Orphan Black: The Best Canadian Clone Show You've Never Seen

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EmbedPhoto: Courtesy of BBC America.
Full disclosure: We love TV. So much so that sometimes we'd rather spend a whole weekend in front of the tube than dancing in da club. Is a lack of television service holding you back from feeling our joy? No problem! You can get by just fine on Netflix, Hulu, and the myriad other streaming services rapidly taking over the home-entertainment industry (thank you, Internet!).

Some shows are just better when binge-watched. Whether it's the latest BBC comedy, a PBS miniseries from the '70s, or just that cultish show prematurely scrubbed from a network, we're hooked on the stream. Staying In(stant) is your guide to the best of streaming content. Each week, we bring you a show we're obsessed with and think you should be, too.


This Week: Orphan Black

Where To Watch: Amazon Prime (also iTunes, VUDU, and BBC America On Demand). Season two available on DVD July 15.

How I Got Hooked: If you know anything about Orphan Black, you've probably heard that the show’s star, Tatiana Maslany, has yet to be nominated for an Emmy. That an awards-show snubbing is the most public mention of the program is odd, but then again, this is a Canadian-produced science fiction show that airs on BBC America, so the fact that people are talking about it at all is unusual.

I was swept up by the first scene in the first episode, when Sarah Manning (Maslany) watches her exact double (also Maslany) jump in front of a subway train. See, this is a conspiracy thriller about clones. Which is a spoiler of sorts, since you don’t find that out until deep into the first episode, but it’s impossible to talk about the show without mentioning it. While Orphan Black has its non-Maslany-related pleasures — mainly Jordan Gavaris as artist Felix ("Fee") Dawkins, Sarah’s foster brother and bestie — the prime bits are watching Maslany morph into one of (so far) more than a half-dozen characters.

Best Episode: Both the season one and season two finales have their share of fireworks (and clone dance parties), but you should really start at the beginning or you’ll be lost.

Why You'll Love It: Maslany. Enough can’t be said about the incredible feats of acting of which this woman is capable. Not only does she infuse each of the clones with their own completely distinct personalities and body language, from the darkly prim housewife Alison Hendrix to stilettoed CEO Rachel Duncan (who’s darkly prim in an entirely different way), Maslany is often called upon to play many of them in the same scene together, and sometimes portrays a clone impersonating another clone. It’s stunning stuff. Plus, the whole nature-versus-nurture theme is explored in interesting ways, especially as more clones (not all of them female) join the storyline.

This past season doubled the first's ratings, and the show will return with season three next year. So, now's the time to jump on, if for no other reason than to be outraged when it's snubbed again next year (fingers crossed that it won't be).