Orphan Black

Came into this BBC America rather late (like now, 4.5 months after its premiere) because of time issues then. It had always been marked as something to watch based on the interesting premise and concept. As the months rolled and critical adulation keeps piling especially on star Tatiana Maslany, the anticipation and expectation grew. And I must say, it is quite well deserved. However, as feted as Maslany has been by the critics (and the awards thus far), I am not surprised that she had been left out by the Emmy voters. Back to the beginning, the series started off quite bland, with cookie-cutter characters and a rather straightforward plot. However, it kicks into gear by Episode 3 and from there on it's an exhilarating  roller-coaster ride, packed with enough twists and turns, of science fiction and conspiracy theory and mixed in with some sardonic wit and dry comedy. That is not to say the show is without its flaws. The tiresome subplots, in particular the police story line and vic, the druggie ex, do drag the pace on. And even the payoffs at the end was not really worth the effort of plodding through with the characters that populate these threads. Even the hot-Paul story line was started to feel bogged down towards the end, that character needs to be re-invented in Season 2 to stay relevant. Tatiana Maslany is a revelation! She is an amazing actress and managed to give all the characters that she play a distinctive personality, mannerisms and even accents. However, she really shined most as Helena, and Helena, as a character, was the one that was most misused in the end. A pity, cos there can be so much to be explored, both characterisation and plot-wise, between Sarah and Helena. I hope the creative team do continue to wade in that pool. If Maslany was Echo in "Dollhouse", Whedon would still be producing it now (although that might mean no "Avengers"...hmmmm). Nonetheless, despite all the praises, her character is not as showy as the Emmy nominees. Somehow, although the audience can connect with her, it may be because she is spread so thin, the emotional impact is not as heartfelt. Sure, technically it is a challenge to constantly act opposite herself and herself and herself, and as an actress it is a triumph to be able to create so many distinctive characters in one show; however, there was not any singular moment where Maslany totally capture the screen. Felix, as played by Jordan Gavaris, is someone whom you slowly grow to like and that is kudos to both the writing team and Gavaris who managed to find the emotional core within an otherwise potentially-caricature like role. His chemistry with Maslany is an important driving factor in the longevity of the show. Maria Doyle Kennedy, as Mrs. S, slowly came into her own. Appearing briefly in the first half but slowly taking more screen time towards the end, and undoubtedly, she will be featured more prominently in the Season 2 which is great as Kennedy is a brilliant actress. Cannot wait for season 2 to start but I wonder which direction they will be going down next. More science fiction or more conspiracy theory, and I do hope the Kira story line does not develop into a poor episode of late-season "Heroes".


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