There have been many TV shows where I watched the first episode and thought, “That was pretty good. It’ll probably be better developed a few episodes in.” I had heard about Orphan Black from the Nerdist Podcast and wanted to check it out. The very first scene grabbed me and the rest of the episode never let go! Five years later, I am still completely enthralled with this show, even at its exit.
No matter how much credit Tatiana Maslany gets for her performance on this series, it will still be underrated. I have never seen anything like what she accomplished on this show. EVERY time I watch it, I have at least one moment where I forget that multiple characters are played by one actress because her commitment to characterization is unmatched. She even plays characters undercover as other characters! I put Maslany on my top tier with Carrie Coon. In addition to her performance, she was surrounded by an unbelievable supporting cast that has fantastic chemistry. Jordan Gavaris highlighted this crew as the charismatic Fe.
The writing has also always been superb. The writers have always told the story their own way. Sometimes that involved flashbacks to the first season four seasons in. Sometimes that has been a focus on a single character. The writers always seem to know when to slowly burn and when to put the pedal to the metal. Their wisdom really showed in the final season. They avoided the problem most shows have in their finale by tying up many loose ends before the final episode. It allowed the finale episode to be a lot more focused and strong from a storytelling standpoint.
Speaking of the final episode… wow! The birth scene cutting back and forth between Helena and Sarah and Sarah and S was powerful. It really brought the theme of Sarah’s maturity over the course of the show to the forefront. I am so happy this episode wasn’t cluttered, but instead a small scope story exploring the theme of family. In the end, despite being sci-fi that dabbled in thriller and horror, Orphan Black really was a character-driven story about family and how open the definition of that word is. The little addition of Helena’s memoirs basically being the show was cool too.
From one of many huge fans, a big thank you to EVERYONE that worked on this show!