve ever seen, easily in league with heavy hitters like Battlestar Galactica. As the show progresses, Orphan Black’s uniquely envisioned world further unravels and expands, and never does the increasingly-complex storyline overshadow the show’s excellent characters. If anything, Orphan Black has only gotten better at balancing story with emotionally-charged scenes of character development since its beginning. Also, though the storyline is often serious, the writers manage to sprinkle humor throughout the drama in an easy, natural way that’s reminiscent of a Whedon show.
3. The Supporting Cast
Though Tatiana Maslany covers a huge chunk of the cast all on her own, the supporting cast manages to keep up with her fairly well. Most notable are Jordan Gavaris, who plays Sarah’s hilarious and brutally honest foster brother, Felix, Kevin Hanchard, a detective who knew Sarah’s dead doppelganger, and Dylan Bruce, who plays Sarah’s dead doppelganger’s boyfriend (a mouthful, I know). Honestly, there’s not a weak character to be found here (with the possible exception of Sarah’s deadbeat ex-boyfriend, Vic), and all of them are only getting better as the story progresses.
So, if I haven’t yet convinced you, then check out the official trailer yourself, below.