Cloned Out

Last night the Emmys were on. I could have written an Emmy post, but, frankly, it’s not really the most interesting award show and I just can’t stay up that late.

Blah blah blah Modern Family blah blah blah Game of Thrones blah blah blah a bunch of other shows I don’t watch.

Orphan BlackNow, I love television, but I am baffled year after year that a lot of my favorite TV shows and actors are not recognized for their talent. *cough* The Wire *cough*. This year one of the biggest snubs in my mind was Orphan Black, and particularly its main star: Tatiana Maslany.

For those of you who have never seen Orphan Black, it probably falls in the category of Sci-Fi, but it’s also a crime show, a mystery, and, in some ways, a family drama. The show is set in Toronto (I think). It all begins when Sarah Manning takes on the identity of a woman who looked exactly like her, after the woman committed suicide. You find out quickly that that Sarah and this woman are actually clones, and they aren’t the only two.

I cannot sing enough praises about the first season (10 episodes) of this show. The story line is compelling without being too obvious or too disconnected. It raises a lot of ethical issues that surround the issue of human cloning (Humor me, I’m a philosopher). It is also a rarity in that most of the main characters on the show are women—interesting, three-dimensional women who aren’t just there as tokens or love interests.

The most amazing thing about this show, though, is the acting. Maslany plays clones who obviously all look the same, but they have each have a totally different background, set of mannerisms, and even a different accent. Maslany manages to nail all of the clones to the point where you have a hard time believing they are being played by the same actress. She has mastered British, Russian, and German accents for three of the clones. Though the number of total clones is unknown, the main five are:

Sarah Manning
Sarah Manning

Sarah Manning. Sarah was born in England, but her foster mother moved her (and her foster brother, more on him later) to Canada. She seems to have had a rough life and originally steals Beth’s identity for money. She is also the biological mother to a girl named Kira.

Beth Childs. Beth is the clone who committed suicide in the first episode. You learn more about her as Sarah assumes her identity. She worked in the city as a police detective.

Alison Hendrix
Alison Hendrix

Alison Hendrix. Alison is a neurotic housewife and mother of two adopted children. Sarah comes in contact with her after she assumes Beth’s identity, because Alison and Beth knew about each other.

Cosima Niehaus
Cosima Niehaus

Cosima Niehaus. An American (and yes, Maslany does an American accent) graduate student studying biology, particularly evolutionary development. Through her studies, she knows a lot about the science of clones. She and Alison have known about each other, along with Beth, for some time.

Helena
Helena

Helena. A Ukranian religious fanatic with a violent streak. She’s mentally unstable and being brainwashed.

Felix Dawkins
Felix Dawkins

There are other compelling side characters as well, including Sarah’s foster brother Felix “Fee” Dawkins, played by Jordan Gavaris, an artist who also seems to work as a rent boy. He knows about Sarah’s taking Beth’s identity, and he gets dragged along into the action, often providing comic relief.

Chris Hughes, er, Paul Dierden
Chris Hughes, er, Paul Dierden

Paul Dierden, played by Dylan Bruce (He played Chris Hughes on ATWT for a while. What.), is Beth’s boyfriend who starts to notice something is wrong after Sarah assumes Beth’s identity.

Beth Childs and Art Bell
Beth Childs and Art Bell

Art Bell, played by Kevin Hanchard, is a detective and Beth’s police partner. He also starts to get suspicious after Sarah takes over Beth’s identity.

So, even though the Emmys have snubbed this fantastic show, if you have it seen it, you have time to catch up for the second season airs in April on BBC America. After you watch the first episode, you’ll be horrified that the Emmys didn’t recognize the show, or at the very least, Maslany.

Are you an Orphan Black fan? What other shows or actors do you think got snubbed at the Emmys this year?  

Heidi Keysmash

Heidi Keysmash

30, Philosopher (literally). Heidi knows more useless trivia than any human being rightly ought, but has never seen The Wizard of Oz. She has never met a vegetable she didn’t like, but hates Jello. Overeducated and underemployed. Prone to wanderlust. Easily distracted by Karl Urban's face.
Heidi Keysmash

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  • Liz Keysmash

    This is on my list of things to watch but this post just bumped it to the top.

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  • Yes, yes… FREAKING YES! To all of this. Great summation of a brill show that deserves every bit of attention it gets and as for Tatiana Maslany — she deserves all the awards because I forget every single time she does an interview that oh yeah, she’s ALL OF THEM!