Orphan Black

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thirtyframesasecond
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Orphan Black

#1 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:18 am

Orphan Black is a Canadian/UK science-fiction co-production that deals with cloning etc. It features a great central performance by Tatiana Maslany, playing several roles. It's currently on BBC3, almost finished its run, so I might give it its own thread after it's finished. It's available on R1 DVD - not sure if it's been broadcast in the US, just in case anyone wants to take a punt.

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Re: TV of 2013

#2 Post by domino harvey » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:22 am

It aired this summer on BBC America. I've heard lots of great things about it, but you know, only so many hours in the day

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: TV of 2013

#3 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:04 am

It's an excellent show - one of the best in scifi - and it moves very fast. The lead performance is great, but the whole ensemble keeps the show tight and focused. Halfway through it gets into the background science and philosophy underpinning it which somehow made a great show even greater! A sect of evolutionary futurists and a sect of religious extremists is up my alley, but the way it reflects contemporary debates was a good move on the writers' part. You could watch in a day, easily. I highly recommend the show.

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jindianajonz
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Re: TV of 2013

#4 Post by jindianajonz » Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:33 pm

At Comic-con this year, the Orphan Black panel was in one of the mid size rooms towards the end of the day, but still had people lining up 3 or 4 hours in advance to get a seat. We went to the Max Brooks panel that preceeded it, and he opened by asking how many people were here for Orphan Black rather than his own panel, and around 60% of the audience raised their hands. I think this was before the show even aired in the US, so it seems like it has a dedicated following, at the very least.

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Re: Orphan Black

#5 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:39 pm

The series begins with a deliciously juicy premise: a troubled woman sees her exact double set down her purse and jump in front of a speeding subway car then decides to take over the woman's identity without having any idea what's going on. The pilot has a lot of fun with this and then, well, the show explodes into full-on sci-fi and while that was clearly the idea all along, the more in-depth it got into the ins and outs of cloning and so on, the less invested I found myself. I still give the series a strong recommendation and will still be tuning in for the second season for one reason: Tatiana Maslany, who is so good at playing so many different characters that the biggest mystery of the series is who the hell is this amazing actress and where did she come from? She's basically guaranteed herself some form of income for the rest of her life because Maslany will be invited to sci-fi conventions and cast in genre pics based on her name recognition for this series until the end of her days if she wants it. And the praise is justified-- I won't say every iteration she portrays is equally represented or fleshed-out (though obviously Alison is the best character and performance here), but I really did forget after a while that all the central characters are played by the same actress. I have no idea if she'll be able to capitalize on the showcase the series affords her or if she is capable beyond the perimeters of the show, but if so there is a serious threat to the regular roster of actresses we think about when we think about great performers.

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Re: Orphan Black

#6 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:05 am

domino, that opening identity take over after a suicide premise was actually the thing that put me off watching the series, as it seemed far too close to the inciting incident of Naked Tango!

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zedz
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Re: Orphan Black

#7 Post by zedz » Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:41 pm

domino harvey wrote:The series begins with a deliciously juicy premise: a troubled woman sees her exact double set down her purse and jump in front of a speeding subway car then decides to take over the woman's identity without having any idea what's going on. The pilot has a lot of fun with this and then, well, the show explodes into full-on sci-fi and while that was clearly the idea all along, the more in-depth it got into the ins and outs of cloning and so on, the less invested I found myself. I still give the series a strong recommendation and will still be tuning in for the second season for one reason: Tatiana Maslany, who is so good at playing so many different characters that the biggest mystery of the series is who the hell is this amazing actress and where did she come from? She's basically guaranteed herself some form of income for the rest of her life because Maslany will be invited to sci-fi conventions and cast in genre pics based on her name recognition for this series until the end of her days if she wants it. And the praise is justified-- I won't say every iteration she portrays is equally represented or fleshed-out (though obviously Alison is the best character and performance here), but I really did forget after a while that all the central characters are played by the same actress. I have no idea if she'll be able to capitalize on the showcase the series affords her or if she is capable beyond the perimeters of the show, but if so there is a serious threat to the regular roster of actresses we think about when we think about great performers.
Having just watched the first two seasons, I pretty much agree with all of this. Maslany is astonishing throughout, to the extent that the gimmick really does fade into the background and you just appreciate the quality and diversity of the ensemble cast . . . of one.

I enjoyed my way through both seasons, but by the end of the second I was getting disengaged from the plot for two reasons:
1) One of the show's great achievements is the way it can balance moods and genres without losing momentum, and so from scene to scene to scene you could be watching an excellent comedy, a fine thriller or melodrama, or a pretty good horror or action film. The genre it handles least well, or least originally, is science fiction, so, as domino noted, the more central that (fundamental) plot becomes, the less sparky and interesting the show is. That said, the sci fi premise does raise - and address - a number of interesting issues in a reasonably intelligent way. It's more that the way that side of the show is elaborated (yet another shady, omnipotent corporation with a private army of enforcers / fixers) is so tired. However, once the characters are bedded in, the transitions to other, more rewarding genres can be delightfully fluid, and when certain characters are on board (Alison, Felix and - surprisingly - Helena) the show can effortlessly manage hilarious beats even in the middle of otherwise serious scenes.
2) This is yet another example of the never-ending origin story. This trope, pioneered by Alan Moore way back in the 80s, can be used pretty effectively, but only up to a point. Having an incredibly convoluted backstory that the character(s) need to investigate is a simple and appealing hook, but the longer it runs the more cast iron your plotting of that backstory needs to be, and the greater the risk that it just becomes a great yawning irrlevance, and by the second series we're getting to the point where the multiple reversals and reveals are starting to take a toll on some of the characters. Paul was never very substantial to begin with, but his character is simply in tatters at this point, and Maria Doyle Kennedy needs all of her considerable acting chops to project any kind of throughline for her chesspiece character. After twenty episodes, we're only just starting to get a glimmer of what all this cloning is about, and it seems like the explanation is the least interesting and most predictable one possible, and is just going to present us with a different set of genre cliches to overcome going forward.

But those are really just niggles: there's so much fun to be had in the performances and largely ingenious plotting of the series (though - another niggle - they really need to retire the "Kira / Helena is abducted!" gamechanger beat) that I can heartily recommend it.

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Re: Orphan Black

#8 Post by hanshotfirst1138 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:43 am

Weren't at least the early seasons of the Doctor Who revival Canadian co-productions as well? Are UK shows very popular there? It seems to be fairly common for them to work together financially.

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willoneill
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Re: Orphan Black

#9 Post by willoneill » Sat Jan 24, 2015 8:36 pm

hanshotfirst1138 wrote:Weren't at least the early seasons of the Doctor Who revival Canadian co-productions as well? Are UK shows very popular there? It seems to be fairly common for them to work together financially.
Although I myself don't watch a lot of UK shows, they can have huge followings here. The biggest example is probably Coronation St, which extremely popular in Canada, maybe even as popular as it is in the UK. That said, Orphan Black doesn't feel British at all, it feels extremely Canadian. Most of the cast is Canadian (guests stars included), and the show is very obviously shot in Toronto and surrounding areas of Southern Ontario.

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ShellOilJunior
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Re: Orphan Black

#10 Post by ShellOilJunior » Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:20 am

Season 1 is free for Amazon Prime subscribers.

I'm hooked after 2 episodes...

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Re: Orphan Black

#11 Post by ShellOilJunior » Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:35 pm

I've just finished season 2.

Watching Tatiana Maslany (and her double) pull off about 8 different characters (Each with different styles, mannerisms and accents) is quite astonishing. Many times these characters are on screen together but the production does it all so seamlessly - very believable. Maslany is worth the price of admission alone.

If you're thinking about watching the show just give the Pilot a try. If it's your cup of tea it'll have you from the jump.

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Re: Orphan Black

#12 Post by jason80 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:18 pm

First full length trailer for season 3

seat42f.com/orphan-black-season-3-trailer.html

Third season looks way better than second. Can't wait.

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Black Hat
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Re: Orphan Black

#13 Post by Black Hat » Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:43 am

I just flew thru both seasons of this and what a blast it was. Maslany is going to be geek fetishized for many generation of nerd to come, she is that good. Season two, reminiscent of late season Alias, did go a little haywire — not enough time with the clones together (tho the dance scene almost made up for it), Mulletrans Maslany, Paul, Art & his partner — but ultimately Maslany's charms win out.

Smart move introducing another clone as another season like the second and I'd probably start to care a lot less about who is on whose side anymore.
zedz wrote:However, once the characters are bedded in, the transitions to other, more rewarding genres can be delightfully fluid, and when certain characters are on board (Alison, Felix and - surprisingly - Helena) the show can effortlessly manage hilarious beats even in the middle of otherwise serious scenes.
I have to hand it to them at first I couldn't wait for the Helena scenes to end but now besides Alison she's my favorite clone.

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Re: Orphan Black

#14 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:34 pm

Maslany finally got her Emmy nomination

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Black Hat
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Re: Orphan Black

#15 Post by Black Hat » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:19 pm

Has anyone seen season 3 yet? I noticed it's up ondemand, want to check it out but want gauge how badly it continued to go off the rails or if it managed to find it's footing again?

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