Orphan Black, BBC America's superb sci-fi series starring Golden Globe nominee Tatiana Maslany, begins its highly anticipated third season on Saturday. If you've been hearing a lot about the #CloneClub and want to know whether you should jump on board, I'm here to tell you that you should -- right now.
Beginning at 2:01 a.m. Central time on Friday, April 17, Amazon will stream all 10 episodes of the first season for free, for 24 hours. That will inevitably get you hooked, so to stream the second season, you'll need to pony up for Amazon Prime (where it's available for subscribers), or buy it on Amazon, iTunes, or on good old-fashioned Blu-ray.
There's another way you can watch both the first and second seasons for free, though. If you aren't a cord-cutter and have a cable package with the IFC network, it's airing both seasons in a marathon beginning at 11 p.m. Central time Friday. That marathon runs all the way up until it's time for the season premiere, which is 8 p.m. Saturday on AMC, BBC America and WE. (You read that correctly: The season premiere is being simulcast on all three networks.)
What is Orphan Black, again?
The show, created by screenwriter Graeme Manson, stars Tatiana Maslany in multiple roles as a set of genetic clones who are fighting for their autonomy, identity and safety. We first meet Maslany as Sarah Manning, who has a chance encounter with a woman on a subway platform who looks just like her. From there, the plot takes off at lightning speed, as she discovers the other clones (and vice versa). No spoilers here, but suffice it to say that the series deals with weighty moral and ethical issues related to scientific discovery, human cloning and what constitutes intellectual property.
Four reasons why you should clear out space on your DVR and make this happen:
Maslany is an absolute marvel. She is so adept at playing all her different roles, you forget that she is just one actor. With many series, you have to see an actor's body of work play out over time to really appreciate it. With Orphan Black, you get a sense of Maslany's immense talent immediately.
Dude clones! Season three brings about the male clones of Project Castor. Ari Millen was admirably creepy in season two as Mark Rollins, former member of the Prolethean religious sect. It's going to be exciting to see what he does with multiple roles.
It's sci-fi for people who think they don't like sci-fi. There are those of us out there who have fallen into the thinking that sci-fi refers to shows and movies about outer space or dystopian, post-apocalyptic nightmarescapes. That is not true, and this show is a great jumping-off point to get into the genre.
You can fight with your friends over which clone is your favorite. The correct answer is obviously Helena, but Alison is also acceptable. Cosima is pretty great too. Gah, see? I'm arguing with myself about it. Just watch it. Helena wishes you would.