‘Orphan Black’: This Data Finally Proves Tatiana Maslany Is The Hardest Working Actor On TV

Have you ever wondered just how often Tatiana Maslany has appeared in Orphan Black? Considering she has played multiple clones over four seasons of the show, has she technically been in the show longer than it has actually aired? This is the question that has plagued many Orphan Black fans, but now there is a definitive answer!

Thanks to some hard work by data analyst and visualizer Hannah Recht, we now know exactly how many times Tatiana has appeared in Orphan Black and whether that amount of time exceeds the airtime of the show. Hannah has deduced the following about Orphan Black‘s airtime and just how many minutes Tatiana has appeared in the show.

“There have been 40 episodes and 1,658 minutes of Orphan Black, featuring 1,599 minutes of Tatiana Maslanys.”

Tatiana Maslany stars in BBC America's Orphan Black Season 4
Hannah’s curiosity to know just how often Tatiana Maslany appears in Orphan Black indicates the show consists of only 59 minutes in which Tatiana does not appear. So how does that even work? While Tatiana appears in many scenes of Orphan Black, there are still plenty of times her characters are absent from the screen.

Considering how many characters Tatiana plays, it was not just a matter of counting how many minutes of airtime she appeared in. Tatiana regularly appears more than once in some scenes due to the fact her characters have to mingle with each other. And it isn’t just the case of Tatiana being in a scene twice as clones talk to each other, regularly she appears in scenes multiple times.

For example, remember the epic dance scene between Sarah, Helena, Cosima, Alison, Felix (Jordan Gavaris), and Kira (Skyler Wexler) in the Season 2 finale of Orphan Black? Tatiana appeared four times in the one scene. Then, in the Season 3 finale, Tatiana appeared four times as well but with five other people in the scene, making the dinner party scene one of the most difficult ever for BBC America to shoot.

As well as working out how often Tatiana Maslany appears in each episode of Orphan Black, Hannah Recht has also developed visuals. The image below shows all the times Tatiana appears in each episode. The darker the shade of grey, the higher density of clones characters present for that time frame.

BBC America's Orphan Black graph showing how often Tatiana Maslany appears
Also, as a part of her analysis, Hannah broke down each clone into airtime. You can see below just how often each clone has appeared in Orphan Black.

  • Sarah Manning: 40 episodes, 712 minutes airtime
  • Alison Hendrix: 34 episodes. 243 minutes
  • Cosima Niehaus: 39 episodes, 232 minutes
  • Helena: 30 episodes, 170 minutes
  • Rachel Duncan: 21 episodes, 115 minutes
  • Beth Childs: 6 episodes, 56 minutes
  • Veera “MK” Suominen: 6 episodes, 26 minutes
  • Krystal Goderitch: 6 episodes, 28 minutes
  • Tony Sawicki: 1 episode, 14 minutes
  • Katja Obinger: 1 episode, three minutes

According to her analysis, Hannah collected the data “using a strict, consistent, and highly enjoyable but not peer-reviewed method of rewatching every episode with a spreadsheet open and one hand on the pause button. Scene changes or other breaks less than 10 seconds were ignored. Recaps, title scenes, credits, and previews were excluded from analysis.” She also “decided to exclude home videos and corpses [i.e. Beth and Katja] because including those scenes often repeated footage and also made it appear that Beth was alive and kicking in several episodes.” As a result of this, the presence of the already deceased clone, Jennifer Fitzsimmons, was excluded from the data analysis.

Tatiana Maslany stars as Jennifer Fitzsimmons in BBC America's Orphan Black
While, arguably, the crown of hardest working actor on TV could go to Kiefer Sutherland, who played Jack Bauer in Fox’s 24. It needs to be noted that while Kiefer Sutherland appeared constantly during 24, he only played the one character. Tatiana Maslany, while not always in each scene, plays multiple characters over the course of each episode. Considering each clone from Orphan Black has its own mannerisms, accents, personalities, and looks, Tatiana certainly has a harder job portraying all those different characters within the one show.

So, come on BBC America, you have one season left of Orphan Black to have Tatiana Maslany appear in the show for more minutes than it has actually aired.

Are you excited about Season 5 of Orphan Black? Let us know by commenting below!

Season 5 of Orphan Black will return for its fifth and final season in 2017.

[Image via BBC America/Space]