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Customer Review

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and suspensful, 27 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Orphan Black: Series One [DVD] (DVD)
Orphan Black truly is some of the most compelling television in quite some time, and the only genuinely problem I found with it was it's short length, ten episodes, meaning it was over all too soon, but then that itself leads to some incredibly tight storytelling and powerful drama.

The premise itself is intriguing on its own merits, and is cleverly plotted with a focus on a core set of well-rounded and engaging characters, a spiral of interconnecting stories and intelligent twists that never loses coherence by becoming needlessly complicated or losing sight of the human stories at the heart of the tale of cloning and the ethical ramifications hinted at with a deeper myth arc running alongside the very personal journey of the main characters.

The principle character, Sarah, is a fascinating one, hard edged and flawed from a difficult life, thrust into a role and series of events that in some ways she seems perfectly suited for, and others spectacularly ill-prepared for as she tries to remain selfishly focused, and through her eyes the developing revelations about the truth of her existence as a clone and the lives of her fellow clones intersecting with her complex personal troubles, resonates so much more deeply than with a cardboard heroic or anti-heroic archtype. Her arc

The rest of the core cast are colourful, they have they own motivations and perspectives, ensuring that any time away from the main character is not wasted time or dull. The story is a mystery that must be unravelled, but it is not convoluted, and as it builds it leaves the viewer hungry for more details, not annoyed.

Tatiana Malsany is a revelation in the role, without doubt one of the toughest and most layered performances seen on television in some time, and in such a short span of episodes as well. The strength of the seris with its powerful and deep characters across the board could so easily have been a hindrance if the lead actress required to perform several of those roles struggled to show the individuality of the various clones, but she pulls it off and in stunning fashion. Were the characters merely broad stereotypes the range of acting would be astounding, but as they are so much more complex, it is nothing short of amazing.

In conclusion, Orphan Black is intelligent and expertly crafted drama, with outstanding acting and suspensful moments throughout, without ever sacrificing on moments of humour and humanity with its twists. To be blunt, sometimes clone shenanigans are by their very nature amusing, and without going in for mugging acknowledgement of that, the show is still able to have its moments of genuine levity without undermining the stakes and the main dramatic plot.

A few thoughts?

Accent wise? Eh, I've heard a lot worse as a brit watching a lot of american tv, it didn't bother me in the slightest but I can see why it could impact on some people.

The science? I imagine people who know things about genetics will be rolling their eyes, that is just the way tv works of course, but it's an interesting and well presented plot, so I think most people will be able to forgive any artistic licence.

I do actually have to disagree with one of the other people who posted a review about the portrayal of the abilities of serving detectives though - I've watched a lot of detective shows, and shows that merely featured detectives, and in the latter (which this show definitely falls into), the detectives are usually a lot lot worse! I never felt taken out of the story by the detectives' intellect in putting the pieces together over the series, in fact compared to a lot of shows they caught little details and followed threads, kept pushing when things just didn't seem right, so I was actually impressed by them!

Definitely watch this show.
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Location: Wiltshire, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,646,587