on 14 January 2016
The moment you start watching this series get prepared to not being able to stop. Just beware it may not be suitable for younger kids due to pretty high level of graphic violence and some explicit sex. I spent six or eight days to watch all three seasons and I want more. The idea is ingenious: a single actress plays at least 7 different people, who happen to be clones but all have different personalities, lives, body language and characters. This all rotates around this idea, really.
The start is captivating: a violent girl is running away from the drug dealer boyfriend to witness her body-double to commit a suicide at a railway station. Shocked but not too much, she gets a victim's purse and steps into her shoes just to learn that the dead girl had been a police officer. From that point the story moves at the very high speed, introducing twist after twist and eventually developing into a sci-fi conspiracy with elements of black humour and romantic comedy. Absolute win.
Whoever did the casting for this series did a fantastic job. Sarah-Felix line, Sarah-Mrs. S line and Sarah and clones line are all absolutely brilliant and very well played.
The biggest plus in my eyes was that the series remain totally free from the Hollywood cliche.
Five MULTI-TALENTED Stars! “Orphan Black” Is a show that must be watched from the first minute of Episode 1 to pick up all of the minute details of the storyline as the totality of the plot is revealed. When the female drifter Sarah steals a purse belonging to a person with puzzlings looks, it pulls her into an amazing non-stop adventure and an amazing series of quite tantalizing twists and turns. Each new episode adds new levels of facts, characters, and 'mysteries within mysteries'. With Amazon Instant Video giving the ability to go through several episodes at a time, back-to-back, “Orphan Black” becomes even more addictive. The less spoilers the better as the totality of the conspiracy unfolds piece by piece in each episode.
Tatiana Maslany is a marvelous actress who carries the load in an astounding award-winning performance with so many layers and nuances the viewer may occasionally lose track of who is who. No less marvelous is the writing, directing, the supporting cast, the cinematography, the pin-point editing, and a crucial highly-praised stand-in who seldom appears on camera but is an occasional focal point for Maslany’s performance. Great supporting performances by Jordan Gravis, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Dylan Bruce, Kevin Hanchard, Delphine Cormier, Skyler Wexler, and others. Profanity, partial nudity, gore, and socially-challenging situations. Highly Recommended with situational cautions above. Five MESMERIZING Stars. (Amazon Instant Video. 10 episodes. Season 1. Rated TV-MA, Color, Closed Captioned. HD. The series ran for 3 seasons.)
on 3 May 2016
I am not one for keeping still long enough to watch much on tv but on a wet afternoon decided to watch this series and from the first minute was hooked, it is brilliant tv with amazing acting, the best thing that I have watched in ages, it was so good that my husband and I watched all 10 episodes and ended up going to bed at 2.30 in the morning, can't wait to watch season 2
on 23 July 2014
This is one of the best new shows I have seen in years, and I am currently convincing everyone I know to watch it! Without giving the plot away, having one actress play the majority of the main characters is no mean feat. That Tatiana Maslany is able to pull it off without it feeling like just another novelty factor is incredible. That said, it is a show which is difficult to explain and I was initially put off by descriptions of the plot sounding overly complicated and sci-fi-ish. In reality, the science is balanced by the developing relationships between the characters, giving it a real heart. The background to the story is revealed as the series progresses, and I watched far too many episodes in one sitting simply because I had to find out what was happening!
on 26 April 2016
[ASIN:B00HZPB9UI Orphan Black - Season 1]
As an avid SF enthusiast I've become quite good at suspending my disbelieve but there's got to be something to make it worthwhile for me. I happen to be a real sucker for good concept in film (or any artwork really), ideally, accompanied by some attention to detail in the "implementation" stage. While the concept of this show is relatively fresh and does have a lot of potential, the show suffers from being extremely slow moving and (often) very shallow. This lets me to believe that maybe it's meant to be targeting pretty young demographics only - mid-teens perhaps - rather than grownups. It's a shame, because the idea is brimming with possibilities and could be taken anywhere really. Here, no clear path has been taken to develop the concept of human cloning nor the various associated dilemmas - all that happens on the screen merely serves as a pretext to further ration the characters with semi-interesting lines (perhaps with the exception of Alison and Felix). The end effect is a bit like "painting by numbers", despite some strong performances by the cast. It works "fine" in this S1, then pretty much falls apart (story wise).
However, there's one great thing that this show has in common with several other cable TV series I've glimpsed on Amazon Prime - a very enjoyable cinematography indeed ("Flesh And Bone" taking the cake in that respect). I guess, putting some production values into a TV show has to be the most reliable way of making it work financially, never mind the actual story. I find it's become fairly typical of TV productions these days.
on 18 July 2015
It's odd that I can't remember exactly how I got turned on to "Orphan Black" but it's become my favorite series by far. I'm a Yank and so caught up in this show that I periodically check the most recent reviews of OB on Amazon.US to share the fun of blown-away newcomers to the series. There are now 13,183 reviews of "Orphan Black" Season 1 on Amazon.US and I've watched that number grow many-fold over the past year or two. But the number of reviews on Amazon.UK remains stuck at about 1/100th of that: 134. I can't believe that no one is watching "Orphan Black" in the UK--you Brits will love it. IMPORTANT: avoid spoilers and start with Season 1 (or Series 1, if you prefer), Episode 1. I anticipate the thanks of a grateful nation. Below is a short review I did for my local library.
Don't let the naysayers discourage you from trying this extraordinary series--and avoid spoilers at all costs. "Orphan Black" is a thriller, a black comedy, a cop show, an acting clinic, a twisted family drama, a romance, and speculative fiction at its best. It celebrates the joy of science while scaring your pants off about possible abuses. This show will draw you in, keep you on the edge of your seat, make you laugh out loud, shriek with delight, and bang on the arm of your chair. Give it your full attention for two episodes, bearing in mind that a healthy dose of camp is a critical ingredient of this stew. If you're not on board by then, it's probably not for you. Enjoy.
Sarah Manning, a petty fraudster, has returned to the city she grew up in to put her life back together and reunite with her seven-year-old daughter, in the keeping of Sarah's foster mother. However, Sarah's life is thrown into turmoil when, getting off the train, she immediate comes face-to-face with a woman who is her exact double. The double immediately throws herself in front of a train. Shocked, Sarah steals her belongings and discovers she has a lot of money in savings. Sarah decides to pose her double to take that money and built a new life for her and her daughter...but when she discovers that there are yet other duplicates of her out there, things become a lot more complicated.
There are many reasons to watch Orphan Black: its compelling science fiction plot and ramifications (handled with a light touch), the perfectly-timed story development and pacing, the interesting array of three-dimensional supporting characters, its excellent soundtrack and its refusal to conform to any kind of formula are among them. But one stands tall over all others: the absolutely astonishing central performances by Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany. Maslany plays not just the central character of Sarah, but an array of her various doubles and duplicates. In one episode she plays no less than five characters, many of them interacting with each other. The interactions themselves are convincing (with judicious use of CGI and overlaying of images, but mostly clever double work and positioning) but it's Maslany's ability to fully inhabit and develop each character as a completely separate individual that is jaw-dropping. Even when they are posing as one another, it's possible to tell which is which through subtle nuances of expression. Before the season is half over, it's easy to join in the chorus of voices expressing disapproval that Maslany was robbed of an Emmy nomination this year. The only flaw in her performance is her 'street' English accent she uses as Sarah, which is mostly acceptable but occasionally dips towards Dick van Dyke territory. But it's easy to forgive given how good she is on every other level.
The supporting cast is a mixture of other young talent and established names. Providing experience and presence are Matt 'Max Headroom' Frewer and Maria Doyle Kennedy (probably best known internationally as Queen Catherine of Aragon on The Tudors, also known as 'the best thing in it') as the morally ambiguous Dr. Leekie and as Sarah's foster-mother Siobhan respectively. Amongst the other younger castmembers are Jordan Gavaris as Sarah's foster-brother and partner-in-crime Felix (whose English accent is better, though still a bit affected) and Michael Mando (who played the psychotic Vaas in the recent computer game Far Cry 3) as Vic, Sarah's highly unreliable ex-boyfriend who plays both an antagonistic and comic role as the series progresses. The cast is, as a whole, fairly likable and play their parts well, though the otherwise-solid Kevin Hanchard could do with bringing a bit more subtlety to his role as Detective Art Bell.
The series has a relentless pace to it which makes a nice change from other shows that seem to delight in rationing out their secrets to the audience over many years. Instead, Orphan Black covers more ground in its first episode than most shows manage in two seasons. By the end of these opening ten episodes alliances have been forged and shattered, major characters have arrived and been killed off and the secrets behind the duplicates have been exposed, explored, developed and complicated several times over. Yet the show never feels rushed, with a good blend of drama, psychological horror and occasionally hilarious comedy (particularly driven by Sarah's 'soccer mom' double, Alison) making each episode immensely watchable and indeed re-watchable in the light of information unveiled in later episodes. The show is also sensible in dropping even major characters for several episodes in a row when they have nothing to do rather than giving them pointless filler storylines. Not only is the cast good, but their interactions are highly engaging: Felix and Alison's initially prickly relationship develops into a more amusing friendship as the season continues, whilst Sarah finds it tricky to deceive Art, a good man who may end up on the opposing side to her.
Picking out flaws is almost impossible, and the most noticeable (such as Sarah's accent) are pretty trivial. One of the revelations in the season finale is a bit puzzling, since it is completely illegal and would never stand up in a court of law yet the characters react like it's a life-changing moment. There's also an argument that the actual cliffhanger is leaning towards the predictable cop-out side of things and, on occasion (most notably in the final two episodes, which barely pause for breath), the show's pace runs away with it a little and allows it to get away with a few minor lapses in plot logic.
But it's hard to criticise the show too much. Orphan Black's first season (****¾) is relentlessly entertaining, supremely-acted by its star and its science fiction plot is surprisingly well-developed (the science itself is a bit simplified for casual viewers, but the social ramifications are addressed nicely). It is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray in the USA, but, somewhat perplexingly, not until August 2014 in the UK (DVD, Blu-Ray).
on 11 January 2016
This show i would highly recommend, although in the last few episodes of season 1 there is only audio in one of my headphones i don't know if it is the video its self because they work fine on everything else
on 5 August 2014
Excellent series. Fast paced with some predictable and some unexpected twists. I can see why Tatiana Maslany got a bucketful of acting awards.. you do believe that the multiple characters that she plays are actually different people. The other main and supporting actors all provide strong and believable roles - which is a rariety. I don't know if this ever aired on the BBC in UK, but if not - they should run it. I'm looking forward to the second series and hope its out on DVD as soon as possible.
on 24 April 2015
Absolutely amazing series! My husband and I are addicted to it and currently watching season 2. The actress Tatiana is mighty talented! I'm so impressed by how she plays different clones of herself, but you actually feel like they are different actresses- she's that good! I love the humor and style of the storyline. My favourite characters are a cross between Sarah and Helena. Sarah is a kick ass tough girl who won't take any rubbish from anyone... but she has a soft side, revealed when it involves her daughter.
Helena is hilarious, i love the random lines she comes off with and i often find myself copying her much to my husbands amusement... Shes a broken, sad sort of a character (and completely mad also!) but she has an inner strength and madness that is fun and scary to watch! Overall, I think the writing is clever and the acting is genius. Love it. Watch it, you won't be disappointed.