'Orphan Black - Season One'
(Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Dylan Bruce, Kevin Hanchard, Michael Mando, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2013 / BBC Home Video)
Overview: Sarah is a streetwise outsider, currently on the run from a bad relationship and painfully separated from her own daughter. When an eerily lookalike stranger commits a shocking suicide right in front of her, Sarah sees a potential solution to all her problems by assuming the dead woman’s identity and clearing out her bank account. But instead, she stumbles headlong into a kaleidoscopic thriller mystery, and soon uncovers an earth-shattering secret: she is a clone.
DVD Verdict: The story of 'Orphan Black' kicks off straight from the start, both feet on the ground, full on pace. And as much as I love, truly LOVE this new show, exactly how it starts is sooooooo out there that you have to allow it to escape your brain before journeying onwards into the mystery.
Basically, Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) is young hustler and drug dealer who's just walked out on her boyfriend somewhere in Canada. The interestingly-pretty British girl gets off the train, walks up the platform, makes a fruitless call to the woman "looking after" her daughter, slams the phone down, walks a few feet and comes face to face with Elizabeth Childs (aka Beth). Beth is committing suicide, but more interestingly to Sarah this complete stranger is identical to herself! After the tragedy, Sarah steals and assumes her identity.
And so begins a winding story of wrong moves made, the involvement of her "brother' Felix, and the mysterious pink cell phone. Oh, and a bank account with $75,000.00 located within it! And I say above somewhere in Canada as one minute the producers try their best to make you think that we're in New York City (ie: the police use NYPD mugs and NYPD vehicles), but for the most part cars sport Ontario license plates, there is multi-coloured money, and a plane ticket that is displayed in the pilot episode clearly identifies Toronto's Pearson International Airport.
Furthermore, Sarah refers to a Bay Street, which is Toronto's financial district. She also refers to Scarborough, a district of Toronto, as "practically local". In the first episode, Sarah arrives at the fictional "Huxley Station", where a loudspeaker announces that trains to New York will be departing from platform B, which would indicate the show is not set in New York also.
Anyway, moving on and Sarah as Beth quickly discovers she has taken over the identity of a cop! And one on trial for the murder of an innocent bystander in a shoot out. Her partner, Detective Arthur "Art" Bell (Kevin Hanchard) seems to think something is off with his partner immediately, but plays along. By episode three Sarah has dicovered she is a clone and by episode four is friends with them all! Well, save for one that comes around like the wicked step-sister, Helena (all of them are played incredibly by Maslani).
Indeed, Maslani is a genuine chameleon and co-Creator, Fawcett is the best filmmaker out of Canada these days. Interestingly, he made the now-timeless horror movie 'Ginger Snaps,' and Maslani starred in 'Ginger Snaps 2'! But, I digress. In episode five 'Beth' quits the police, her "boyfriend" Paul Dierden (Dylan Bruce) - who was Beth's BF too - is beginning to spot differences, and Helena is off her meds! Come the sixth episode and another clone, Alison Hendrix, a soccer mom is having a Pot Luck at home, but is feeling the pressure of the whole just-found-out-she's-a-clone thing!
Jordan Gavaris as Felix ("Fee") Dawkins, Sarah's gay/rent boy foster brother steals the show though each and every time he's on screen. Seriously, whoeevr cast him is a genius! Come the seventh epsiode and we go further down the rabbit hole, with another clone, Cosima Niehaus, a graduate student studying evolutionary developmental ("evo-devo") biology trying to figure out if they are different in any way. Come episode eight and Helena makes a mistake that could cost the life of someone dear to Sarah.
With the always-dependable Matt Frewer as Dr. Aldous Leekie, head of The Dyad Institute and the face of the Neolution movement; Maria Doyle Kennedy as Siobhan Sadler, "Mrs. S" to her foster children, who has acted as guardian to Kira, Sarah's daughter, while Sarah has been away; and Michael Mando as Vic, Sarah's abusive, drug-dealing ex-boyfriend, the show has angles and characters that jut into them perfectly.
Come the last two episodes and sharp turns are revealed, secrets laid out on the table, the true Head behind the hunt exposed, and come the final season-ender, a bombshell is dropped on Sarah - and a hge cliffhanger is put into place, of course! These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:
Interview with Tatiana and Set Tour from "The Nerdist"
Send in the Clones