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Orphan Black is Back
April 26, 2014 10:15 PM   Subscribe

Clones Are People Too: The Science and Science Fiction of BBC America’s Orphan Black. BBC America's science fiction series Orphan Black has returned for a second season, with Tatiana Maslany reprising her extraordinary performance playing half a dozen different clone characters. Meanwhile, in the real world, scientists have created cloned embryonic stem cells from the DNA of two adult humans. [Previously]
posted by homunculus (66 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 


Can we stream this show anywhere yet? Make a me so mad.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:32 PM on April 26, 2014


We = USAmericans I mean. Everyone seems to love this show but I can't find anywhere to stream it, which is clearly against the constitution.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:34 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I like this show a lot. It's so interesting to me how some people can pull this off (like communitychannel on YouTube), and then other people like Bruce Willis are Bruce Willis no matter who they play.

Tatiana has been doing a good job. Somehow even the moments where the acting isn't so stellar, it still works. I think I liked the feel of many of the scenes from last season more than the ones from this season, but it has just gotten started.

If you haven't seen the show, I think it is definitely worth checking out a few episodes to see if you like it.
posted by cashman at 10:34 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would like to see the entire musical that Allison is in this season, please. Possibly in a Hannibal crossover, because with lyrics about being blood buds together my weekend TV watching is in a weird place right now.

(And s1's available on Amazon for streaming.)
posted by rewil at 10:40 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm so looking forward to watching this. Season 1 just hit Amazon Prime, although I think you can buy it too.
posted by gemmy at 10:48 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Being Canadian myself, I have a little trouble watching BBC America's Space's Orphan Black for the same reason I have trouble watching other Canadian drama series: The characters sound like me, and that is weird. It's just not something I'm used to. It's simultaneously too real, because that's how real people talk, but also too phony because that's not how real people talk at all, you know? I can tell they're acting.

(I think this might be why most of the Canadian shows that make it huge in Canada are comedies featuring really cartoonishly exaggerated voices.)

It's really good though, and it's massively helpful that the accents aren't all Canadian.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:49 PM on April 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


They need to get Felix on board to spice up that musical.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:00 PM on April 26, 2014 [7 favorites]


(And s1's available on Amazon for streaming.)

FINALLY dang.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:02 PM on April 26, 2014


Being Canadian myself, I have a little trouble watching Space's Orphan Black for the same reason I have trouble watching other Canadian drama series: The characters sound like me, and that is weird.

I'm pretty sure the show is set in the Generic Dominion States of No-Brand North America
posted by Bwithh at 11:05 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Can we stream this show anywhere yet?

Both Google play and Amazon video have it for sale for $2 an episode. I'd assume the same is true for iTunes, but I didn't check.
posted by aspo at 11:40 PM on April 26, 2014


Even though I like the premise of the show in general, for me this is all about Tatiana Maslany. Maybe it's possible, but I don't see the show working with any other actor in the role. I just never, ever find my mind wandering, comparing hair styles, or accents, or anything. I'm 100% on board. I'm very excited to see where the story goes this season.

Generic Dominion States of No-Brand North America

This always makes me feel like the aliens tried to acclimate me by recreating the illusion of my home planet but missed it by that much. (And I'm really just in a zoo cage, obvs.)
posted by Room 641-A at 12:27 AM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


One of the things I found baffling about the casting in Dollhouse is Eliza Dushku is just very Dushku-y in all her characters. I think Christina Hendricks or Amy Acker would both have been better choices from previous Whedon projects. I'm curious to see a broadly similar idea with an actor with a broader range...sounds like it's worth it.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:39 AM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the show is set in the Generic Dominion States of No-Brand North America

Nah, it's definitely actually set in canada. They mention ontario, and you see it on the police station and stuff too.
posted by emptythought at 1:29 AM on April 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


One of the things I found baffling about the casting in Dollhouse is Eliza Dushku is just very Dushku-y in all her characters. I think Christina Hendricks or Amy Acker would both have been better choices from previous Whedon projects.

Amy Acker would have been perfect, imo.
posted by homunculus at 1:43 AM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Everything about this show just draws you in immediately -- the acting, the characters, the humor, the plots that unfold at light speed while still managing to keep mysteries alive left and right, even the opening title sequence. I dare you to watch the first 5 minutes of the pilot and not want to marathon the whole thing.

Clone club!
posted by Rhomboid at 1:54 AM on April 27, 2014


I want a tail!
posted by zaelic at 2:31 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not going to read the thread just yet as we JUST finished the first season and will try and catch up later today with the most recent two episodes. We're hooked. Also, it's fun to read the Hey I Know Where That Is in Toronto game whilst viewing it!
posted by Kitteh at 4:39 AM on April 27, 2014


(I went and skimmed the thread because I couldn't resist and y'all are not being very spoilery! Thanks!)

I think the creators said that where Orphan Black takes is in a sort of generic North American city but when Alison lives in Scarborough, everyone has Ontario license plates, and they've referenced (to my count) at least three central TO neighborhoods, that no longer rings true. If you're a viewer unfamiliar with Toronto however, then to you, it probably works better as a generic North American city.
posted by Kitteh at 4:54 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


My wife and I both love this show. Maslany is pretty damned amazing, working the different characters and managing to keep them solidly separate. The scenes where two or more of the clones are together and interacting simply work without a hitch. You really don't question it. Of course, a lot of that has to do with the technical side of the production, but Maslany's performances seal the deal.

I'm really loving the Alison and Felix scenes. It's some pretty warped, very very dark, comic relief.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:04 AM on April 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


There was a pre-season 2 show called The Cloneversation in which Will Wheaton interviewed the cast. The set was Felix's loft.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:30 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


In an act of somewhat unbelievable obtuseness, I spent the first three episodes of Orphan Black being confused as fuck about where the show was supposed to take place. This was because of the mismatch of accents between the two MCs and everyone else, plus some mundane detail (I can't remember what now) that demonstrated the show did not take place in the US. As a result, I came to the logical conclusion that Orphan Black took place somewhere in the The Far Future, after a bunch of political boundaries had broken down, so that people with different accents all lived together in a kind of post-racial-esque linguistic harmony.

It wasn't until the episode that talked about Felix and Sarah's childhood that a lightbulb finally clicked on, and I went, "Oh, two British people living in Canada."

I am not that smart.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 5:53 AM on April 27, 2014 [13 favorites]


I would like to see the entire musical that Allison is in this season, please.

Happily, the creators of the show have announced that Blood Ties is a real musical, locally originating in Toronto! If you Google, it looks like you can watch it online, as performed at Fringe in Edinburgh, but I didn't check the video I saw to see if it was the full thing or not. But yes, it's a real musical!
posted by angeline at 5:59 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm about halfway through the first season (it's free on Amazon Prime right now), and am mostly loving it. They are doing a bit of that mid-season thing where ridiculous complications get layered on needlessly, but Maslany is good enough for me to keep watching.

She's ridiculously beautiful and talented, and when I've seen interviews with her so smart as well -- it's not a fair world.

In an act of somewhat unbelievable obtuseness, I spent the first three episodes of Orphan Black being confused as fuck about where the show was supposed to take place.

I was confused about that until the first time someone used cash. Nice, colorful (ahem, colourful) Canadian cash.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:59 AM on April 27, 2014


There was a pre-season 2 show called The Cloneversation in which Will Wheaton interviewed the cast.

Am I making this up, or isn't there supposed to be a weekly post-mortem, like Talking Dead?
posted by Room 641-A at 6:11 AM on April 27, 2014


Am I making this up, or isn't there supposed to be a weekly post-mortem, like Talking Dead?

I'm going to go with "making it up". I've not seen any promo for such a thing.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:14 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


I haven't watched last night's episode yet, but I have Opinions about the premiere.
posted by jeather at 6:55 AM on April 27, 2014


Spoilers, sorta. But I figure this is the thread for spoilers.

While I wasn't super blown away by the Orphan Black season premiere, it was still quite good. The show is so impressive in so many ways, often subtle. The use of CGI and effects are usually understated but well done. The general lo-fi scifi thing is fantastic.

I like that while Alison is often the comedic relief and the butt of the joke, the show doesn't do the expected minimization of her character just because she's the suburban Stepford Wife. Her opinions are valid, she's shown to be resourceful and capable, and she's just as important as the other characters.

The other thing that blows me away is how much characterization and separation (between physically identical characters) Tatiana Maslany brings to her performance, just through her physical performance. Verbal tics and dialogue aside, she plays each character very differently. Sarah is very shoulders squared and forward, Alison has this uprightness in her posture and tension held in her shoulders, Cosima practically exists as a living curve, every time she moves or stands somewhere she sort of flows. And Helena has this sort of bent-over, stalking, uneven movement. It's quite impressive, and once I started noticing it, I couldn't not notice it.

Ramon was also awesome.
posted by X-Himy at 7:21 AM on April 27, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm going to go with "making it up". I've not seen any promo for such a thing.

Aww, I guess I thought that's what The Cloneversation was going to be.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:37 AM on April 27, 2014


Significant Season 1 finale spoilers below!

.

The show's basis for Dyad's (or whatever ultimate parent entity's) legal claim on Sarah, Kira, and the rest is purest poppycock. Human beings cannot be patented in the US*, Canada**, or anywhere else, nor can a patent on genetic material (even "synthetic genetic material", per season 2, episode 1) extend to ownership or control over humans that contain that material. So bear in mind that the legal stuff is just as much fiction as the rest of the show.

* This was a long-standing Patent Office policy in the US and was almost certainly prohibited by the 13th Amendment anyway. Nonetheless it was explicitly codified by § 33 of the America Invents Act of 2011 [pdf].

** See Harvard College v. Canada (Commissioner of Patents) (holding that higher life forms are not patentable in Canada).

Apart from that strain on my suspension of disbelief, I enjoy the show a lot.
posted by jedicus at 7:48 AM on April 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


I loved the first half of Season One, but really started losing interest when the "conspiracy" was revealed. But I guess that's just me on SciFi, I'm only interested in the parts that are continuously connected to our reality (loved the first half of the Matrix, the first season of the Walking Dead, and, somehow, all of Eternal Sunshine).

That said, Maslany is amazing. The diner scene between Sarah and Helena (S01E07) is better than Pacino v. DeNiro in Heat.
posted by pjenks at 8:17 AM on April 27, 2014


They haven't gone into much detail on the nature of the conspiracy, so there's some room to make it plausible if they want to. A conspiracy to change the legal landscape in re IP relating to the human genome could be made to work. Just look at recent rulings re political donations and net neutrality and affirmative action. There's a saying that you only have the rights that you defend. (Which sounds like a cue for a 2nd Amendment rant but you won't hear it from me.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:31 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


All I've ever seen of this show was a few minutes of the recent season premiere. Fortunately, those few minutes featured Felix in assless chaps. A+, would watch that part again. Based on what I've seen, I think I'd have a hard time getting past the low-budget CanCon factor to really get absorbed in this show. Someone else I know said something like "everything about it other than the lead actor is terrible". I've been spoiled by Hollywood budgets.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:39 AM on April 27, 2014


The letdown for me is that the credits for this show should really feature the name Tatiana Maslany six or seven times.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:42 AM on April 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


Maslany's performances are amazing. She even manages to make one clone impersonating another distinct from either.
posted by HillbillyInBC at 9:45 AM on April 27, 2014 [9 favorites]


I know, right? When watching it, I legitimately forget that I am watching one actor play multiple distinct roles until they bring up the main thrust of the concept and then I'm always like, "DANG."
posted by Kitteh at 10:03 AM on April 27, 2014






The show's basis for Dyad's (or whatever ultimate parent entity's) legal claim on Sarah, Kira, and the rest is purest poppycock.

There was talk about the patent issue in the S01 FPP.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:37 AM on April 27, 2014


I really don't have any problem with the relevant legalisms; the show is deliberately absurdist in so many ways that's a relatively trivial nit to pick. One of my favorites is the nightclub owner with that little something extra; I laughed myself sick, in a good way.

And Felix is the best individual character on the show, and one of the best characters on any show. I particularly like that he's genuinely heroic; not just the reluctant accomplice who's always bitching and quailing, and genuinely resourceful without being the magical other. Just terrific.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:25 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love that Maslany can carry off showing us Clone A pretending to be Clone B. She's really got such physicality to each of the characters. And, yeah. Felix is a walking stereotype but I adore him anyways.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:33 AM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]




Being Canadian myself, I have a little trouble watching BBC America's Space's Orphan Black for the same reason I have trouble watching other Canadian drama series: The characters sound like me, and that is weird.
Sys Rq-- in that case, try Continuum for even more weirdness. (Unless a Vancouver accent is different from yours, that fact that it's actually supposed to be in Vancouver, including far future Vancouver, makes it incredibly awesome and weird.)

It wasn't until the episode that talked about Felix and Sarah's childhood that a lightbulb finally clicked on
Yeah, me too. I'm actually amazed at how long I was trying to figure out what part of the UK it was supposed to be in, despite evidence that they were in North America. (Though when they mentioned London, I then tried to figure out which one they meant.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 4:44 PM on April 27, 2014


As much as i saw it coming, i was really bummed that only s02e01 was free on amazon, and that e02 was like $2.99 or whatever.

i had this dream idea in my head that amazon had worked out some awesome hulu-like deal to post the shows for free right after they aired.
posted by emptythought at 6:37 PM on April 27, 2014


Itty Bitty Orphan Black
posted by homunculus at 7:26 PM on April 27, 2014




HillbillyInBC: "Maslany's performances are amazing. She even manages to make one clone impersonating another distinct from either."

rmd1023: "I love that Maslany can carry off showing us Clone A pretending to be Clone B. She's really got such physicality to each of the characters. And, yeah. Felix is a walking stereotype but I adore him anyways."

She gets the accents slightly wrong. A Canadian (Allison) pretending to be British (Sarah) sounds like a Canadian trying to fake a British accent. Every single time she does it, it just floors me.
posted by zarq at 11:58 AM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]




I still need to watch E02 (tonight!) but I finally had a chance to stick my head in. Orphan Black is one of my favorite shows, and a lot of it is that the show is so woman-centered. There are good women and bad women and women who have questionable morals. It has women who love other women, women who hate other women, mother-chlld relationships that are serious and important, sibling relationships, and they're ALL ABOUT WOMEN and the show takes them seriously. The women have the sexy-sex and they're not condemned for it. And the dudes are the eye candy. (Tell me Beth's boyfriend isn't.)

I love this. I compare it to the rest of the SFnal stuff going around (MCU just dangling a Black Widow movie, DC kicking the Wonder Woman can down the road, JJ Abrams and his eye candy Star Trek and the only-one-new-woman Star Wars stuff) and the answer to the question "where are the women?" is Orphan Black. More like this please, tv-makers!
posted by immlass at 4:42 PM on April 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


Law and the Multiverse: Orphan Black
posted by homunculus at 12:33 PM on May 2, 2014


Felix is not an outdoorsman.
posted by homunculus at 6:03 PM on May 3, 2014


Daario 2.0 is on Orphan Black. That guy really gets around.
posted by homunculus at 6:33 PM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


A-
posted by homunculus at 11:47 PM on May 3, 2014


a lot of it is that the show is so woman-centered.
I believe some of the episodes would fail a reverse Bechdel test.
Which tickles me no end.
posted by fullerine at 3:06 AM on May 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


The official @OrphanBlack twitter account continues to obsessively tweet and retweet related content and fan comments about the show. (Spoilers ahoy.) They also put up a poster for "Blood Ties"
posted by zarq at 4:45 AM on May 4, 2014


I believe some of the episodes would fail a reverse Bechdel test.

I believe very few wouldn't.

Actually, even if you count all of Tatiana Maslany's characters as one person for the purposes of the Bechdel test, the show would still pass it pretty much weekly.

(I am two episodes behind because I am annoyed by the thing that happened in the premiere.)
posted by jeather at 8:39 AM on May 4, 2014


'Orphan Back' Declassified: Michiel Huisman on Cal's Life-Changing Revelation (spoilers for last night's episode.)
posted by homunculus at 10:07 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


homunculus: "Daario 2.0 is on Orphan Black. That guy really gets around."

And, as the AV Club review you also linked says, "making a very strong case for lumberjacks everywhere." I didn't have much use for him on Game of Thrones, and had anti-use for him on Nashville. But as Cal, I understood the charm and then some. That's acting, folks!

Speaking of Cal, the thing about Orphan Black is that I am just overwhelmed with so much good acting and directing and plot that I don't notice things like how a character is going to be related to the whole story until it comes out even though it was REALLY OBVIOUS IN HINDSIGHT.

Also, I care so much about the characters that I want to sabotage the show. Like it would be a total dramatic cheat to discover that Ainsley actually was Alison's "secondary handler" for times when Donny wasn't around, but I still want that for Alison's sanity.

Finally, I don't think the show gets enough credit for just how damn funny it is. Tatiana Maslany as Cosima doing an impression of Matt Frewer as Doctor Leekie is pure joy.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:45 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


If the Orphan Black DVDs don't have Alison doing the entire musical as an extra I will be really upset.
posted by jeather at 12:58 PM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Tatiana Maslany as Cosima doing an impression of Matt Frewer as Doctor Leekie is pure joy.

I think I actually started giggling when I watched that. She was dead on with her impression, too. Tatiana Maslany is amazing.
posted by immlass at 1:21 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Finally, I don't think the show gets enough credit for just how damn funny it is. Tatiana Maslany as Cosima doing an impression of Matt Frewer as Doctor Leekie is pure joy.

Yeah, there's a lot of deadpan humor on the show which is great. That impression cracked me up too.
posted by homunculus at 1:45 PM on May 5, 2014


I love love love the show, and Tatiana Maslany totally blows me away.

That said, the biggest punch in the gut I've had while watching the show (and there have been many) was seeing the name "Matt Frewer" and immediately thinking "Max Headroom???" It was so embarrassing that the name clicked and it made me feel way old.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:58 PM on May 6, 2014


Okay, I'm sure this is nothing to worry about:

Felix Dawkins, Sarah's brother
John Taylor, Duran Duran drummer

Or this:

Mark, Prolethian
Joachim Phoenix, Actor

Right??

Dr. Aldous Leekie, scientist and researcher, The Dyad Institute
Rick Scott, Governor of Florida
posted by Room 641-A at 10:51 AM on May 7, 2014


FanFare thread.
posted by homunculus at 11:29 AM on May 7, 2014


Orphan Black page on FanFare
posted by homunculus at 6:01 PM on May 26, 2014


Dr. Aldous Leekie, scientist and researcher, The Dyad Institute
Rick Scott, Governor of Florida


Transmetropolitan had a story about a clone who is the perfect political candidate.
posted by homunculus at 6:03 PM on May 26, 2014


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