Dear Fellow Members of the Clone Club:
It happened! It — finally — happened! On Sunday, Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany took home the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, and if any actress deserved the win, it’s the (very patient) Maslany. If you’re a card-carrying member of the Clone Club like myself, you already know why this trophy is a huge win. So does Maslany, who is thanking the Clone Club for our support over the years in her very grateful Emmys video.
There’s a reason the 2016 Emmys feel so rewarding for members of the Clone Club. We’ve been waiting so long for the rest of the world to recognize Maslany’s talents. Orphan Black debuted its first season in March of 2013, and it didn’t take long for new fans of the Canadian series to realize that lead actress Maslany was a force to be reckoned this. That’s because Maslany made up over half the cast of the characters on the show. In the first season alone, Maslany portrayed so many clones that, with any other actress, it would be hard to keep up with. There’s English rebel Sarah, Type-A soccer mom Alison, scientist Cosima, disturbed killer Helena, and Dyad executive Rachel — and that’s not even including the clones who make only a brief appearance on the series before being axed at the hands of the great clone conspiracy. In total, Maslany portrayed seven characters on the first season alone — and received zero Emmy nods that year for it.
As any member of the Clone Club knows well, watching Maslany in Orphan Black isn’t like watching an actress slap on different wigs: Maslany’s capability of transforming into different characters is so compelling, you might forget that the characters are played by the same person. And we know that Maslany’s magic hasn’t dampened in later seasons of the show. Instead, she’s plowed full-speed ahead, tackling new clone characters and deeper storylines. There was no doubt in my mind that Maslany would deserve an Emmy for every season of Orphan Black — though, after a history of snubs, what was surprising was that she actually took it home in 2016.
The Emmys didn’t always feel like a fair game for members of the Clone Club. That’s because the award show never seemed to pay much attention to Maslany’s incredible performance — or, rather, performances. In 2013, the Clone Club rallied around Maslany when it was announced that the actress didn’t receive an Emmy nomination for her stellar performance during the first season of Orphan Black. After portraying seven characters in one season, you would think that the Emmys would take note — but instead, they left the should-be winner off the nominee list entirely. The following year wasn’t any better for Maslany and members of the loyal Clone Club: Maslany did not receive an Emmy nod in 2014 either. Forget the clones — that had to be the real television conspiracy.
when tatiana got snubbed of her emmy noms in 2013/14 pic.twitter.com/DHOfP0ihzz
— 🌙 taylor moon (@elliotsrhapsody) August 1, 2016
Fortunately, the Emmys finally listened to the Clone Club’s battlecry for a nod for Maslany. In 2015, Maslany received her first nomination for Orphan Black, thrilling fans who assumed that, once in the category, Maslany would be able to sweep the show. That didn’t happen. Instead, How To Get Away With Murder star Viola Davis took home the Emmy. Davis certainly deserved the accolades, but considering Maslany’s history of snubs, it was yet another sting.
But that’s all in the past, because after four seasons of Orphan Black and lots of frustrated tweets from the Clone Club, Maslany has finally gotten the award that she’s long deserved. Obviously, it’s Maslany who has earned the prize — but I can’t help but think that this award is for all of the fans who tuned into Orphan Black and reminded the world of Maslany’s acting superpowers. Without the Clone Club, the world may not have recognized that Maslany’s talents were perpetually snubbed at television’s highest award show. Without the tweets, without the comments, without the passion for the show driving people to tune into Maslany’s incredible work, we may never have seen Maslany take home the trophy. It’s Maslany’s well-deserved, long-awaited prize — but for fellow members of the Clone Club, it should feel like a win for the fandom as well.
Here’s hoping the 2017 Emmys belong to Maslany, and that the world never doubts her acting prowess on this series.