Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Orphan Black

If you’re a crazypants TV watcher like me, your prime time schedule has been greatly minimized since the season finale bonanza in May. I usually like to take the summer to binge watch series that have been on my ‘To Watch’ list. This year, I had The Wire at the very top of the list… Until I heard about Orphan Black, and I’m so glad I bumped it to the top.

Orphan Black is a series on BBC America that ended its first season run at the beginning of June. Despite the fact it wasn’t the best rated program, it’s been slowing gaining a lot of attenion, and garnering a lot of critical acclaim just in time for Emmy voting season. Not to mention the lead actress, Tatiana Maslany, just won a Critics’ Choice Television award for Best Drama Actress (beating out the likes of Claire Danes & Juliana Margulies)! With all the talk about the show and the fact it’s only 10 episodes, I bumped OB to up to spot number one.

Quick plot summary: A woman named Sarah witnesses another woman, Beth, jump into train tracks to commit suicide. Sarah decides to steal her purse only to find out she looks exactly like Beth. In order to escape her messed up life, Sarah assumes Beth’s identity… except she soon finds out there are other women out there who look just like them. Clones if you will. Needless to say, there’s a sci-fi element to it. For the record, I’m not that into sci-fi shows, I mean I really liked Heroes, but this show is more drama than sci-fi, if that’s any help to you.

Number one reason you need to watch this show:

Tatiana Maslany!

It’s true what all the critics are saying about her. She is amazing. Because this show is about clones, she plays every single one – 9 in all I believe? – flawlessly. So much so that in my head they’re all different actresses. She posted a pic of one clone’s love interest, and I was like ‘how is she even with her, she doesn’t have scenes with that character?’ No, I’m an idiot, she’s really good at her job, and she plays all the clones and acts with all the other actors.

Every character is so fleshed out. From the costumes, to the little personality traits to the accents (oh yeah, she switches between accents too), everything flows so seamlessly. There are multiple scenes throughout the show where she has to play a clone pretending to be another clone. It sounds confusing, but she makes it so believable. On top of that, she’s a really good actress. In the approx 5 minutes Beth is shown before she kills herself, Tatiana shows her entire character in just one look. It’s mesmerizing.

For example:

This is Sarah. Punk-rock chick.

This is Beth. Detective about to commit suicide.

This is Tatiana Maslany playing Sarah pretending to be Beth.

One of the great things I read in an interview with Tatiana is that she has an extensive background in improv, which she uses to solidify each character. Her intuition of the ‘yes, and’ process helps lead the character in the natural direction she would go in. If you’ve ever seen (good) improv-ers, you know that they can make anything into a like 15-30 minutes – or more – sketch (Name a profession and a place! A pimp in Transylvania! So much story to tell already!). With Tatiana, she’s using that same skill and creating an arc for all 9 characters from episode to episode, building on the excellent backstory and script provided for her. Plus her mom is a French/English translator, so she is super good with languages. She learned German before she learned how to speak English! She’s legit perfect for this role. Roles. All the roles.

In fact, to all you Emmy voters out there, please please please give this girl a nomination at least. And then give her an Emmy. I feel so strongly about this I’m inclined to start a grassroots campaign – which I’m sure has already been started by some fangirl in Canada (fun fact: the series was shot and based in Canada. In fact, Tatiana and most of the cast are Canadian! Eh!).

There was a recent article on Buzzfeed in which comedian Patton Oswalt legit explains why she deserves all the awards. I’m not the only one who believes in this girl, y’all!

I would list other reasons why you should watch this show, like I guess the other excellent actors, the outstanding writing, the show’s ability to make you have no idea what’s going to happen next and possibly yell and throw objects at the TV, the hilarious jokes that are thrown in, or the loyal, gay best friend:

or this smokeshow (Paul, Beth’s boyfriend):
.But I’m going to stick with Tatiana Maslany. Only thing that sucks about this show: the fact that it doesn’t come back until 2014. But come on, what else are you going to watch until Breaking Bad comes back??

PS: Orphan Black is currently available On Demand (for Time Warner Cable, at least), but here’s a handy guide to find a provider near you!