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Hanks on TV: Farewell to ‘Orphan Black’ and the performance of the decade

Last year, Tatiana Maslany won an Emmy for her performance on the BBC America series “Orphan Black.” It was very well-deserved, if four years late.

The truth is Maslany should have won every year, and it shouldn’t have even been a contest. She has delivered the performance of the decade for five seasons now, and it all comes to an end on Saturday night. (This final season premiered later than usual, so she won’t be eligible again until next year’s Emmys, and she better be up for that, too.)

The show about several clones (or “sestras,” as the psychotic Helena calls them) was one of the most inventive science fiction shows to come along since “Lost,” but would have fallen apart without Maslany. She plays the four main characters, as well as the main villain and a few other clones who have popped up from time to time.

The fact that you forget very quickly that Maslany is often acting against herself is what makes her performance so extraordinary.

Maslany often acts with a tennis ball, or a tireless stand-in. She can make audiences cheer and root for characters like Sarah and Cosima, veer from laughter to shock at the antics of Alison and Helena, or be horrified by the machinations of Rachel.

All told, Maslany has played 11 characters on the show – and who knows, there may be more in the series finale.

It’s no wonder that fans have gravitated towards this show, using the hashtag #CloneClub, while it helped put BBC America on the map (whoever decided to pick up this Canadian series has almost certainly gotten promoted).

So here’s to “Orphan Black” and its star, who will next be seen in the film “Stronger.” (Of course, anything she does after this show will be a cake walk.)

By the way, you might ask why we haven’t seen any “Orphan Black” clones, for lack of a better word, on other networks. That’s because Maslany is one of a kind.


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