Instant Gratification Vol. 3: Orphan Black on Amazon Prime

To name this Canadian sci-fi drama as something to watch on streaming this week feels kind of like a copout.  It is a show that many of my friends already discovered, one that I feel like I am late to the bandwagon on.

However, for every one person I find who has watched the ten-episode first season of this Canadian production, I find two who still haven’t heard of it, that I decided it was worth the post to try and raise awareness to those who don’t know it exists. More importantly, I want to convince others unsure of whether or not this show is their bag that it is, in fact, worth their time.

I knew of this show for the past year or so, mostly because of how much people raved about Tatiana Maslany, who plays seven or eight different characters over the course of the first season.  I wasn’t really won over by that as a selling point at first.  When people complain that parts like these get overlooked by the Emmys and the like, I tend to think this stuff feels like a gimmick more than a genuine performance.

I will say that in this instance I was completely wrong.  This girl is insanely talented and it is genuinely remarkable how much each of her characters feels like completely different people.  You might be wondering why she is playing eight different characters, which brings me to my next deterrent.

I am not normally much of a sci-fi person. While I have long been a fan of fantasy, if it is not Star Trek or The Twilight Zone, I tend to not be all that into the genre.  This was another reason I avoided this show, which is billed as a sci-fi program dealing with cloning.  While the cloning obviously plays a big role in the plot, I would say that, at least so far, this show is more of a thriller in the vein of “The Fugitive” than it bears a resemblance to “Blade Runner”.  Maslany is constantly on the hunt for information, trying to solve the mystery of her existence, so if you like mysteries and thrillers, but aren’t a sci-fi person, this show is actually right up your alley.

Finally, the name.  I have to be honest, I hate the show’s title and it is probably one of the reasons I avoided it for so long.  It sounded so serious and dour and sci-fi-ish that it really put me off.  I still don’t understand the name, I assume its deeper meaning will be revealed as the show progresses?  In other words, don’t let the dumb name deter you. This is not a weird hard to comprehend sci-fi series that is dark and depressing.  In fact, there are moments, particularly when Maslany is playing soccer mom Allison, that the show is really rather funny.

So, if you don’t like sci-fi, the name turns you off, and the thought of one girl playing a million characters sounds like something for fitting for SNL than serious drama, think again.  This is a one-of-a-kind type of show that will surprise you, keep you guessing, and, most importantly, keep you entertained.

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