Hidden Treasure of Television

BY: JOHN BOGNA

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What new TV shows are you most excited about this season? King and Maxwell? Teen Mom? NCIS Alabama? If you’re tired of the plethora of procedural crime dramas, look into a show called Orphan Black. It’s not on NBC, CBS, MTV or the CW. It’s on BBC America, and it could be the best show you aren’t watching. Genre-wise, the show combines elements of sci-fi, drama, comedy and action-adventure, and makes doing it look easy. This genre mash-up is also backed by a fascinating storyline paired with phenomenal acting from the whole cast.

The show’s main character Sarah Manning, played by Tatiana Maslany, comes back home after almost a year away to see the daughter she left behind, and start a new life. However, before any of that can happen, Sarah witnesses a suicide. She has barely set foot on the train platform when she notices a distressed woman taking off her shoes. Before she has time to react, the mystery woman briefly locks eyes with Sarah and then jumps in front of an oncoming train. The other woman has Sarah’s exact face.

Being from the “School of Hard Knocks,” Sarah’s first reaction is to take the suicidal woman’s purse. Once she finds out that Beth Childs, the name on the dead woman’s ID, has $75,000 stashed in a savings account, Sarah decides that taking over Beth’s life is the perfect way to build a better one for her and her daughter, Kira. So far, so easy, but then come the clones.

Turns out, Beth and Sarah are genetically identical clones, and not the only ones either. Sarah has clone “sisters” around the globe she never knew about. The rest of the season follows the clones on their quest to put a face to the shady entity that created them, and to find out who and what they really are.

By season’s end Maslany is playing six different characters, all with their own unique personalities. In fact, there are memorable scenes where Maslany plays one clone impersonating another, and does not slip up. You really feel as if the two characters are completely separate.

The show has taken off with a lot of force, already renewed for a second season in spring 2014. Maslany has received a Critic’s Choice award for her performance in the series. It should be mentioned that although Maslany is Canadian, her flawless British accent in the show would lead one to believe otherwise.

There is plenty of time to catch up on the first season now that it is over. So if you are getting the shakes waiting on Game of Thrones or Doctor Who, or just looking for an original and interesting show to watch, Orphan Black is where you should be looking.