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Orphan Black back Saturday on BBC America

Posted: April 17, 2014 at 2:51 a.m.

BBC America’s Orphan Black stars Tatiana Maslany as Sarah and Michiel Huisman as Cal. Season 2 arrives at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Every now and then a new TV series sneaks in under my radar and I have to play catchup. Too many channels; not enough hours in the day.

That was the case with the Canadian series Orphan Black. Thanks to a number of readers asking when the series would return, I’ve been able to check it out and find it oddly compelling.

Season 2 of Orphan Black debuts at 8 p.m. Saturday on BBC America. The 10 episodes promise to be “powerful and shock-filled.”

Orphan Black is labeled a science fiction conspiracy thriller. It centers on Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany, Heartland), who assumes the identity of her clone, police Detective Beth Childs, after witnessing Beth’s suicide.

The series’ underlying premise deals with the ethical aspects of human cloning and its effect on the individual.

In Season 1, Sarah learned not only were she and Beth clones, but there were other clones just like them. Sinister, nefarious factions were at work determined to capture them all.

Sarah forged an alliance with her sister clones Alison Hendrix (a soccer mom) and bisexual science graduate student Cosima Niehaus. Together they’ve been fighting for their freedom and the safety of their loved ones.

For the record, the 28-yearold Maslany has also played clones Rachel Duncan, Helena and others. She recently told Entertainment Weekly her favorite clone to play is Rachel, who will have a major role in the new season.

“She’s not as open as any of the other clones,” Maslany says. “I think that puts people off at first, and it puts me off, too. It makes it hard [for me] to get into her, but in a great way. Somebody who blocks that much, who withholds that much, always has, like a swamp somewhere in here, so it’s fun to play with that.”

As Season 2 opens, Sarah is on the run. It’s a frantic race to find her missing daughter Kira (Skyler Wexler, Carrie), and foster mother, Mrs. S(Maria Doyle Kennedy, Downton Abbey). That brings Sarah to a confrontation with the ruthless Rachel, a powerful member of the Dyad Institute.

Meanwhile, Sarah rejoins her clone sisters Alison and Cosima “as they struggle to keep their clone world a secret and pick up the pieces of their broken lives - all while dealing with the harsh reality that no one around them can be trusted.”

Joining this season is Nashville’s Michiel Huisman as Cal Morrison, “a resourceful outdoorsman with a sixth sense about people and situations.”

Also new is Kevin Hanchard (Suits) as Detective Art Bell, the former partner of the dead clone Beth. He gets sucked into the secret clone world.

Does all this sound complicated? Maybe so, but the cult followers of the series believe it’s worth it.

Apres Letterman. By now you’ve probably heard that CBS has tapped Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert as David Letterman’s Late Show replacement when Letterman retires next year.

Tons of readers (OK, only two) want to know what I think about that.

I think it’s a brilliant choice. Playing the same clueless character on The Daily Show then The Colbert Report (pronounced cole-BARE ruh-pore), the South Carolina native has shown a genius for comedy, wit, timing and rapport with the audience.

Rest easy, Arkansas. Colbert will be hosting Late Show as himself, not his imperious, nescient, narcissistic conservative pundit Comedy Central character he patterned on Bill O’Reilly.

Is he good? In nine years on the job, Colbert has won four Emmys and two Peabody Awards. He is a master of satire.

What has been the reaction to CBS’ decision? The Associated Press reports that Letterman was very pleased. O’Reilly labeled Colbert “one of the biggest mouthpieces for the progressive movement, … playing exclusively to other believers,” and vein-popping radio host Rush Limbaugh bloviated that “CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America.”

It’s going to be fun.

She’s baaack. Former Today show host Jane Pauley, 63, is joining CBS News to occasionally contribute stories to the Sunday Morning broadcast. Look for her in a few weeks.

It’s baaack. TV Land is planning to reboot Candid Camera. The hidden camera reality series ran on TV in one form or another for 50 years. Ten episodes will air this summer.

They’re baaack. D’oh! Cable’s FXX (the former Fox Soccer Channel, now targeting males ages 18 to 34) plans to run all 552 episodes of The Simpsons in a back-to-back marathon telecast this summer. The Simpsons saturation will begin Aug. 21 and run straight into Labor Day.

Not baaack. Barbara Walters will make her last scheduled appearance on The View on May 16. She’ll remain with the program as executive producer.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email: mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Weekend, Pages 30 on 04/17/2014

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