BBC America’s new original series Orphan Black kicked off Saturday evening, paired with Doctor Who as part of the channels Supernatural Saturdays. As a viewer, I admit I was intrigued to go from the more family-oriented sensibility of Doctor Who to the more adult sensibility (including a little language and equal-opportunity nudity) of Orphan Black.
When Sarah witnesses the suicide of a woman who looks just like her, she seized on the opportunity to leave behind her own life and take on the life of the other woman. Taking on the identity of Beth, a police officer facing a disciplinary hearing, Sarah tries to scam her way out of Beth’s savings and to vanish. But Beth’s boyfriend and her police officer partner, Art, won’t let Beth/Sarah easily vanish into the ether nor will a set of birth certificates and another copy of Beth.
If you’ve seen the commercials on BBC America for the show, the big question of why there are multiple birth certificates, all a month apart, and why there are at least two other women who look like Beth have already been answered. But give Orphan Black credit for making its pilot intriguing enough and offering enough other mysteries to keep me intrigued for the entire hour and curious to see where things will go once the big reveal is revealed.
A lot of the credit for this comes down to actress Tatiana Maslany, who is tasked with playing at least three versions of Sarah/Beth in the pilot. Maslany is convincing in all the various aspects of the character. There’s a scene where the emotional impact of faking her own death as Sarah hits home and Maslany nails it. She also does well at conveying the confusion she feels as the full implication of what she’s done and the mystery surrounding who she is becomes more and more apparent.
The pilot is a fascinating start to the series and I’m curious to see where it will take us.