Space and BBC America launch a brand new series tonight, Orphan Black. We’ve heard rumors about it for a while, I’ve seen the trailer, which didn’t quite hook me, but my friend Tanya who worked on the show,told me that it’s going to be dark, sexy, and awesome.
I wasn’t quite sure I agreed until we hit the climax of the first episode, and then I knew I was in for the long haul.
Of course, it’s wrong to judge a series by its pilot, because this early they are introducing characters, finding their feet, and building the world.
Leave it to say I’m intrigued now.
The series follows Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) as she returns to a city that looks an awful lot like Toronto, but apparently isn’t. As she wanders the boarding platform in the train station she watches as a young woman, who looks exactly like her step in front of an incoming train.
To segue to a more technical side for a moment, there is a wonderful piece of camera work, a reaction shot on Sarah after her doppelgänger has killed herself, the image behind her wavers, in and out, like anxious, and worried breathing. I’m not sure how they did it, but it’s a nice touch.
Sarah has returned to town to reclaim her daughter, Kira (Skyler Wexler) from the mysterious Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy), the woman who raised her and her foster-brother, the rather flamboyant Felix (Jordan Gavaris).
Sarah walks off with the dead woman’s purse, learning her name is Beth, and decides to insinuate herself into her lookalike’s life, as well as her boyfriend’s, Paul (Dylan Bruce). Despite how bad Sarah’s life may be, living on the outskirts of society, she’s about to find that Beth’s life is a lot more complicated and possibly worse than hers was.
We’re given teases of names on birth certificates, all born within a month of Sarah, but she isn’t too worried about that, she’s more interested in clearing out a newly opened bank account Beth has with $75,000 in it. It’s enough for her to get Kira and Felix, and leave Mrs. S and Sarah’s abusive ex Vic (Michael Mando) behind.
But events begin to spin out of control when Art (Kevin Hanchard) shows up, and we learn that Beth was a cop, being investigated for a civilian shooting.
The further Sarah gets drawn into Beth’s world the more she begins to realize that this woman shared more than her face, there is something bigger going on here, that’s only been hinted at.
And like I said the last few moments of the first episode which sees an appearance of what can only be another Sarah clone, who appears to be sick and is asking to see Sarah’s scientist friend, that’s when I really got hooked.
Tatiana seems very comfortable shifting from accent to accent as she takes on all these doppelgängers, and it’ll be interesting to see how the story develops and who’s involved with this cloning project, and what it’s for. She imbues her character with a toughness, even while you can see her trying to puzzle out not only her life, but all the live’s she’s becoming mired in. She’s one to watch!
The show, in its first episode, is not afraid to show some pretty strong (for TV) gore, as well as language and nudity, so it may not be for everyone, but I think I’ll be visiting Sarah’s world on a weekly basis, and trying to puzzle everything out alongside her.
Orphan Black premieres this evening on Space!