Saturday, 27 September 2014

TV review: Orphan Black, season 1

Sarah Manning [Tatiana Maslany], a street punk in trouble with an ex-boyfriend, sees a woman who looks just like her. When the woman commits suicide in front of her, she steals her bag. She goes to the woman’s apartment, to steal her stuff, then decides instead to take her identity, in order to solve her own ex-boyfriend problems. She persuades her foster brother Felix [Jordan Gavaris] to identify the dead woman as Sarah. But what she doesn’t know is that Beth Childs was a cop under investigation for a civilian death. Or Beth’s boyfriend’s secret. Or that there is an assassin out trying to kill her. Or how much trouble she is really in.

This is brilliant on so many levels. Maslany is excellent at playing all the clones with different personalities so that you really see them as distinct individuals (even when they are impersonating each other!) The special effects mean that she can be on the screen several times at once. And the plot is clever, and fast moving, and twisty. Having just 10 episodes, rather than the usual 22 or 23, means absolutely no padding, yet there's still great character development. But best of all is the completely naturalistic way Maslany's various characters behave as they start to uncover who, and why, they are.

Season 1 explains a lot, but not everything, and then ends on a great cliffhanger. I can't wait for season 2.

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