Bittersweet news from BBC America: Orphan Black has been renewed for another season, but it will be the series’ last. BBC America has commissioned 10 more episodes from Temple Street Productions, set to air in 2017. While five seasons was always creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson’s endgame, it’s still difficult to fathom not seeing Sarah, Cosima, Helena, Alison, and the rest of the Clone Club on our television screens.
I didn’t realize until I was writing up this article, but Fawcett and Manson went on the record in 2015 that they had always planned Orphan Black to be five seasons. Which makes sense, considering that their original version of the story was a movie. At the time, Fawcett told E! News:
The series is mapped to a large degree, in that there is always room to move and work organically, but we are working towards a five season story. We will arrive at some kind of end destination by the end of season five.
I think we want to wrap this story up by the end of season five. And then if there are still a lot of fans and a lot of desire to see this show after that, I think there would be some reinvention necessary or some kind of new spin. I don’t know what that is or could be. I’m not really thinking about that right now, I’m just thinking about trying to get this story told in five seasons.
To be honest, it’s admirable of the creators to stick to their original plan. Plenty of other TV shows have suffered narratively from being stretched out for too many seasons. While 10 seems like such a small number, we’ve seen the show do amazing things in the span of one season. We can only hope that tonight’s season 4 finale will set up a twisty, thrilling race to the Neolution endgame. (Or, you know, go full Dollhouse and jump forward into a dystopian future where Toronto is populated by Leda and Castor clones pitted against genetically-modified super soldiers or whatever Evie Cho is trying to accomplish.)
The press release included good cheer all around, with BBC America President Sarah Barnett saying:
Orphan Black is a thrilling, genre-bending ride that has captured our fans’ imaginations and hearts like no other show. Our genius team of actors, writers and producers have, time after time, taken us to a place of awe, delight and utter shock and surprise. Tatiana has been and continues to be a complete revelation, hers is one of the most remarkable performances on television, and she is joined by an extraordinary cast. We can’t wait to take our incredibly passionate audience on one final gobsmacking clone adventure.
I like the sound of “gobsmacking”! Fawcett and Manson chimed in:
We are excited to deliver an epic conclusion to the tale of Sarah and her clone sisters. The past four seasons have been a phenomenal adventure and we are eternally grateful to our loyal fans who have loved the twists and thrills of our weird little show. We are thankful to our partners at Temple Street, and to BBC America and Space for their support and giving us the opportunity to end on a high.
For all that the show will end on a narrative high note, it will be tough to lose 8 of the most dynamic, infuriating, hilarious, and captivating female characters on television, though no doubt Tatiana Maslany will have no trouble finding work (though whether it’s as landmark a role as this is hard to say). It’s gonna feel so weird to see her playing only one person onscreen at a time.
Nothing left to do but to experience all the feels with our sestras: