New Sci-fi Thriller Orphan Black Sends in the Clones

Do you like your sci-fi with a healthy dose of cloning? Then the new series Orphan Black is for you

Credit: Space

Tatiana Maslany plays a number of different clones with different personalities in Orphan Black

The thrilling new series Orphan Black isn’t your regular stolen identity show – there are clones, lots of clones

A troubled young woman named Sarah (played by Tatiana Maslany) is waiting on a subway platform when she inadvertently catches the eye of a well-dressed stranger who looks shockingly familiar.

In that split-second, Sarah’s recognition turns to horror when the woman commits suicide by jumping in front of an oncoming train. The twist: The dead woman is the splitting image of Sarah, who was shocked to find herself staring at her own face. 

In dire straits, Sarah quickly comes up with a plan to solve all her problems by stealing the dead woman’s identity. Instead, she winds up with far bigger troubles when she finds herself caught up in a deadly conspiracy and discovers that she and her doppelgänger Beth are actually clones — and may not be the only ones. 

This is the intriguing premise of Orphan Black, a new sci-fi series that co-creator John Fawcett describes as “a rabbit-hole thriller . . . you go darker and deeper the further on you go.” 

Orphan Black: The Parent Trap on Steroids

As series co-creator Graeme Manson explains, the viewer is brought along with Sarah to follow her journey of discovery. “That moment of suicide, that’s the kickoff point for the whole series,” he says. “Beth is a character that’s revealed in reverse, as Sarah inhabits her life, gets trapped in her life, and discovers the bad life that she left is actually much better than the terrible life that she just stepped into.” 

Actor Dylan Bruce, who plays the boyfriend of dead doppelgänger Beth, jokingly describes the show as “The Parent Trap on steroids,” and Maslany says she embraced the challenge of playing clones with differing personalities.

“It’s a dream,” she says. “I mean, it’s the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced as an actor . . . I’ve never conceived of playing a part like this. I could have never imagined that this would be something that I got to sink my teeth into . . . they’re not conventional women you see on screen; they’re all funny, they’re all dark, they’re all flawed, they’re all selfish — they’re all human . . . to get to kind of differentiate all these women is a total dream, and exhausting as well.”

Orphan Black airs Saturdays on Space.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.