Monday, August 26, 2013

Netflix continues to churn out original series building upon its portfolio to rival those of cable channels like HBO and AMC.  Their latest offering is Orange is the New Black which like their other original series was release in its entirety on July 11, 2013.  The series was created by Jenji Kohan (Weeds) based off of the memoirs of Piper Kerman whose title is the same as the Netflix series.  The 13 episode series may draw similarities to HBO's Oz, but as the inmates so kindly points out in the beginning of this series.  Litchfield Correctional Facility isn't Oz.

Orange is the New Black contains less of the drama than Oz with much more laughs.  What it does have in common besides being set in a prison is high quality seasoned actors including Laura Prepon (70s Show), Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek Voyager) and Jason Biggs (American Pie).  The main focus of the series though is Piper Chapman played by Taylor Schilling (Mercy).  

Piper Chapman who plays your typical yuppie Caucasian ends up in minimum security facility over her adventurous lesbian relationship with drug cartel employee Alex Vause (Laura Prepon) in her early adult years.  She helped Alex moved drugs back then and is outed by her ten years later and they wind up in the same correctional facility.  Part of the humor as well as drama is Piper dealing with her relationship with her fiancé Larry Bloom played by Jason Biggs as well as the many characters in the prison including inmates, correction officers and administrators.  It's your typical fish out of water story, but so well done, you'll find yourself binge watching the series.

Like Oz and I guess most shows with such large ensemble casts, each episode gives you a look into the past of one of the inmates on the series that is featured on that episode.  From the transgender fireman to the weed farmer, each has a sad tale of what led to be incarcerated.  One of the funniest characters in the series is not an inmate but Officer George "Pornstache" Mendez played hilariously by Pablo Schreiber (The Wire, Lights Out).  His character is a bit more over the top than the rest, more cartoonish you could say which adds to the humor of him.

One of my favorite episode is the "chicken" episode in which Piper in the beginning of the episode spots a chicken on the grounds of the correctional facility.  This is quite unusual, and the chicken quite coveted with its own legend.  "Red" the head chef (Kate Mulgrew) who is in inmate as well once the chicken for a fresh meal.  The other inmates through rumors, some of them quite absurd wants it for their own reasons.

Overall, I would highly recommend this series to adults.  There are some nudity in the series and adult situations such as suicide and drug dealing as well as a lot of profanity so I wouldn't recommend watching it with kids in attendance.  A season 2 has already been announced for 2014 and is currently filming in New York.  I can't wait considering the cliff hanger in season 1.

Have you seen the series, are you a fan?

Rating: 4.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars



  • Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman
  • Laura Prepon as Alex Vause
  • Michael J. Harney as Sam Healy
  • Michelle Hurst as Miss Claudette
  • Kate Mulgrew as Galina "Red" Reznikov
  • Jason Biggs as Larry Bloom
  • Taryn Manning as Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett
  • Danielle Brooks as Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson
  • Uzo Aduba as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren
  • Natasha Lyonne as Nicky Nichols
  • Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset
  • Dascha Polanco as Dayanara "Daya" Diaz
  • Yael Stone as Lorna Morello
  • Vicky Jeudy as Janae Watson
  • Madeline Brewer as Tricia Miller
  • Constance Shulman as Yoga Jones
  • Samira Wiley as Poussey Washington
  • Elizabeth Rodriguez as Aleida Diaz
  • Beth Fowler as Sister Ingalls
  • Lea DeLaria as Carrie "Big Boo" Black
  • Maria Dizzia as Polly Harper
  • Pablo Schreiber as George "Pornstache" Mendez
  • Matt McGorry as John Bennett
  • Nick Sandow as Joe Caputo
  • Alysia Reiner as Natalie Figueroa
  • Joel Marsh Garland as S. O'Neill
  • Catherine Curtin as Wanda Bell
  • Matt Peters as Joel Luschek
  • Lauren Lapkus as Susan Fischer
  • Michael Chernus as Cal Chapman

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