About four weeks ago I was channel surfing. Not paying much attention to the images and sounds streaming by, a promo for a new show produced by BBC America caught my eye. The clip showed a young girl witnessing a stranger—one that was her exact double—committing suicide on the railroad tracks. Something about the situation struck my fancy. Thinking it was a mystery, I’ve always loved the way the English handle the genre. Attributing it to all that Shakespearean training interlaced with late night pub crawling, I made a mental note of the name: Orphan Black.
The rendezvous set, I sat down with my obligatory treats to watch the show. Beginning on the strong note of the tragic public suicide, the circumstance drew me in—as did the lead character, Sarah. A streetwise hustler and orphan, she’s brilliantly portrayed by Tatiana Maslany. Completely immersed, I watched as this damaged young girl came to terms with her doppelganger’s death. After all, it’s not every day that you get to see yourself ending your life.
Sarah is obviously panicky and extremely confused. Trying to get closer to confirm that the woman really is her double, she ends up snatching the dead woman’s purse to at least discover her identity. Later meeting up with her foster brother to discuss the situation—and also the unloading of stolen cocaine—Sarah is up to her eyeballs in trouble. Intending to kidnap her daughter from her estranged foster mom, the money made from the sale of the drugs would be used to run far, far away.
Her brother, Felix, reluctantly agrees to help her out, but in the meantime, Sarah decides to do some investigating on her own. Visiting the dead girl’s home, she tries to uncover more clues. After all, since Sarah is an orphan, there’s a real possibility that Beth, the unfortunate victim, was actually a long lost twin. Uncomfortably watching her insert that key into the lock of the posh residence, we know that Sarah is getting in way over her head, but she seems blissfully unaware. Her mind is focused elsewhere—like on the recent depositing of $75,000 in Beth’s savings account.
From there, the story continues to race ahead. Abounding with snappy dialogue, plot twists, sex and mind-blowing violence, the whole shebang is enough to satisfy the most jaded of viewers. And as if that weren’t enough, there’s an even bigger hairpin curve ahead—one that we could never have anticipated. It seems that Beth is not the only girl that is an identical match to Sarah. Turning over one stone too many, Sarah learns that there is a “CLONE CLUB”! The show’s creators, John Fawcett and Graeme Manson, didn’t think it was enough to give us action, suspense, thrills, and demonic humor. No, instead they veered this concoction right into science fiction land!
It’s how it is with this fantastic new show! Intelligently written, it’s as if Oxford scholars have found a way to make drama more compelling! The series an expanding hat where you just keep grabbing out bigger and bigger prizes, Sarah’s brother, Felix, is a perfect example. Delectably portrayed by Jordan Gavaris, he’s tantamount to finding a Porsche parked in your driveway on Christmas morning. It’s why my pick for the next legend is Orphan Black.
Go ahead! Dig your knife into this multi-layered cake, and get all the unexpected rewards and surprises along with an oozy-goozy, deliciously bloody center. Enjoy!
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ORPHAN BLACK HERE: