BBC America has already become an important part of many Americans' cable plans with reruns of series like "Battlestar Galactica" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation." But the cable channel is making a jump into genre original series in a big way, partnering with Canada's Space for a new production that executives say will turn science-fiction on its ear.
"Orphan Black" begins production in Toronto this fall and centers around what BBCA calls the "mysterious life of a street-wise chameleon, who makes the shocking discovery that she is a clone." The series, which will have a first season of 10 episodes, likely won't premiere until the beginning of 2013, but is expected to become both a part of BBCA's "Supernatural Saturdays" as well as taking a key spot on Space's schedule as well.
"Orphan Black" will be a "genre game-changer," said Perry Simon, general manager of channels for BBC Worldwide America, in a release. "Move over zombies -- send in the clones."
The series was created by both Graeme Manson and John Fawcett. Manson is a Canadian writer involved in shows like "End Game," "Flashpoint" and "Rent-A-Goalie." Of the shows, "Flashpoint" is probably the program best-known to American audiences as it aired on CBS in the summer, but will air its final season on the basic cable channel Ion.
Fawcett is a well-known television director for series that are popular in both Canada and the United States, including "Space Cases," "Xena: Warrior Princess," "Blade: The Series," "The Secret Circle" and several episodes of "Lost Girl," which airs in the United States on Syfy.
Manson will write the pilot, while Fawcett will direct.
Toronto's Temple Street Productions will take on the workload to produce the series, getting considerable experience with its involvement in shows like "Being Erica" and "Queer as Folk."
After witnessing a woman's suicide, Sarah assumes the stranger's identity -- which helps since the victim happens to look a lot like her. Expecting to solve all her problems by cleaning out the dead woman's savings, Sarah is instead thrust headlong into a kaleidoscopic mystery as she realizes the truth -- she and the dead woman are clones, according to a release.
Sarah finds out she's not alone, with other clones like her planted with unsuspecting birth parents, and nurtured in completely different environments. She has to figure out who created them and why -- at least before an assassin completes his task of killing all the clones one by one.
Casting for the series is expected to take place this summer.
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