“Orphan Black,” the BBC’s cult hit starring the chameleon-like Tatiana Maslany in many different guises, nabbed 719,000 viewers for its second episode of Season Two, which aired April 26. While still niche numbers, this is a good 15% increase from this season’s premiere episode, which scored 620,000 viewers.
Critics seem to agree that Maslany, who plays clones in a Toronto-set conspiracy thriller, is the reason to watch the show. In Emily Nussbaum’s terrific recent New Yorker piece, she breaks down the appeal of “Orphan Black,” and also points out that Season Two is already showing signs of thematic weakness from the latter half of Season One:
After a strong first half to its début season, during which
the episodes were universally funny and sharp and suspenseful, the show lost
its footing slightly as it approached the finale. Its conspiracy plot felt
shaggy; the pace flagged. Season 2, which began Saturday on BBC America,
continues along this line: individual scenes are terrific, but a few plotlines
strain credulity. If it weren’t for Tatiana Maslany, the show’s star, “Orphan
Black” would be just a likable-enough thriller, with Toronto local color—enough
to recommend it to a Canadaphilic sci-fi buff like me, but maybe not to you.