TV: Orphan Black Season 1 (2013)

OrphanBlack-Blog-1-1024x576creators: Graeme Manson & John Fawcett
language: English (and a bit of French)
length: 10 episodes, 44 minutes each
finished watching on: 20 June 2013

I came across this show via tumblr, where I saw gifs of its gay side-character. I had a quick look at the premise – a woman discovers accidentally that she has genetic clones after an illegal experiment in the 1980s, and a whole conspiracy unravels around her. In many ways it was like the show “United States of Tara” (which I watched last year), in that one actress plays multiple characters, and there are gay side-characters, although at the same time almost completely different.

The main character is Sarah, who is impulsive and experienced in being underneath the law. Unlike her counterparts, she speaks with an English accent (although apparently she came to America at the age of 12, so I’m surprised she hasn’t lost that). She witnesses a woman who looks just like her committing suicide, and decides to pretend to die, and rob the woman’s purse in order to gain some cash quickly, although it doesn’t go to plan, mainly because the other woman was a cop, and she’s forced into rejoining the force in her place.

It escalates from there quite quickly – unlike other American productions, this has only 10 episodes, so character development and plot twists happen almost every episode. She meets other clones in the second episode, and by the end of the season at least 9 clones have been shown or mentioned. The actress who plays all the clones is particularly talented in this respect, as they all have very different personalities, despite being essentially identical twins. Many scenes consist of her having a conversation with herself, which must have been especially difficult to film and act.

The other characters were also great – Sarah’s adoptive brother is Felix, a flamboyant rent boy who lives in a grimy apartment, and like many gay characters, he gets all the best lines. Like her, he’s got a faux-British accent, which sometimes slips and sounds strange to my ears. I think the actors are Canadian. There was the Irish adoptive mother, and then the various other supporting characters too, like the police detective partner, who loses contact with the main character halfway through the season and starts to make his own headway into piecing together the conspiracy. Sarah’s clones are varied too – at least one of those is also gay and has a romantic storyline. Each has their own associates and friends, and it’s shown that some of them are there to spy on them. In the latter half of the season, we also meet the heads of an extreme, very cultish body and genetic modification project who are probably behind the whole conspiracy. And the series ends on a massive cliffhanger.

I enjoyed it a lot. I do have to pace myself, though; I watched something like 8 episodes at once, and then watched the final two the next morning before going to work. I should perhaps get more into the habit of finding shows that I want to watch and only watching one or two episodes at once, so that I can spread the enjoyment out and actually feel some excitement after the cliffhanger of every show. Since the season only finished recently, I now have to wait a year to find out what happens next, and I will probably forget about the series in that time! I mentioned this problem with the recent series of “How I Met Your Mother”, too, which I also pretty much watched in two days. The other problem with watching it all at once is that I then feel at a bit of a loss the next day because I still want to watch it. I now don’t know what I should watch next. But Breaking Bad should be coming out soon so maybe that’s the answer.

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One Response to TV: Orphan Black Season 1 (2013)

  1. Pingback: TV: Orphan Black season 4 (2016) | reuoq

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