Orphan BlackAre you watching Orphan Black? 

I’m not sure if we’re friendshind in the US, but on BBC America we’re midway through Season Two.  I’ll try to do this post without spoilers – but oh my goodness, there are so many plot twists, it is challenging!

Here’s the basic brief: a top-secret experiment created clones, who grew up unaware of their origins.  Now things are … complicated.

And, oh – the names!  At the beginning of season two, we’ve met nine clones, plus the characters surrounding each of them, and a few others have been mentioned briefly.

It’s easy to be dismissive of sci fi as a source of name inspiration.  For every space age oddity or out-there invention, there are lots of names that just plain work.  Think of Joss Whedon, arguably one of the best namers in television.

If Xander and Willow can come from a television show about vampires, what could come from a series about clones?

The Clones

Each of the clones grew up separately, and while they’re all played by the super-talented Tatiana Maslany, they have their own backstories and quirks.

Alison – The suburban soccer mom version.

Aryanna – The Italian clone.

Cosima – The science geek.

Danielle – The Paris-born clone.

Elizabeth, Beth – The cop – whose suicide sets the events of the series in motion.

Helena – Raised by nuns in a Ukrainian orphanage, and a villain early days.

Janika – Originally from Austria.

Jennifer – Cosima finds video of Jennifer, an American-born clone.

Katja – The German clone – we only meet her briefly.

Rachel – The clone we meet at the end of the first season.

Sarah – Streetwise Sarah is the clone at the center of everything.

The Others: Women from Orphan Black

Amelia – A woman from Sarah’s past, one who ties Sarah and Helena together.

Astrid – A blonde assistant to Olivier.

Aynsley – The equally Stepford-esque neighbor to Alison in the ‘burbs.

Bonnie – At first glance, she’s as wholesome as her name implies.

Delphine – A scientist and girlfriend to Cosima.  Cosima calls her Delphi – like the oracle.

Gemma – Alison’s daughter.

Gracie – Daughter to Henrik and Bonnie.

Kira – Sarah’s daughter, the child she’ll do anything to protect.  It’s a fascinating name choice – spelled Ciara, it can come from the Irish – black, dark.  But it can also tie to Cyrus – far-sighted – or the Italian Chiara – from Clara, light.

Leda – Not a character, but the name of the project that may be responsible for the clones.

Meera – One of Alison’s neighbors in the ‘burbs.

Siobhan – The foster mother of Sarah and Felix, usually referred to as Mrs. S.

The Others: Men from Orphan Black

Aldous – How’s this for a genius name?  The head of the Dyad Institute of all things biotech is a scientist named Aldous, as in Huxley, as in Brave New World.

Arthur – The police detective partner of Beth.  He’s both brave and loyal – and very deserving of his name.

Cal – Someone from Sarah’s past.  No word – yet – on whether Cal is short for something.

Carlton – Someone from Mrs. S.’s past.

Felix – Sarah’s foster brother and tireless ally.

Henrik – I want to like this spin on Henry, but Henrik is not exactly a likable character.

Olivier – One of the Dyad Institute’s henchmen.  We eventually learn that Olivier Duval is an assumed name – he was born plain Kevin.

Oscar – Alison’s son.

Paul – Beth’s boyfriend, and a big part of the story.

Raj – A tech at the police headquarters who helps Sarah early days.

Are you watching Orphan Black?  Which names are your favorites?  Are there other television shows with great names that should be profiled?

Image via FanPop

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. I have yet to watch this, though I enjoy the ads on BBC America 🙂 I generally LOVE these British tv shows, but I’ve been on a bit of a British hiatus (well, except for our reruns of Midsomer Murders and Rosemary and Thyme – by the way, I always love the names on the British shows).

    We have a tv show that I’m excited for the 2nd season of called The Bridge. It’s an American remake of some European tv show. It would be interesting to compare the names of characters for some sort of thing like this, either an American show that was redone in another country or of a show from another country that was redone in America – or even just whichever two countries (I realized sometimes I watch a show that’s been redone in Britain from Sweden or something).

    I couldn’t tell you the names of ANY characters though. I can describe the characters but don’t remember any of their names from last year. It’s incredibly dark, by the way, so I don’t recommend it to just anyone.

    I love a lot of the names of these Orphan Black characters (cool name for a tv show, also). Especially seeing Henrik. Too bad he’s a villain. Neat to include Aldous like that, I rather like it but don’t think it’s usable again yet. Here anyway. I was also very happy to see Delphine – love it. Leda was my favorite of all. I’ve been so in love with it lately when I hear it.

    1. Agreed, Dellitt – it was when I got to the episode that first mentioned Leda that I started drafting this post! Though Aldous is probably my favorite reference …

      The Bridge looks interesting, and oh the name swaps necessary – Saga became Sonya!

  2. Oscar and Gemma are Allison’s adopted kids not Beth’s and Meera and Aynsley are Allison’s neighbors not Beth’s.

  3. Love this show, love the names. I’m two weeks behind atm, but I love the names Cosima and Felix. I have also always liked the name Sarah, but since I know dozens of Sarahs I kind of felt meh about it for a while…but this show makes me love it again! Delphine is also such a lovely name, as is Helena. I’m also partial to Jennifer and am glad to see it on the show; it’s a great name!