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The First Rule of Clone Club Is...
June 3, 2013 7:31 AM   Subscribe

On Saturday, the premiere season of BBC America's Orphan Black finished up its first ten-episode run. The show has garnered praise and buzz for lead actress and relative unknown Tatiana Maslany: "There's no better special effect on television right now than Tatiana Maslany playing a variety of clones."

In an interview at Buzzfeed, co-creators John Fawcett and Graeme Mason and Maslany discuss the show's first season and the technical process of making the show. Over at the AV Club, Maslany discusses all her roles--in the same show.
posted by yasaman (89 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
I haven't watched Orphan Black, but Maslany was terrific in Heartland; granted, it's a CBC family melodrama, but she was head and shoulders above most everyone else in that show in terms of chops and charisma.

(Stupid dopey Ty didn't deserve her, Better he and stupid mopey Amy stay together and keep their stupid dopey-mopiness from infecting the rest of society.)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:57 AM on June 3, 2013


I'm really loving this show, but as I haven't seen the finale yet, I'll have to do my best to ignore this thread until I have. Just wanted to concur that Maslany has been great. The way she uses physicality to differentiate between the clones is really impressive. I'd swear that Alison has an almost totally different body from Sarah, which you'd expect if you compared a well-exercised soccer mom to a crusty punk, even with the same genome.

I actually think the show could do really well to settle in to a more "clone-of-the-week" format and spread the overarching mythology out a bit. Let Sarah and her buddies cruise around North America locating/helping/hindering/neutralizing various dopplegangers getting into varying degrees of trouble, both mundane (This week, Sarah helps a homebody clone get over her agoraphobia) to the intense (Next week, watch Cosima arrange a liver transplant for a critically injured clone in Mexico without arousing suspicions of the authorities).
posted by Rock Steady at 7:59 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm a few episodes in -- 3? the one where you're told that it's clones or the one after -- and I'm really finding it worth watching. Tatiana Maslany does really well at playing the 4 or 5 characters I've seen so far as different people.
posted by jeather at 7:59 AM on June 3, 2013


Yup. It's definitely a good show. Maslany does a pretty damned good job with her multiple characters, and the fx integrating them all in a scene is very convincing. I was amazed to discover that neither she nor Jordan Gavaris (Felix) are English. They're pretty damned convincing.

They almost lost me, though, when Matt Frewer showed-up in the show. I've been pretty sour on Frewer ever since his cringe-worthy Aussie on Eureka. But...so far, so good.

Sucks that the next season doesn't start until next spring, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:00 AM on June 3, 2013


I enjoyed this show, but the horrified "they patented us!" thing was just too ridiculous for me. Even a non-lawyer has to know that patenting a gene sequence doesn't mean you can KIDNAP CHILDREN willy-nilly. Right?
posted by prefpara at 8:01 AM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


"There's no better special effect on television right now than Tatiana Maslany playing a variety of clones."

Interesting how the linked article, titled "TV REVIEW: Orphan Black" (or as the page is titled, "Orphan Black Review"), gets around to talking about Orphan Black in the sixth paragraph of six paragraphs of copy.

Stay useful, Entertainment Weekly.
posted by item at 8:16 AM on June 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


I actually think the show could do really well to settle in to a more "clone-of-the-week" format and spread the overarching mythology out a bit. Let Sarah and her buddies cruise around North America locating/helping/hindering/neutralizing various dopplegangers getting into varying degrees of trouble, both mundane (This week, Sarah helps a homebody clone get over her agoraphobia) to the intense (Next week, watch Cosima arrange a liver transplant for a critically injured clone in Mexico without arousing suspicions of the authorities).

God I hope this doesn't happen. I enjoy an actual sustained plot where I can feel confident there will be a satisfying ending and really don't need another version of CSI.

I guess we will see which half of BBC America wins out. Will it be the BBC with contained and complete plot single season stories or the American episodic syndication chasing and dead horse milking?
posted by srboisvert at 8:16 AM on June 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Finally caught up with four of the final five episodes this weekend, and I have to say, though I haven't seen the finale yet, the end of the season really took the promise of the pilot and followed through with it. I liked the beginning so much that I was afraid it was going to crap out, but was pleasantly surprised.

Not that I had any doubt about Tatiana Maslany the entire time. She's just SO GOOD. "I wonder what if the actress who plays Cosima would be so cute with different hair," I've found myself wondering a few times before realizing that I know the answer to that question at least 3 times over.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:17 AM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm with prepara, I loved it right up to the patent bullshit, I rolled my eyes so hard I woke my dog up.
posted by Mick at 8:20 AM on June 3, 2013


I assumed the patent bullshit wasn't so much about the clones believing Dyad had an enforceable patent on them, but that it was proof to the clones that Dyad would always view them as property. Since I doubt the show will turn into a legal drama about the cutting edge of intellectual property law next season (though that could be interesting in its own right), I don't think "they've patented us! It means they can do whatever they want!" is going to be used for much more than "wow, Dyad is really evil" purposes. I'm willing to reserve judgment on how ridiculous that plotline could get until we see the second season next year.
posted by yasaman at 8:29 AM on June 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


I thoroughly enjoyed this show and had the exact same reaction to the different clones as everyone else - they all seem like different actresses. It gives the show a very big ensemble cast feel, but it's really a pretty tight casting entirely carried by one outstanding actress.

This is probably one of the best pieces of Sci-Fi on TV right now.
posted by fremen at 8:32 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


But what about the whole "OMG THEY CAN GET TO KIRA" stuff? To me, that means that yasaman's charitable interpretation is less likely to be right. Unfortunately.
posted by prefpara at 8:38 AM on June 3, 2013


I'm a few weeks behind on viewing but I've really liked this show and Maslany is pretty incredible. The neighborhood pot-luck with the husband tied up in the den was one of my favorite hours of TV this year.
posted by octothorpe at 8:40 AM on June 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's also just big picture ridiculous. The shadow organization conducting a nefarious secret experiment on unwilling human subjects that will be totally fucked by any breach of secrecy... went to the USPTO? And spent a few months disclosing their inventions and refining their claims? Really?

It just throws into stark relief how ridiculous it is for the clones not to go public. Secrecy is absolutely vital to the bad guys and not really important at all to the clones. Uncloaking the whole massively illegal conspiracy would just knock the pieces entirely off the chessboard. And you don't even have your usual problem of no proof. You know, you're like one photo op away from never having to worry about Leeky again.
posted by prefpara at 8:41 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've actually been meh about this, but I LOVE Felix. Watch for the episode where he's pulled into service as an emergency babysitter for Alison's kids, and she comes home to find he has some unorthodox ideas for wholesome childrens' activities ("mommy, look! We're crossdressers!")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:13 AM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Generally, the show has been very good, and Tatiana Maslany is great, (the scene in the next-to-last episode where Helena hugs Sarah was demonstrated how perfectly broken they both were) but as hard as everyone is hating on the "patent" BS, I just about sprained an eyeball when Cosima said some nonsense about "I'll run it through a decryption program!"

What was the deal with the location in the first episode, though? It was like they couldn't make up their minds on whether the show was going to be set in NYC or Toronto, and then settled pretty firmly on Toronto for later episodes.

BTW, Felix? Awesome, and he's at his best when in scenes with uptight-soccer-mom Alison.
posted by deadmessenger at 9:35 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


She reminds me of Rebecca Gayheart.

Also, the accents were pretty funny after a bit, honestly.
posted by klangklangston at 9:52 AM on June 3, 2013


Don't get me wrong; I love me some Orphan Black. Maslany is excellent. But the problem with the patent thing is that this isn't actually set in the future so the implausibility of it is a big problem.

See, we'll buy implausible things. I don't actually believe the job of "firefighter" will mutate into a bunch of guys burning books because the written word is illegal. That's completely implausible. But set it in the future and we'll accept it as a metaphorical dystopia shining a light on certain aspects of today. Similarly, I'll buy patented genes leading to ownership of organisms as a future dystopia used to examine problematic aspects of today's current regulatory regime which allows gene sequences to be patented. Except that only works if things are set in the future because it clearly wouldn't be allowed to happen today!

So the problem isn't the implausibility of the premise, it's that it is implausibly set today. Which doesn't allow us to maintain a suspension of disbelief because <handwave>the future</handwave>.

I'll still watch though because Cosima.
posted by Justinian at 10:03 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone else get a serious Prince vibe from Felix? If he can sing and dance, he'd be perfect for a biopic.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:04 AM on June 3, 2013


The patent thing (I guess it's too late for a spoiler alert?) was simultaneously eye-rolly and dramatically affecting for me. Yes, the legality of patenting a human genome is questionable, but it's actively being discussed right now, and given history (Henrietta Lacks, the antics of Monsanto), not entirely implausible. And the implications are pretty chilling. But the idea that the patent could be used to legally/legitimately take Kira away is indeed patently ridiculous.

I'm still loving the hell out of this show, though. A few episodes in, once the story engaged me enough to get me past how aurally discordant (the score is amazing and almost too evocative) and emotionally difficult the show can be, I started wondering why on earth I haven't been hearing more about it and how mindblowingly talented Tatiana Maslany is. Even now I sometimes forget that the same person is playing Alison and Helena.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:15 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait...clones AND Max Headroom? Yeah ok I'm in.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:20 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Loved the show, looking forward to the next season. Not sure that this will hit traditional syndication numbers at 10 episodes per season, not with Tatiana Maslany doing the heavy lifting.

Cool how each clone was getting tired of running.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:45 AM on June 3, 2013


Alison is my favorite clone. She could easily fit inside a John Waters film.
posted by cazoo at 11:00 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyone else get a serious Prince vibe from Felix?

Yes! I only started watching with the marathon on Saturday, and that was my immediate thought. Maybe add a touch of '70s Tim Curry in there, too.
posted by rewil at 11:06 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


It weirds me out that Maslany's natural accent is the Cosima one.
posted by Justinian at 11:06 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I'd like a spin-off called Mrs. S, which entails watching Maria Doyle Kennedy kick the ass of the foster care system.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:07 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


But the idea that the patent could be used to legally/legitimately take Kira away is indeed patently ridiculous.

I didn't think Sarah or the others were just worried about how it could be used to legitimately take Kira away so much as how it demonstrated their bad faith. The whole reason Sarah was even about to make the deal with Dyad was the assurance that she and Kira would be more or less left alone. After finding out that Dyad thinks the clones are effectively property, legally enforceable or not, it dissuaded Sarah from wanting to deal with them at all. Yeah, if Cosima or Sarah really thought about it, they'd come to the conclusion that there are a lot of ways to get around or nullify the ludicrous patent, but neither of them are exactly in a position to make completely logical and reasoned decisions at the end of the finale. For me, the emotional level of the "oh no, we're patented!" reveal worked well enough that I could handwave the implausibility of such a thing actually working.

I am really wary of the next season being all about Kira in peril though. I hate kids in peril on TV shows, and I hate how the possibility of a kid in peril kind of warps an entire show's plot around it. My money's on Mrs. S having gone on the run with Kira.
posted by yasaman at 11:20 AM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


But patenting a gene sequence doesn't mean you have any right to a human being whose genes include that sequence. It's ludicrous even to suggest it. It seems totally incredible to me than any adult human being would draw the conclusion that if a company has patented part of their genome, that company has any right whatsoever to anything relating to that human being. Even the phrase "they patented us" is looney tunes. You can't patent people! Ack! That's total nonsense! It's literally as reasonable as exclaiming "they bought stock in us!!! NOESSSS!!!! NOT STOCK!!!!!!! WHAT IF THEY SELL KIRA!!!!!!"
posted by prefpara at 11:26 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


What were the laws surrounding cloning (and ownership thereof) thirty years ago, when the clones were created? Was the patent taken in the US or elsewhere in the world?
posted by Thorzdad at 11:30 AM on June 3, 2013


Thorzdad, the 13th Amendment was in place thirty years ago. That's pretty much a game over with respect to the PATENTING PEOPLE storyline.

I don't think the show made clear where the patent had been granted.
posted by prefpara at 11:32 AM on June 3, 2013


I haven't watched the season finale yet, but couldn't resist the thread, so I can't (yet) comment on the patent issue.

BUT, the thing that is so incredible about this show is the actress' accents. I, too, was surprised to learn that she's Canadian. I thought the English accent was real, and the American accent was "acting." And then when I learned I was wrong, I was doubly shocked to learn it was the same with Fi!!

I'd love to know from actual English people what they think of her accent work?

I also love, love the way she plays the Ukrainian accent when she's Helena.
posted by MoxieProxy at 11:46 AM on June 3, 2013


You're making a huge assumption about the 13th applying to ownership of human clones. The key point being that they are clones. Since they are, essentially, copies of an original, it could be argued that the original would maintain domain over the clones.

Anyway, we'll see how it plays out next season.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:50 AM on June 3, 2013


Since they are, essentially, copies of an original, it could be argued that the original would maintain domain over the clones.

Which is why whichever identical twin is born first gets a free slave for life!
posted by Justinian at 11:55 AM on June 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, I'd like a spin-off called Mrs. S, which entails watching Maria Doyle Kennedy kick the ass of the foster care system.

I'd watch that! After the episode where Alison was introduced to Mrs. S, I wanted a spinoff called Mrs. S' Home for Wayward Clones.
posted by rhiannonstone at 12:07 PM on June 3, 2013


Tatiana was indeed fantastic in Ginger Snaps 2. It's good OB allows her to shine.
posted by methinks at 12:42 PM on June 3, 2013


I was on the fence with Orphan Black at first, but finally warmed up to it mainly because Tatiana Maslany is fantastic. And there's Max Headroom.
posted by homunculus at 3:03 PM on June 3, 2013


It's true that there were several stumbles in the finale, but I'm more than willing to accept that in return for an outstanding season of television. I suffered through every episode of Ringer last season hoping for some interesting takes on the themes of identical twins and identify theft, but was left mostly unsatisfied. Then Orphan Black came along out of nowhere and took the idea and raised it to a new level and then just completely hit it out of the park. Another season can't come soon enough, and I hope Maslany receives all the acting awards in the world, though I understand it may be hard for a low profile show to get that kind of buzz.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:26 PM on June 3, 2013


I went into Orphan Black with very low expectations. Really, I thought it would be crap. But, as someone who works in a world filled with conspiracy theories and evil corporations and bad science, I figured I should give it a go... at the least I might get another good example of what not to do. After the first episode, I found myself excited for the second episode. And then third. And then I started wondering why my geekier friends weren't talking about and decided that my taste had probably gone to crap so it would just be this guilty little secret but omg the clones! they're so distinct! a bit stereotypical, but they had to be for it to work... and it works, so who cares?! And it was official, Orphan Black was my must see tv of the week. Not because I needed to be in the know to avoid being spoiled but because I *wanted* to watch it. Finally, at the penultimate episode, I shouted out to all of my friends telling them that the show was worth it... that BBC America would be marathoning them before the finale and they should set their DVRs.

I've yet to hear from any of them. So, that's it, huh? It really does suck. My taste is gone. I am done. Left to spend my life loving crappy stuff. Then I saw this thread. Real people like the show! Not just me! Yay!
posted by imbri at 4:02 PM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


But patenting a gene sequence doesn't mean you have any right to a human being whose genes include that sequence.

The whole patent thing appears to be a riff on what Monsanto etc does with genetically engineered seeds - in which case, lawsuits have been won by Monsanto and affirmed by the supreme court in May this year that say exactly that - you can't grow plants from seeds produced by plants that are their GMOs without violating their patent. So the Kira fears are not completely out of left field, and Orphan Black is doing what a lot of good SF does - extrapolating tomorrow from today's headlines.

While ownership of complete DNA structures has, I vaguely recall, been awarded to their human expression, this makes the assumption that CloneX had an original, and wasn't just multiple expressions of an original sequence, a sequence patented by EvilCorp.

NB: I am NEITHER a lawyer NOR a scientist, which is probably obvious to anyone who is and few others besides.

But yeah - orphan black is totally the best new show this season. Surprised I haven't seen it mentioned much anywhere.
posted by Sparx at 4:09 PM on June 3, 2013


you can't grow plants from seeds produced by plants that are their GMOs without violating their patent. So the Kira fears are not completely out of left field

Not being able to grow a plant... to enslaving a human child. I agree, that's not left field, that is some other field so far across the chasm of irrational unreality that I can't even see the field.
posted by prefpara at 4:12 PM on June 3, 2013


I liked the pilot but had a bit of a hard time continuing to watch because the show seemed like it was set in Anonymous British North American City (With a Blank History) That Americans Can Relate To ; why can't they just say Toronto or Yellowknife , I kept thinking
posted by Bwithh at 4:26 PM on June 3, 2013


The patent thing caused me to explode into a fit of spluttering inchoate rage.

However, when I actually looked at the text of the 'patent', which was something to the effect of 'this genome and its derivatives are the intellectual property of Dyad Corp', it's not a patent at all - it's a precaution, a prerequisite to asserting intellectual property rights in the event that the Dyad Corporation manages to change the law so they can legally own clones.

I mean, of course it's not a patent - you're not keeping your secret clone program secret if you are trotting down to the patent office to register it.

At the very least, its a clear signal of the intention of the Dyad Corporation to own clones, and that they consider the clones to be their property and, further, that they consider the children of the clones to be their property.

It's not about the legal rights of the Dyad Corp., which are nonexistent. It's about their intent. Which is eeeeeviiil.

The whole thing with the contracts is simply showboating; an attempt to convince the clones that they are safe and/or bound. Note that they don't bother trying it with Cosima, who would see through the agreement that they offered Alison - they just try to hire her for a lot of money and access to information instead.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:27 PM on June 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


Also, I'm so glad that MeFites love this show. We have been devouring it at Red Thoughts HQ, and it's nice to know we're in good company.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:28 PM on June 3, 2013


Note that they don't bother trying it with Cosima, who would see through the agreement that they offered Alison - they just try to hire her for a lot of money and access to information instead.

There was a lot of delighted and nervous laughter in my household as soon as Dr. L offered her her genome. Delighted because Hah! That will totally work on her. And nervous because, er, that would probably totally work on us, too.
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:33 PM on June 3, 2013


At the very least, its a clear signal of the intention of the Dyad Corporation to own clones

This is the thing I am saying is not plausible. It's not a hop skip and a jump from owning a gene sequence to owning a human person.
posted by prefpara at 4:34 PM on June 3, 2013


Not being able to grow a plant... to enslaving a human child.

I'm sure if you told a farmer 50 years ago she wouldn't be able to plant a seed from one of her own crops because someone had patented its genetic material she would have made an agricultural joke about impossibly far fields too.

But at this point, there's no child enslavement - they're worried about the implications of what they've found, which would seem to be an indelible 'Property of EvilCorp' mark on them. It seems completely logical to worry about that because believing that EvilCorp would never do something that outrageous and think they could get away with it is what EvilCorps usually depend on, until it happens and then it's the new normal.
posted by Sparx at 4:36 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just don't think human slavery is comparable to pretty much any other stuff that evil corporations do under the protection of North American courts.

Um, aside from prison labor, you guyssssssssss.
posted by prefpara at 4:38 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is the thing I am saying is not plausible. It's not a hop skip and a jump from owning a gene sequence to owning a human person.

I'm not saying that it is. Just that that's how the Dyad Corp. wants it to be. If you're building a clone out of a custom genome, you might as well throw your disclaimer in - it's not going to be that much extra work.

So what if the legal rights don't exist yet? Maybe they will in future. Dyad Corp. is clearly playing the long game, given that they've been monitoring these people for three decades.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:43 PM on June 3, 2013


I think where Maslany really shines is when she plays a clone playing a different clone with a hint of the first role showing through. I can't imagine how hard that would be.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:57 PM on June 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


yeah, patents expire within 20 years, and are public, so using that word to describe a secret scheme to own people more than 20 years old was stupid. It should have been a copyright and ownership string.
posted by w0mbat at 5:02 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of OK with the character not understanding the different between patents and copyrights. Most people don't.

In any case, I think 'They...they copyrighted us' wouldn't have the same ring to it, and might have been even more confusing to the audience.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:32 PM on June 3, 2013


I think where Maslany really shines is when she plays a clone playing a different clone with a hint of the first role showing through. I can't imagine how hard that would be.


Yes!!!!

When she was Sarah pretending to be Alison, I think she got a call and had to suddenly be Beth. AND you could see Sarah in fake Alison; and when Alison had to be Sarah for her daughter, you could see it.

Really, Maslany should be at the very least (the VERY LEAST) nominated for an Emmy.

posted by MoxieProxy at 5:38 PM on June 3, 2013


Well, I didn't mean to make everything italicized.
posted by MoxieProxy at 5:45 PM on June 3, 2013


Great show. The whole 'neolution' thing leaves me a bit cold, but I'm keen to see where it goes if there's a second season, and yeah, Maslany has been pretty spectacular to watch.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:29 PM on June 3, 2013


There is a second season, hooray!
posted by Justinian at 6:31 PM on June 3, 2013


I think the notion that Sara could have just stepped into the role of a police officer (while assuming the identity of an actual police officer she didn't know, even) mostly without suspicion for much of the season is far more unbelievable than the much more obscure patent issue but I really like the show and I'm willing to suspend disbelief.

There is a second season, hooray!

I was really surprised by the ending because I thought it was an one-off but I was so happy to see there's a season two, even if we have to wait forever to see it.

Also, I no longer wish I had a tail.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:28 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the notion that Sara could have just stepped into the role of a police officer (while assuming the identity of an actual police officer she didn't know, even) mostly without suspicion for much of the season is far more unbelievable than the much more obscure patent issue but I really like the show and I'm willing to suspend disbelief.

Except that she didn't. She sucked at it. She didn't know anyone's names, or procedure, she couldn't put on her gun holster, she couldn't shoot. Everyone thought she was being weird, but gave her a pass because she had just come back from a traumatic civilian shooting - PSTD or other fallout is a way more plausible explanation for her odd behaviour than 'Oh, Beth's been replaced by a clone'.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:33 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well of course they wouldn't think she was a clone, but maybe it's that she didn't suck enough as a police officer and do more than just raise an eyebrow. I didn't even think of it much watching the show, I'm just comparing it to the patent issue that's been raised.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:51 PM on June 3, 2013


Well of course they wouldn't think she was a clone, but maybe it's that she didn't suck enough as a police officer and do more than just raise an eyebrow.

She sucked pretty hard as a police officer, but I thought everyone was giving her something of a pass because they knew she had mental health issues. Art knew she was on tons of psych meds, and it's implied they made her behavior somewhat erratic and unpredictable. If the charade had gone on any longer, I wouldn't have been able to suspend my disbelief at all, but Sarah quit at just the right time. I think once someone took a look at her paperwork, the jig really would have been up, so I thought it was a nice touch that it was only after she left that they realized her paperwork was a mess.

As it was, I thought the level to which she was terrible at being a police officer was fairly plausible. I was really impressed with the show when Sarah was shown as being believably, rightfully terrified when she was caught in gunfire and had to pursue a suspect. Also, the whole anxiety dream feeling of that first episode when she initially stepped in Beth's shoes was really well done. The way Sarah got out of having to testify at the first hearing was somehow completely surprising and completely believable for the situation.
posted by yasaman at 8:08 PM on June 3, 2013


Oh, and one link I forgot to include: Maslany has been nominated for a Critic's Choice Award, so maybe an Emmy nomination isn't completely out of the question. I really hope she gets some sort of recognition for her work, because as impressed as I was by Anna Torv's (unfairly overlooked) work as two Olivias, Maslany is just on some insane other acting level with all the different clones and some of the clones themselves acting as other clones.
posted by yasaman at 8:18 PM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maslany has been nominated for a Critic's Choice Award

Wow, tough choices on that list overall, but I could see her winning. (I'm just glad I don't have to choose between Walton Goggins and Jonathan Banks.) As a BBC production, does the show qualify for an Emmy?
posted by Room 641-A at 8:36 PM on June 3, 2013


Will TV's Best Actress Get The Big Fancy Award For Best TV Actressing?
posted by homunculus at 8:45 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's an AVClub interview with her, if you haven't seen it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:11 PM on June 3, 2013


Whoops, never mind.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:19 PM on June 3, 2013


I was also blown away by Maslany in an episode of Flashpoint's first season. My friends and I always get verklemmt when we talk about it, she was just that good. I was so excited to see her in a show of her own, and she never disappointed. And count me in with the people who loved it when she was one clone playing another clone -- truly amazing.
posted by emcat8 at 12:06 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany is Rosie the Riveter
posted by homunculus at 8:40 PM on June 4, 2013


I just wanted to say... I'm part of the visual effects crew that's done the work on Orphan Black, and I love the show. :D Not simply because I work with it (I'm not an artist, so I don't do any effects), but because it's fun, well-written, was shot in Toronto (yay!), and I like ALL of the characters! Wicked. :D Glad to see it on the blue! :)
posted by Vamier at 7:38 AM on June 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


That's awesome, Vamier! It's a really good-looking show overall. I particularly love Fee's loft. Since I have this chance I must ask you a question that I assumed I'd never get an answer to: In one of the first episodes, when Sarah first gets into Beth's apartment, there is a scene where she is wearing a kind of strappy sports bra thing. My wife really liked it, and she was very disappointed that my Internet sleuthery couldn't find out just what it was. I couldn't even find a screencap of it to post to Ask MetaFilter! Any chance you know what it was, or know someone in costuming who might? I'd be much obliged, and I'd really impress the hell out of my wife!
posted by Rock Steady at 9:40 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tatiana Maslany nominated for a TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama, and Orphan Black for Outstanding New Program.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:35 PM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


She won the Critics Choice award for Best Actress in a Drama "over the likes of Homeland‘s Claire Danes, Bates Motel‘s Vera Farmiga, Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss and The Americans‘ Keri Russell".
posted by Rock Steady at 8:12 AM on June 11, 2013


Um, chiming in as another fan of the bra costume design on this show. There's one that the French seductress wears under a tank top that was like !!!
posted by prefpara at 8:21 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just started and I love watching Maslany do her thing, but I'm surprised this particular nitpick hasn't been brought up: fingerprints do not work that way. IIRC fingerprints are one of those things that develop in vitro, not at genetic level, that's how even twins can be differentiated. In any case, what I've retained from secondary school biology isn't much, but I'm surprised Cosima was extremely confident of how identical their genes would be at current technology of genetic sequencing. What more basic bloodwork would've shown Sarah to be different in terms of medications or lack thereof. It only niggled when the finale made the codebreaking hinge on the knowledge of how gene sequencing has advanced since the 70s. Which nerdy real life sciency stuff am I supposed to follow and which should I happily go without? (lol)
posted by cendawanita at 4:25 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, that part (what with the SCIENCE! and dubious hair) reminded me of Hackers.
posted by klangklangston at 10:09 PM on June 11, 2013


IIRC fingerprints are one of those things that develop in vitro, not at genetic level, that's how even twins can be differentiated.

Actually, genes have a strong influence on fingerprints, and certain attributes are inheritable. Of course, environmental conditions in utero will cause variation.

Nevertheless, the fingerprints of twins can show marked similarities, even be indistinguishable from each other to the untrained eye. For example, look at page 13 of this paper.

Biometric tech is mature enough to tell the difference though, so ultimately you are correct.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:24 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


But, in fairness, I looked all that up because of my outrage at the fingerprint thing.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:27 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Alright, Rock Steady... Next time the producers are around, I'll see what I can find out and let you know! :D
posted by Vamier at 9:23 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hee hee

Supreme Court rules against patenting human genes

No word on Scalia's opinion on my right to grow my own tail.

(I'm sure he wouldn't let me marry it.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:52 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


So my favorite thing about this show is how the Evil Corporation, despite doing shady things like having researchers watching over these clones, hasn't done a blatantly evil thing other than the kidnapping at the very end. BUT, we don't see that kidnapping happen! And Orphan Black likes misleading the audience enough that for all we know Mrs. S just ran off and faked her home's destruction for reasons of her own.

My ideal fantasy for this show, which I know won't happen but still, would be for Evil Corporation to never actually do anything evil, the patent DNA encoding is just kind of boilerplate that they left in 25 years ago and have completely forgotten about (yes I know they're being Shady about this too), and the season 2 opener has Sara confront Leeky and he's all like, "Whoa shit, somebody kidnapped your daughter? Fucked up yo." And then Evil Corporation keeps on being blamed for shit but all they ever do is this kind of intrusive "we have to study you For Science" thing. And then eventually all the plots are just kind of absurd for the sake of absurd.

And also Tatiana plays every single character that isn't Felix.

And also a scene where Cosima pretends to be Helena pretending to be Alison.

And also love triangles. Lots and lots of love triangles.

This is such a fun show.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:29 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


So my favorite thing about this show is how the Evil Corporation, despite doing shady things like having researchers watching over these clones, hasn't done a blatantly evil thing other than the kidnapping at the very end.

I think they've been pretty out and out evil so far.

Clandestinely sedating people, kidnapping them from their beds, and conducting tests on them is not merely 'shady'.

Further, suborning their subjects' lovers (or turning their spies into the lovers of their subjects) is pretty evil.

And also Tatiana plays every single character that isn't Felix.

Now that, I can get behind.

And also a scene where Cosima pretends to be Helena pretending to be Alison.

It's turtles clones all the way down!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:10 PM on June 17, 2013


Just finished, and can we talk about how- good christ- Alison essentially killed a completely innocent woman? Yowza.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:53 PM on June 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Alison is definitely losing it.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:15 AM on June 24, 2013


Yeah, that was what shocked me most. That Allison let someone die, didn't lift a finger to help them, and didn't seem to feel more than an hour or two of guilt afterward.

As for the Dyad Institute and the Neolution cult, they straight up murdered the hapless Olivier (nee Kevin), perhaps because he could reveal too many secrets.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:09 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why Patton Oswalt Thinks “Orphan Black’s” Tatiana Maslany Is The “Best Actress Alive”

If it were up to professional geeks like Oswalt and Damon Lindelof, Maslany would win all the Emmys. “I don’t even know what it means,” Maslany says about the groundswell of support for her and the BBC America show.
posted by cgc373 at 3:27 AM on July 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


This show has conditioned me such that I have seen 3 separate young-ish brunette women and thought "Is that Tatiana Maslany?" for a second. And on further inspection, none of them looked like her -- or any of the clones she played -- at all.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:45 PM on July 2, 2013


I just finished this recently and couldn't agree more with some of the other comments in this thread. I went into this series not expecting much and came away incredibly sated. Most sci-fi shows with potential as fantastic as this fail to live up to it. This one really delivered though, neolution bullshit notwithstanding.

It occurs to me that this show is what Dollhouse should have been. I would just like to remind those praising Tatiana Maslany that Enver Gjokaj did an equally good job acting as different people in Dollhouse. (He even did multiple convincing accents.) It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to see him get the role of male clones (even though I know that won't happen because it'll be too obvious to the audience that he's the clones).

The one thing that I haven't seen anyone mention in the thread yet is that I'm kind of sad that Helena got killed off, if that is indeed what happened. I really loved that character for the fact that there was real tension whenever she was around, yet she wasn't pure mindless evil. She was arguably the most capable of the clones we've met, dedicating herself to her goals like a force of nature. I wouldn't put it past them for her shooting to be non-fatal. Right after it happened, I was thinking "Okay Sarah, now put one more in her chest and one in her head to be sure, because this is Helena you're dealing with."
posted by dcrewi at 6:36 PM on July 2, 2013


I would dance a happy dance if Enver Gjokaj or Dichen Lachman were on the show too, even as non-clones. They deserve to be much more well known than they are.

But yeah, I've convinced people to watch Orphan Black by saying "Imagine Dollhouse if Eliza Dushku could act and the show didn't suck".

I was ready for Helena to go. I liked her while she was there, but I feel her story had gone its course. I am really interested to see where they're going to take the show from here.
posted by jeather at 7:17 PM on July 2, 2013


My take on things is that the Dyad Institute is the business end of this conspiracy. They were doing human cloning research thirty years ahead of its time thirty years ago. Who knows what they've accomplished since or how far their influence has spread. Neolution is Leekie's pet project. It may be a way to subtly prime the general public to accept Dyad's scientific breakthroughs, or it may just be Leekie's bid for stardom, an attempt to get some credit for all the crazy stuff he's had to keep secret over the years. If he frames it all as "what if" scenarios no one can accuse him of breaking the law.

Helena would be very useful to the Dyad Institute, alive or dead, because she was probably as fertile as Sarah. They'd certainly be motivated to get hold of her.
posted by Kevin Street at 7:47 PM on July 2, 2013


They were doing human cloning research thirty years ahead of its time thirty years ago.

I hoped we'd eventually meet someone who looks like a Tatiana Maslany aged thirty to fifty years older: the narcissistic infertile billionaire who's been funding all this and wants to gain vicarious immortality through the legacy of her clones.
posted by dcrewi at 8:22 PM on July 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


If nothing else, Dollhouse showed us that Enver Gjokaj is more than capable as a lead. I'm sad that he's only had a string of guest appearances since. Please, somebody, build a show around this guy.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:48 PM on July 2, 2013


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