20 best sci-fi TV shows that aren’t Star Trek

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8. Orphan Black

For the drama that Orphan Black brings, it’s a far more intriguing and serious show than its premise indicates. Wouldn’t you think that a story involving the mystery of several women who turn out to be identical clones of one another could become a bit of a soap opera?

That doesn’t mean this Canadian TV series doesn’t bring the same kind of addictive entertainment value as, say, a General Hospital or Guiding Light does. However, it does have a much higher production quality and arguably higher standard of writing than your favorite midday drama series.

Orphan Black stars Tatiana Maslany as, well, almost everyone. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, as she does have co-stars. However, she plays a regular cast of five different characters, plus a few more additional roles. Maslany starts off as Sarah Manning, a con artist who witnesses the death of Beth Childs. Traumatic, sure, but it’s made even more disturbing by the fact that Beth seems to be Sarah’s identical twin.

Sarah, being the swindler that she is, takes on Beth’s identity. That’s pretty bold, considering Beth had plenty of associates and a career as a police detective. Soon enough, Beth discovers more “twins,” eventually realizing that all of the women involved are clones. They were all born in 1984 to various women throughout North America and Europe, thanks to in vitro fertilization.

Now, imagine learning all of that, only to find out that some mysterious someone wants to murder you and your clone sisters. Because, of course, this is all part of an illegal cloning experiment and a large, insidious conspiracy. There’s also a religious cult involved, though they’ve got plenty of competition from an equally evil corporation. It’s all a good dose of espionage fiction with an especially compelling set of performances from its lead actor.