How would you feel if you woke up one day and discovered that you are not as unique in the world as you thought? Instead of being a one of a kind, it turns out your a clone, and you have no idea how many other ‘you’s are out there. This is the basic premise of the Canadian science fiction show Orphan Black airing on Space and BBC America.
Clones were a big deal in science fiction in the 1970s, lots of movies, lots of books, and even a throwaway line tossed into Star Wars about Obi-Wan fighting with Luke’s father in the Clone Wars. Clones still show up from time to time-there was a clone episode on Star Trek The Next Generation and there have been a couple of sober and depressing films. The Island and Never Let Me Go were about clones as spare parts and Code 46 was about the dangers of having sex with yourself.
Orphan Black tells the story of a poor dumb cockney girl with a drug dealer boyfriend and a collection of cliches super gay brother. The story opens with our hero watching helplessly as a woman kills herself before her eyes. Seeing as the woman no longer needs her purse, our hero takes it. She then discovers that the dead woman looks a lot like her. The dead woman has a much better place to live and a lot of money, so our homeless hero decides to assume the dead woman’s identity-at least long enough to steal everything she can.
Then we start to met the clones. In short order we met six clones, with hints of many more floating around here or there. Someone is trying to kill them off and the pieces of the mystery are slowly added among the more mundane story lines dealing with police work, personal relationships, and the wildly different fashion tastes of the different clones.
One of the nice things about a clone story is that you don’t need a lot of high tech special effects that look like high tech special effects. There is some camera work as the same actress plays two or three people in one shot, but the real differences are small things like one clone wearing glasses, one having colored hair, and one wearing nicer clothes.
Orphan Black is a fun show, but where do we go once they find out who made them?