‘Orphan Black: Echoes’ review: Krysten Ritter stars in new AMC series that sends the clones back

Sophie Giraud/AMC

Krysten Ritter stars in AMC’s Orphan Black: Echoes.



CNN

Cloning is a pretty good metaphor for one of the main methods used to popularize TV shows these days, but “Orphan Black: Echoes” at least tries to differentiate itself from its predecessor, which lasted five seasons and delivered an Emmy Award-winning run for a TV series. Tatiana Maslany. Starring Krysten Ritter, AMC’s new series packs its share of flops without having the DNA to unleash another clone army.

The series adopts a somewhat tighter focus, taking place in the year 2052, with Lucy (Ritter, aka Marvel). “Jessica Jones”) escapes from a facility where she appears to have been completely resurrected from some sort of pink ooze with no memory of who she is, only telling her that she underwent a “procedure.”

Fast forward, and after her escape she finds a measure of normalcy in the outside world with Jack (Avan Jogia) and his teenage daughter (Zarella Langford Houghton).

Unfortunately, the secrets don’t stay buried in the sci-fi drama, and Lucy is discovered by scientist Dr. Keira Manning (Keeley Hawes), who has “imprinted” her, while she is pursued by agents who force her, as Lucy says, “to find out who I am to protect who I am.” Doing so raises a lot of questions about her past identity, who is responsible for this complex (and illegal) technology and what the mysterious “they” behind it want from her.

The answers are somewhat unexpected, including those regarding teenager Jules (Amanda Fix), who is also reluctantly drawn into the plot. Details gradually unfold over the course of the 10-episode season, while providing emotional gravitas that lends some welcome depth to the characters, which include the obligatory billionaire (a suitably creepy James Hiroyuki Liao) who champions Manning’s work but whose motives remain suspect.

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Sophie Giraud/AMC

Keeley Hawes plays the scientist behind the “printing” clone in Orphan Black: Echoes.

As mentioned, while “Orphan Black” has enjoyed a loyal cult following, it has even developed its own hashtag moniker “Clone Club” The narrative twists become less engaging over time, a trap that “Echoes” mostly avoids, at least when it rolls off the assembly line.

However, inevitably the concept of cloning has a way of diluting drama, as variations on the theme involve multiple versions of the same identity (HBO takes it upon themselves “The west” comes to mind) was discovered, mostly the hard way.

The new series is written by Anna Fishko (“Fear the Walking Dead”), who produced the series alongside original series co-creator John Fawcett, and does a good job of threading the needle in terms of providing a connection to the series of the same name while creating a separate series. A collection of dangers and characters that stand alone. However, Ritter’s role is not as overtly flashy as Maslany’s, which is what largely defined that series.

More broadly, AMC has also found a fertile place in the genre realm, with the Anne Rice series “Interview with the Vampire” Its acquisition of “Snowpiercer” and now this show to help flesh out the “Walking Dead”-heavy lineup.

This isn’t an unconditional agreement to send out clones, but it’s tasked with giving “Orphan Black” an updated genetic makeover that “Echoes” credibly handles what is, however relatable, a difficult and complex procedure.

Orphan Black: Echoes will premiere on June 23 at 10pm ET on AMC, BBC America and AMC+.

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