But it's catching on?
It was a slow build, but the show's fans now even have their own hashtag the "#CloneClub." A bunch of media folks also jumped on the Orphan Black train. Back in May Kate Aurthur of BuzzFeed, one of the show's champions, wrote a post titled "If You Are Not Watching 'Orphan Black,' You Are Crazy." After belatedly catching up with the show in late May, The Awl's Choire Sicha began tubthumping for an Emmy for Maslany. And just last week Vulture had the showrunners Graeme Manson and John Fawcett answer reader questions and Entertainment Weekly held a "support group" for binge-watchers.
Okay, okay. What's the show about?
We'll try to be spoiler free: the story focuses on Sarah Manning, a British grifter who steals the identity of a woman she witnesses jump in front of the train. The woman happens to mysteriously look just like her. As Manning gets deeper into this woman's world, she realizes there's a reason they look alike: they are clones. Hence, star Tatiana Maslany plays a bunch of different clone characters.
So if Sarah is British and it's on BBC America does it take place in England?
Where does it take place?
That's a good question. It's never explicitly identified, but the show is shot in Toronto and doesn't obscure the license plates which say "Ontario." Some of the cast have English accents and bunch of others have American/Canadian accents. That said, in the initial episode, there's a mention of "New York," but they don't use dollars for money. So it's a bit jarring. In real life the show is a very Canadian operation, and is co-produced by the Toronto-based Temple Street Productions.
I think I can get over that. Back to this Tatiana Maslany person: Why is everyone raving about her?
Maslany is being heralded as the proverbial next big thing and she really is quite amazing. The notion that she is playing all these different characters goes away rather quickly—aside from the fact that, yes, they all have the same face. There are scenes wherein Maslany is playing two or three different clones interacting, and only after the scenes are over do you realize that Maslany was in fact talking to herself. For some of the clones the transformation is more drastic. Her Helena, a crazy Ukrainian, is obviously going to be different than her Alison, an uptight soccer mom with a North American accent. But her Alison carries herself vastly differently than her Cosima, who speaks with a Berkeley lilt.
In the Emmy race, Maslany is everyone's favorite underdog. She bested the likes of Claire Danes and Julianna Margulies at the Critics' Choice Awards. (Note the confused look on Eric Stonestreet's face in the video at that link.) Now there's a major Emmy campaign underway. Aurthur published another story in which the likes of Patton Oswalt and Damon Lindelof sang her praises.