ORPHAN BLACK: A Sci-Fi Mystery For the Modern Era (2013)

"Orphan Black"

“Orphan Black”

Nothing gets more sci-fi that than cloning.  In fact, it’s something that science is on the verge of right now; and while they may only be experimenting with animals, what if they were to cross that line and start cloning humans?  In the new British drama ORPHAN BLACK, it explores how cloning just one person can create a ripple-effect ensnaring all those within its path.

With the first few minutes of the first episode, viewers are introduced to Sarah (Tatiana Maslany), who watches her doppelganger Beth jump to her death.  It is not enough that Sarah runs into someone who looks like her identical twin, but watching Beth voluntarily take her own life in such a brutal fashion is even more shocking.  Yet Sarah did not know her.  Sarah, however, is a pragmatist and she seizes the opportunity to exploit Beth’s identity for her own purposes.  If she only knew that there were good reasons for Beth’s fateful jump before a train. For assuming Beth’s life only seemed easy on the surface, and once Sarah literally stepped into Beth’s shoes, Sarah’s life would never be the same.  Beth had some secrets of her own; ones that she hoped to take to her grave.  But there was also a bulls-eye on her back, and Sarah was now the unwitting target.

"Orphan Black"

“Orphan Black”

Identity theft is the least of Sarah’s problems.  She’s on the run from her own abusive situation and hopes to regain her lost daughter through some quick creative financing.  But slipping into Beth’s life and posing as another woman to Beth’s partner, boyfriend, colleagues and friends has unleashed more problems than Sarah anticipated.  Looking to regain some perspective and an ally in her thorny situation, Sarah turns to long-time friend Felix (Jordan Gavaris).  But Felix is no less encumbered in his own life, juggling sexual partners, dodging Sarah’s ex, and getting stuck in the sticky situation of having to plan Sarah’s funeral.  Nobody said identity theft was going to be easy, right?

Even with two identities and two lives intertwined, Sarah must be a chameleon.  She understands that her survival is linked to being able to convince Beth’s acquaintances that she is Beth.  Yet when a third clone arrives on the scene, that carefully constructed façade begins to crack and Sarah is forced to react quickly to save herself.

ORPHAN BLACK sets up the story of Sarah and the murky world of cloning with subtle finesse.  Featuring an opportunist landing amongst a bigger conspiracy is intriguing and as each new breadcrumb is revealed, the show proves to be increasingly addictive.  Accordingly, make a date with ORPHAN BLACK for its premiere on Saturday, March 30th at 10:00 p.m. on BBC America.

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"Orphan Black"

“Orphan Black”


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