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Orphan Black: Season 2 (Blu-ray)
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Orphan Black: Season Two (BBC/Blu-ray)
Season two of Orphan Black hits the ground running with Sarah (Tatiana Maslany, Picture Day, Parks and Recreation) in a desperate race to find her missing daughter Kira (Skyler Wexler, Carrie). Her scorched earth tactics spark a war with pro-clone, Rachel (Maslany), dividing and imperiling all the clones. As Sarah discovers more about her past, mysterious newcomers appear, but can they be trusted?]]>
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I'm not sure exactly where the series is headed - and that's a good thing. The reason: The problem with many contemporary television programs, in my opinion, is that after a season of surprises subsequent seasons begin to get predictable. It's as though the writers have run out of ideas and are only continuing the program because they have a network deal and contract obligations to fulfill. This is not the case - at least so far - with "Orphan Black." Season 2 contained at least as many surprises as the first season and perhaps a few more. A transgender "sister?" A killer who is good with children? A little girl who seems almost too good to be true? A much younger "sister?" A parallel experiment with men instead of women? Reunions, bar fights, kidnappings... this season has all that and more; full of fresh ideas, push-the-envelope story lines, and terrific acting not only by series star Tatiana Maslany but the rest of the cast as well add up to a wonderful bloc of episodes.
One quick note: Although the nominal heroine of the series is Sarah Manning, I have to say that her "sister" Helena is rapidly becoming my favorite clone. Granted, she's homicidal and as unstable as a bowl of Jell-O, but she is also vulnerable and endearing in many ways. She reminds me a lot of Helen King, the protagonist in novelist Sharon Brownlie's book "Betrayal," because when she is wronged she goes after those that have harmed her with a take-no-prisoners fierceness that is rarely seen on television. Add to that the fact that Maslany has an almost uncanny ability to portray her as something more than a homicidal maniac and you have a character that is unique in television programming.
The verdict: A great season that is probably even better than the first.
It's said that Spencer Tracy once appeared on stage in a play where he was supposed to be stranded on a desert island in the second act and he "acted" unkempt and unshaven to the point where people wondered how he got his make-up done that quickly. Tatiana Maslany accomplishes something similar. Cosima is thinner and prettier than the other clones. Helena is thicker and more solid. Alison is the most petite. Sarah taller. And then there's Tony.
Orphan Black is not just a one woman show, however. Jordan Gavaris is wonderful as her "brother" Felix, supportive to all the clones and never complaining as he takes a back seat to the force of nature that is Sarah Manning. The other supporting actors, too, are always interesting, whether it's Mrs. S proving again and again that she's hiding much more than she's ever revealed or Detective Bell learning just how little he actually knew about Beth Childs.
A typical episode might have Cosima dying from a genetic disorder, Sarah being chased by murderous assassins, Helena being tortured by religious fanatics and Alison . . . Alison organizing visitation day in rehab or supplying the proper refreshments for her kids' soccer practice. The fact that all 4 story lines are equally compelling is a sign of the quality of the show's writing and production. This is must see TV.
Top international reviews
This is a British region two dvd release, so it will work fine on all uk dvd players.
Despite the usual 'previously on' at the start of each episode, this is a show that has already built up a lot of back story and exposition, and there's nothing here to bring new viewers up to speed, so they should start with season one.
Those who have watched that can read on.
Picking up from where that left off, Sarah is desperate to find Kira. Rachel has her own agendas. Alison's world is coming apart. And Cosima isn't well. Who can anyone trust? An old friend? And what about the new players who are getting involved? Secrets will come to light...
Still very solid drama. With amazing acting from Tatjana Maslany in all the lead roles as before. And some superbly done black humour. But this season is just slightly down on the first, because some of the novelty has now worn off. And since it's year two of a five year run, the plotting does get a bit involved at times and it's hard to see where some of it is going.
But take nothing away from the show, because this remains a wholly original and brilliantly acted and very intriguing creation. So you will want to see where it goes next.
The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:
The only extra is on disc three, which is a thirteen minute long overview of the season. One of those usual features with cast and crew and clips. It does start with more depth than these things usually have before slipping into a familiar pattern, but it's not a bad watch and worth a look.
Felix continues to steal every scene he appears in, but when Maslany is channelling comic-relief character Alison Hendrix, she comes very close to stealing it back again.
Very watchable and moves the story on effectively, while setting up the inevitable Season 3 confrontations.
The delightful mix of drama and humour put me in mind of the better Doctor Who moments.
So...I was well pleased with this second series DVD , and await series 3 with growing anticipation!