We are in the “Golden Age” of television, or maybe the Silver Age, or Platinum…how does the whole ages thing work, really? Whatever. We are in a “precious metal” age of television with mind blowing writing performed by incredible actors featuring productions that rival movie studios. Forgot going to the theaters to blow twenty bucks to see a film that is hopefully good. You got Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Enlightened, Scandal and countless other amazing programs streamed directly to your television. You can watch hours of the greatest shows ever created from the comfort of your couch eating leftover Thai food in sweatpants; isn’t that the dream?
Now to add to your growing queue of stuff to watch, I present five reasons to watch Orphan Black, currently in its second season so you have a bit to catch up on. It’s worth it.
5. Tatiana Maslany
List off the top of your head how many actors who can convincingly play Jekyll and Hyde. Now, I’m not talking about the use of heavy makeup or prosthetics to show two distinct people. I mean one person playing two completely different roles, with just a slight wardrobe change, in such a way that the audience doesn’t question the performance at all. Not an easy task, huh?
Alright now add Jekyll’s overbearing mother, his slightly drunk cousin, and promiscuous genius niece and you have an idea of what Tatiana Maslany does on every episode of Orphan Black. Seriously, Maslany plays multiple roles with distinct personalities and quirks. Then, every once in a while she has to play a character pretending to be another character with just enough flaws that the audience never loses track of what’s going on. Again. Every. Episode.
4. Celebrity Recommendations
There is already celebrity support for this show. Funny people like Patton Oswalt, Chris Hardwick, and Retta (Donna from Parks and Rec) have already tweeted out their support of Orphan Black. It continues to garner attention from fellow genre actors/enthusiasts and grow its audience premiering at double its original numers. How can so many smart and funny people be wrong?
And now I’m caught up on@OrphanBlack . Watching the season finale tomorrow night. NOT live-Tweeting. You deserve the surprises.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) June 1, 2013
3. Compelling Scifi Story
To be fair the show is set in a world where cloning is possible so the story gets a bit complicated with delayed payoffs, but they’re worth it. Obviously, we can’t go into too much detail since you know, SPOILERSSSSS. However, each clone has a unique personality and agenda that at times intersect and interfere with one another. Still every clone’s personal story develops so well that you can’t help but care about her, even the ones that you really hate (looking at you Alison and Rachel). Just give the show five minutes and you will be compelled to watch. The story is that good and considering how weird and twisted science fiction can get *cough* Battlestar Galactica *cough* the humor and simplicity of the characters does not go unnoticed.
2. This is “THAT” show
Every year or so comes along “that” show. You know which one I’m talking about. That show that seemingly comes out of nowhere one day and everyone is talking about the next. Even if you never watch, you can’t help but encounter them. Arrested Development. Community. Lost. All these show became part of the cultural landscape and Orphan Black is poised to follow. I mean don’t you want to get in on the ground floor before everyone else comes to the party. You have the rare opportunity to out hipster the hipsters, so to speak.
1. Seriously, Tatiana Maslany
Yeah, she gets two spots. Why? Because it’s my list and frankly she freaking deserves it. Hell, she should get a list spot for every character she plays but that would be getting greedy. Every episode of this show is a master class in acting put on by Tatiana Maslany. The core of the show’s charm and narrative revolves around Maslany’s abilities to act and get an audience to empathize with her. No Maslany; no Orphan Black. She is a perfect pixie packing a powerful punch of awesome ‘actiness’. Yeah, that’s right her abilities are so amazing a new word was created just to embody them. (Suggestions for a better word or phrase will be accepted in the comments below)
So, go watch the show and keep it on the air. Even though, it is currently on its second season, the only way to keep Orphan Black going is to support it. Do so. It would be unfortunate if this great program fell to cancellation purgatory like so many other before it; you’ll never be forgotten Firefly.
Orphan Black airs on BBC America Saturday at 9/8C and can be found streaming on iTunes, Amazon, Xbox Live, Sony PSN, and Google Play.