A Conversation with Orphan Black Showrunner Graeme Manson

Orphan Black logo

Orphan Black is the story of a woman who watches herself die.

Wait, that’s not quite it.

Orphan Black is the story of a mother struggling to connect with her child. Or is that two mothers? Or three? Four mothers? Two Children? Hm.

Orphan Black is the story of eight clones, living together, under one roof… No, wait, that’s also wrong.

Developed for television by Graeme Manson and John Fawcett and airing on BBC America in the US, and Space in Canada, Orphan Black explores questions of choice, identity, free will, technological progress and freedom and belief, in a setting and with a cast which make every beat intense and every conversation as terse, or endearing, or incredulously aware of itself as it needs to be. Orphan Black is a story that asks the question, “What would you do if you knew, in your heart, in your mind, in your very being, that you were unique, original, you… and then found out that you weren’t quite as you as you thought you were?”

I recently got the opportunity to have a talk with head writer and co-showrunner Graeme Manson about the philosophical concepts, world events, and other wells from which he draws in order to craft the arc or Orphan Black‘s story. Why don’t we let him tell you what it’s all about:

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Your Weekend Justice #84: Who’s Hoofing Who?

Oh for crying out loud. Not another one! Yes, another one. It’s Weekend Justice: the podcast that doesn’t owe you an explanation and won’t split the cost of the appetizer with you. This podcast was engineered–some might say over-engineered–by experts to escort you from the work week in the most chaotic manner possible. Please note: this podcast is profane, definitely oversexed and definitely overwrought. It is wrong and unsafe. You have been warned.

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Whitey from Power Pack

Agenda:

Weekend Justice #0: The Return

Cocoon the Return DVD cover art

We’re back. All will be explained. Okay, no, not really.

Sound quality sucks, because we’re figuring this conference call crap out still. I think I’ve figured out for next time. So don’t beat me up too badly. Consider this a pilot that is planning on going to series. Shot with no budget.

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Here’s the agenda:

  • The Strike Update by Tuffley, with interruptions by ScottC, who wants Law & Order and sex crimes
  • Rob Levy reveals how Lionel Richie spelled the doom of the Grammys, long, long ago. He also brings up the prospect of combining the Grammys with American Gladiators. And knife fighting.
  • General Oscar discussion.
  • Javier Bardem vs. Hal Holbrook
  • The Assassination of Jesse James…
  • General bitching about the score of There Will Be Blood being ineligible
  • David Cronenberg messes with Widge’s head with Eastern Promises
  • David Lynch messes with everyone’s head. Everyday.
  • Tuffley reveals that married people are kinkmonsters
  • Rob is depressed by Torchwood. Okay, pretty much everyone is depressed by Torchwood. But it is on DVD.
  • BBC America chops shows to bits for commercials. But this is not news.
  • General discussion of Ashes to Ashes, the Life on Mars spinoff
  • General fear of the Americanized Life on Mars, which is more than likely dead now
  • Rob makes a startling prediction about Doctor Who
  • General ribbing of Ben Kingsley, for being in a string of shitty films
  • Rob needlessly warns you away from a Matthew McConaughey film
  • Discussion of the new art film western sub-genre
  • Everyone’s picks for your weekend
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    From Somewhere: I’ve Written My Own Monologue

    New year, same rules: Stuff Happens and I bring the smarm. Let the sniping begin!

    Radiohead-In-Rainbows-cover

    Radiohead topped the charts with the physical retail release of In Rainbows which was released in North America via a licensing agreement between the band and Dave Matthews-owned ATO Records. The main difference between the CD release and the download release back in October is that you will most likely not be able to name your own price for the CD. Although that’s never really stopped anyone from trying that tact at Best Buy.

    In Rainbows actually charted a week earlier due to some retailers breaking the original January 1st street date to reportedly protest the earlier online stunt. ATO is currently mulling its options for a response–including delaying when those same retail outlets get the upcoming new Dave Matthews Band album. Which kind of works out, since most of DMB’s remaining fans will likely “name their own price” for it anyway.
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