Thoughts on Orphan Black season 1

Hello there! How much time has passed since my last haiku? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter, here I am! And this time I once again indulge in “reviewing” a television series (as in “I comment of stuff that was memorable but don’t really say anything about the plot”). Today, it’s all about the first season of Orphan Black – which you should totally watch. Of course SPOILER ALERT!

So, yeah, I don’t remember when I first heard about Orphan Black, I suppose it must have been a Nerdist news item on facebook or something. And a friend recommended it, but I neither had the time nor the mood to watch it (all those post-Torchwood feels…). Well, I might have found the mood had I had any idea as to what the series was about – which my friend actually didn’t mention when he recommended it.

Now that I’ve seen the first season (and am desperately waiting for the second to be watchable legally from Germany), I regret that I waited for such a long time. Because it is amazing. The idea of a cloned human being is of course nothing but new (not even to television, I believe), and the whole series could have been pretty silly, but one of the most enjoyable aspects of the series is its lead actress: Tatiana Maslany, you are a goddess. Like, really. Playing five different characters (was it five?) with the same energy and credibility is extremely hard. They all have a distinct sound and look, so kudos not only to the writers but also to Maslany for being able to pull that off (very credible German accent!). It’s a shame the Emmys hate sci-fi.

For this is decidedly not a sci-fi series – or rather, and I found this very appealing, it doesn’t feel like one. It is (for the most part) not about technology and science ideas, but about very human reactions to the possibilities, the uses (and misuses) of technology. And especially the finale shows that in the end, we all just want to live a happy, peaceful live, whether we’re clones or not.

Add to that the very normal lives of the people in this series: a single mother who can’t take care of her own child, a police woman with psychological problems, a gay artist who tries to make a living (and be desirable), a soccer mom who wants to be perfect, a nerdy science girl who wants to be loved (Cosima is, admittedly, my favourite clone so far), a foster parent who wants her children to live a proper life… Sure, you also got the gangsters and the weirdo scientists, but the characters you are supposed to bond with are ordinary people. The series offers character development for all of them, so even those people you kind of hate in the beginning (especially gangster, soccer mom and foster parent) have motivations and at the core actually act understandably.

Add to that a healthy mix of action, conspiracy and betrayal – and voilà, a wonderful series that I hope will continue for a few more seasons (a third seems to be already in production).


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