WTF Emmys? Where’s Tatiana Maslany’s “Orphan Black” Nomination?
Kiana Fekette | On 22, Jul 2013
If you haven’t seen Orphan Black on the BBC America, you are seriously missing some good nail-biting suspense in your life.
Appealing to science geeks, mystery junkies, romantics, conspiracy theorists, villain-lovers, action-adventurers and more, Orphan Black is a tumultuous tale focusing on one young woman named Sarah. Or, rather, several women who happen to look like Sarah. Or does Sarah look like one of them? In the first few episodes, the emergence of several clones of the same human girl is enough to make anyone’s head spin with confusion between characters and wild speculations.
The show is truly a breath of fresh air on your pixelated screen, which is normally dominated by male characters who hold all of the power/money/prestige/whatever else you may think of. While many excellent shows feature strong women, they’re almost always paired with a male counterpart; two shows that come to mind are Bones and Castle. For those who don’t know, Bones is about the everyday life and crime-solving expertise of Temperance Brennan, a socially awkward but brilliant forensic anthropologist. Her partner is Seeley Booth, a revered FBI special agent. Meanwhile, Castle is the story of the equally brilliant detective Kate Beckett … partnered with, you guessed it, a famous and wealthy man who happens to be a crime novelist.
This is definitely not the case in Orphan Black. As I powered through the season, I noticed that there were very little male actors compared to the amount of female characters dominating the screen time. In fact, while they may be essential to the plot, all of the male characters are supportive of leading actress Tatiana Maslany’s characters. Yes, Tatiana Maslany plays not only our heroic Sarah, but also each of the Sarah-like clones. So far, Sarah and the audience know of 10 clones. While actors and actresses playing their own twin on screen is far from a new development (take 1998′s The Parent Trap with Lindsay Lohan), Maslany’s transformation into each unique clone is truly spectacular. (**Spoilers Ahead!**)
Sarah, our main star, is a dedicated single mother from England looking to gain back custody of her daughter after a troubled period in her life. Her best friend and foster brother, Felix, is her hilarious and sassy sidekick through the series.
Beth, who commits suicide in the first episode, is a police detective harboring quite a large secret in her humble life. To understand the circumstances of her death, Sarah must go undercover as Beth and manages to fool everyone despite no police background…for awhile.
Perhaps the brainiest of the bunch, Cosima is a super chill chick who is fascinated with genetics. Her new friendship with a young French scientist quickly blossoms into a relationship based on passion and suspicion.
Alison isn’t to be taken lightly. While at first she seems like the typical suburban housewife, you quickly realize as the season continues that you do NOT want to piss her off. Especially if you’re her husband.
Oh, Helena. Utterly insane Helena. Brainwashed into believing she is the original and all other clones are copies of her genetic makeup, Helena feels that she must kill off each one, making her just one of the show’s antagonists.
Katja is the only one of the clones that we meet from outside of the USA/Canada. Fleeing from Germany and obviously dying from a strange illness that may or may not be genetic, she is the main reason Sarah becomes involved with finding the other clones.
Three other clones – Danielle from France, Aryanna from Italy, and Janika from Australia – are presumed dead at the start of the show, murdered by whatever force is trying to kill off the clones.
The last clone, Rachel, we meet quite late into the series and we aren’t quite sure what her story is or where her allegiance lies.
While Helena’s character is definitely the most extreme, requiring the most physical action and peculiar antics, Maslany’s talents truly shine with the subtleties of each clone. Despite Maslany playing each character, you feel as if she truly is a totally different person … just with similar physical features. It’s astounding to realize that while you watch the show, Maslany is interacting with herself, not other actresses.
Despite Maslany’s amazing performances and a gripping plot line, the show was completely snubbed during the reveal of the Emmy nominations. Sure, the show isn’t the best when it comes to writing. Perhaps, thinking positively, the board was simply too overwhelmed by the beautiful and talented Tatiana Maslany. If there is any justice left in the world, Maslany will be honored for her outstanding performance by other awarding bodies (she has already won a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series.) Meanwhile, I sit eagerly awaiting the second season that will no doubt be just as spectacular, if not more so, than the first.
Written by Kiana Fekette