Imagine you are waiting for the train. Suddenly, in front of you, you notice a person looking a little off. As the train rolls into the station this person turns around and looks at you. Shock sets on your face as you realize she looks exactly like you.
And then she jumps in front of the train.
That’s the premise to Orphan Black, a BBC america production starring Tatiana Maslany in half of its many roles as the woman who keeps discovering more and more of her own clones. She plays a con artist. A cop. A neurotic soccer mom. A biology nerd. A neurotic soccer mom posing as a con artist. A con artist posing as a cop. And a serial killer.
It’s one of the absurdest pieces of sci-fi I’ve seen in a while, yet it’s also strangely relatable, largely due to a solid script that takes the absurdity of the premise with just the right amount of seriousness and a great performance by its entire cast – but most of all by Maslany, who is undoubtedly cast in the roles of a lifetime.
Personally, I’m so happy to finally see another good sci-fi show, one that’s entertaining, geeky but still relatable and hella exciting. It’s got the absurd mystery of LOST but none of its bloated sense of self-importance. It’s got the weirdness of Fringe but none of its boring detective structure. And it’s got the complexity of Heroes but none of its terribly stupid and badly written characters. Orphan Black manages to back its characters into the craziest corners and then finds exciting ways to get them out of them – all while keeping true to the quirks and quips of the fascinating people inhabiting its world. Throughout the first season, it goes to outrageous lengths to surprise you – yet always grounds itself in its colourful characters.
If you want the TV equivalent of a pageturner with crazy twists and some of the most awesome bait and switch scenes ever, you should give this a try. Or, you know, you could watch something boring instead.