Binge Guide: Orphan Black

By Nicole Fiorica

At a glance:
Genre: Sci-Fi Thriller
Seasons/Episodes: 2/20
Avg Episode Length: 42 minutes
Available on: Amazon Prime

What it’s about:
Upon returning home to reconnect with her young daughter, con artist Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) witnesses the suicide of Beth Childs, a women who looks exactly like her. With the help of her foster brother, Felix (Jordan Gavaris), Sarah infiltrates Beth’s life, hoping to make a quick score. The more she pretends to be Beth, the more Sarah realizes that something is amiss, and when she meets more women who look exactly like her, she finds herself thrown head-first into a shocking conspiracy: she is one of several clones, and someone is trying to kill them off.

Why it’s so good:
Simply put, Tatiana Maslany. The lead actress plays multiple characters, often in the same scene, and executes them so flawlessly that you’ll forget that they are the same person. I’m talking different accents, walks, personalities and hairstyles for each clone, each of whom is likable in her own way. Watching the show is often a vaguely surreal experience when you remember how much work and technology had to go into making it. But, of course, the rest of the cast is also a treat, and as the plot slowly unfolds, you won’t be able to look away.

Why you should binge it:
Beginning with a suicide and ending with a murder, the pilot episode of “Orphan Black” will leave viewers with little time to relax. As for the questions that arise in all the minutes in between, those will be answered, but only at the expense of even more questions. This isn’t the kind of conspiracy show that will keep you hanging forever, but it will take viewers on a ride that never really seems to slow down. Plus, there are only two short seasons to get through before you can tune into the currently-airing season three. Try not binging it, and see how that works out for you.

Maslany plays an array of characters, but of them, suburban soccer mom Alison Hendrix may be the most brilliant. Almost entirely removed from the most dangerous drama of the show, yet comically embroiled in her own personal troubles, Alison is comic relief as much as she is a startlingly complex character. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for Sarah’s daughter, Kira, whose innocent demeanor can’t hide the fact that there is a lot more to her than meets the eye.

Potential Pitfalls:
As is often the case with conspiracy shows, paying attention is key because the show moves fast and it isn’t always easy to follow everything that is happening (that said, binging often helps to remember small details). If the premise of the show seems too unbelievable, just note that it may take some suspension of belief to buy into this clone-infested world. Honestly, the most difficult part of watching “Orphan Black” is catching up and having to watch new episodes live. Besides the brutal week-to-week wait, Saturdays at 9 on BBC America is not exactly an ideal television time, but it is completely worth it.