Tatiana Maslany as main clone Sarah. Credit: Steve Wilkie for BBC America
“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never heard of it and, oh, it also depends almost entirely on one actress creating performances powerful enough to carry the whole show. No, not in the Kerry Washington in "Scandal" sense, but in the literal sense that it’s a show about clones, and star Tatiana Maslany plays the three main characters — and the villain! — this season. (She played something like seven different people last season.)
But “Orphan,” returning this Saturday on BBC America, has managed to gain quite a bit of traction, with early adopters like comedian Patton Oswalt talking it up on Twitter. Maslany even nabbed a Golden Globe nomination, which is nearly unheard of for a so-called genre show. “I think that the real turning point was going to Comic Con last year. We were very happy to see that after the show finished airing that the fan response continued to grow,” says Graeme Manson, the show’s co-creator and executive producer.
The show’s fans, who have dubbed themselves the Clone Club, have much to look forward to this season — Manson promises plenty of “crazy clone shenanigans.” The main theme of the season? “We are stronger together,” according to Manson. Is that a reference to the core trio of clones: con artist Sarah, upbeat scientist Cosima and perfect housewife Alison?
“A triangle always flips and is constantly tested. From the beginning [co-creator] John Fawcett and I had the idea that Sarah’s our hero, but we have sort of a triumvirate or trinity that is a core sisterhood,” says Manson.
“One of the things I’m most excited about in Season 2 is peeling back the layers of Rachel, our new 'proclone' who we introduced at the end of last season,” Manson says, adding that “Tatiana really does a fabulous job with her.” Expect what he called “a Sarah/Rachel war” to provide more details about Sarah and even Rachel herself.
And lest you get too concerned about the much-beloved Cosima, last seen dramatically coughing up blood, Manson says she’s his favorite clone. Wait, that means she’s going to be OK, right?
For more Orphan Black coverage, check out our interview with Jordan Gavaris about what will happen with Felix this season.
Follow Lisa Weidenfeld on Twitter at @LisaWeidenfeld.