DVD Review: Orphan Black Season 1

Orphan Black Season One DVD boxSTUDIO: BBC/Warner | CREATORS: John Fawcett and Graeme Manson | CAST: Tatiana Maslany, Dylan Bruce, Jordan Gavaris, Kevin Hanchard, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Michael Mando
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 7/16/2013 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $34.98
BONUSES: featurettes
SPECS: Not rated | 450 min. | Science-fiction thriller | 16:9 aspect ratio | Dolby Digital 5.1 audio | English SDH subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): TV Show | Audio | Video | Overall

Orphan BlackBBC’s Orphan Black is a smart and original thriller, with a nice touch of science-fiction.

Tatiana Maslany (The Vow) stars as Sarah, a hustler who’s come back into town after a year away to get back her daughter and start a new life. Even though she’s trying to start a new life with money stolen from her drug dealing ex-boyfriend (Michael Mando, The Pregnancy Project).

When she witnesses a woman who looks identical to her commit suicide, Sarah sees an opportunity to take over this woman’s much wealthier life. But in doing so, she finds herself in trouble with the police, dealing with a boyfriend and in the middle of a strange and dangerous mystery when she starts meeting more women who look just like her.

What’s going on isn’t spilled until the third episode, but it’s pretty much outed by the show’s tag line on the DVD box: “A clone is never alone.” And Maslany does a great job as British Sarah, German Katia, soccer mom Alison, scientist Cosima and on and on.

The episodes keep the mysteries coming, as well as the clones. Creators John Fawcett (TV’s Rookie Blue) and Graeme Manson (TV’s Endgame) keep the stakes high with murders, police closing in on Sarah, the threat of Sarah’s daughter being taken away, and a killer clone, as well as the What the hell is going on with the clones? question.

Produced in Canada, the television series doesn’t have too many faces that will be recognizable, although Tudors fans will remember Maria Doyle Kennedy as Catherine and Eureka fans will know Matt Frewer. Still, the acting is uniformly good, including relative newcomer Jordan Gavaris, who plays one of my favorite Orphan Black characters: the charismatic Felix Dawkins.

The Orphan Black: Season One DVD contains all 10 episodes, and they’ll leave you wanting more. The disc also has a handful of special features that are mainly promotional pieces.

My favorite is the interview with Tatiana and set tour from “The Nerdist.” Maslany visited the show and hung out with Lord of the Rings‘ Dominic Monaghan, then the show offers up a fun set tour that ends with Gavaris in the toilet.

Featurette “Send in the Clones” shows footage with Maslany playing all the different parts before they’re put together to create one scene, and Maslany and others talk about their characters in a collection of “Insider Vignettes.”

Finally, there’s a making-of featurette in which Fawcett and Manson talk about the creation of Orphan Black.

We’ve looking forward to more.

Buy or Rent Orphan Black: Season One
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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.