Friday, May 2, 2014

Staff Review: Orphan Black

Whether I'm reading a book or watching TV, the most important element to me are the characters. I like a clever plot, I appreciate beautiful language, and if a story's set in outer space, I'll at least check it out, but more than anything else, I need interesting characters.

Orphan Black, I'm happy to say, is absolutely a character-driven story. Not that there isn't a fascinatingly twisted plot, but the real treat, for me at least, was watching how the different characters reacted to the story. The fact that many of those characters are played by the same actress (Tatiana Maslany) is what really sets this show apart.

If you don't want to risk any spoilers, this is where you should stop reading, and instead check out the first season on DVD. Not that I'd risk ruining this for anyone with major spoilers! As someone without cable TV, I've been trying my best to avoid spoilers for the second season before the DVD release on June 24th.

Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) has decided to make a clean break with her troubled past (drugs, abusive ex, petty crime, etc.) to regain custody of her daughter. Unfortunately, a clean break requires funds and Sarah is broke, but then, on an otherwise deserted train platform, a woman who could be her wealthier doppelganger commits suicide. Sarah sees an opportunity and takes it, and of course, by it, I mean the dead woman's purse. Sarah plans to clean out Beth's (the dead woman, also played by Tatiana Maslany) bank account, fake her own death, and live  happily ever after.

Of course, this is not at all how things go, and Beth, we quickly learn, is not the only woman who looks disturbingly similar to Sarah. Conspiracy, murder, dark humor, and did I mention how amazing Tatiana Maslany is? Because she (and the rest of the cast and crew) take what could've been another somewhat goofy science fiction conspiracy show (not that I don't love goofy science fiction conspiracy shows) and create something obsessively watchable.

~Sarah, Adult Services

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