In season four, award-winning Orphan Black will achieve what it set out to do
A clone is never alone. That’s the tagline of award-winning sci-fi series Orphan Black. It’s as eerie, and disturbing as it can get, but it aptly sums up the premise of the BBC-backed show. Here, con artiste Sarah Manning, played by actress Tatiana Maslany, discovers not two, three but seven clones of herself popping up across North America and Europe. And the chilling fact that someone wants to kill them all.
It’s not just the acting prowess of Maslany, who plays a con artiste, detective, a soccer mom, a bisexual student, an assassin, a businesswoman and a criminal, and a new clone named MK in season four with absolute distinctiveness, but also the technical feat, and edgy writing that has earned the show a cult following, and even ‘Clone Clubs’. The credit goes to creators John Fawcett, and Graeme Manson. While Fawcett is known for films like Ginger Snaps, and The Dark, the fellow Canadian Manson co-wrote the 1997 film Cube. And while Tatiana has had a considerable run on TV, she tasted true success with her Orphan Black stint, and won Emmy and Golden Globe nominations too.
The idea of a “high concept, sci-fi show”, which is ahead from the league of undead zombie, or cheesy clone-ridden flicks, took a long time coming. Manson, who worked with Fawcett on the 2001 film Lucky Girl, shares, “It goes back to 2001, when John and I wanted to make a feature sci-fi film that was neither too futuristic, nor too far from the reality. One day, that’s after many months, John came up with a line. It was about a girl who gets down from a bus, sees a woman who looks like her across the street, their eyes meet, and the double commits suicide (This became Episode No 1).”
The duo “was hooked”. While Fawcett was interested in the technical challenges the premise threw at him, Manson wanted to explore the ‘nature versus nurture’ issue. The age-old debate questions whether the traits exhibited by the clones are a result of their divergent upbringings, or DNA structure.
By Fawcett’s admission, shooting finale episodes have been particularly complicated. On the other hand, Manson finds the exercise of fixing schedules challenging, as he explains, “We are majorly shooting with one actor. We have to be careful about not putting Tatiana too many times in one episode. Then, we also have to do tricks with the techno-dolly camera.”
What can the Orphan Black fans expect from the new instalment, we ask. Fawcett says, “In season one, a lot of work was done in setting up the world of clones, and the broad mystery around them. As we hit season four, we will dig deeper into that mystery, and push towards finding big answers. So concepts, such as neolution, that we had set in motion in previous seasons will come to fruition in this one.”
April 24, 11 pm on AXN
— Barkha Kumari