Sunday, May 18, 2014

BBC America's "Orphan Black": a reverse-show that I'm going to have to say bye-bye to (for now)

The premise of BBC America's "Orphan Black" is something I couldn't resist: clones and conspiracies. Tatiana Maslany stars as Sarah, a scammer and once single mom who had to give up her daughter; and as Beth, a police detective who commits suicide in the first 2 minutes of the series; and as Cosima, a bio grad student; and as Alison, a soccer mom; and as Helena, a psychopath; and ... well, the list goes on and on.

Maslany is pretty incredible in all of these roles, because it's easy to get drawn in by her performances and forget that it's the same actress portraying these various characters. Different hairstyles and make-up help her keep track of who she's playing, and so too does keeping a different playlist of music for each clone.

In addition to the acting tour de force, the technical production side has been eyepopping. One actor playing twins who share a scene? That's been done lots of times. Having one actress playing three characters who physically interact with one another (handing coffee mugs, etc.)? That's a "how the heck did they manage to film that???" moment.

And yet, the storyline has been getting slower and slower, and I find myself paying less and less attention to the plot midway through season 2. In an odd way, this makes "Orphan Black" a reverse-show for me: the acting is of a far better caliber than the plotline.

With "goodbye to cable" day coming up later this week, "Orphan Black" is one of the few things I watch regularly that can't be found via over-the-air HD signal or Hulu+, so I'll have to wait for it to hit Amazon Prime to finish out season 2. Sad to say, but I won't have a hard time waiting.

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