TV Show Reviews
Is the New Black" review by
Sundays 10pm et/pt on Showtime
If Neflix is trying to woo me, then consider me smitten.
Since they threw their hat in the ring with House of Cards,
then followed up with Hemlock Grove, they have gained
momentum as one of the most reliable television sources out
there, giving networks and cable a run for their money.
Their latest stab at original programming, the prison
dramedy, Orange Is The New Black, is one of the most
well-rounded, fully developed shows on right now -- dare I
say, ever. Produced by Jenji Kohan of Weeds notoriety, OITNB
is cleverly bending expectations about the dramatic
series,stretching the boundaries of what we can laugh at,and
playing coy when it comes to social commentary.
As an hour long show, OISTNB is relying on our expectations
of the drama and then turning them on their head.. However,
there is such a seamless fusion of what is tragic and what
is hilarious that the audience never has much time to linger
on one or the other. Trust me, this is a good thing. Based
on the memoir by Piper Kerman, Taylor Schilling plays the
lead character, a privleged, upper-class, WASP who is equal
parts likeable and disdainful. The series picks up as she is
about to surrender herself to federal prison after being
sentenced to 15 months for acting as drug mule ten years
earlier. During the period in her life in which she
committed the crime, she was involved with a beautiful drug
dealer, Alex, played by the porcelain statue Laura Prepon.
While all this seems like a major downer, (and it is at
times), it is pedaled to us in between moments of prison
hilarity. One such moment is when Piper finds herself the
wife of another inmate that calls her “Dandelion” and
subsequently pees on her floor following the break-up.
One moment, we are anguishing over Piper’s separation from
her long-suffering fiancee, played by Jason Biggs and the
next we are laughing at her as she is being starved out by
the Russian cook after she obnoxiously, although
unknowingly, insulted the food with a superior air. It is
this character flaw in Piper that makes us root for the
other inmates just as much as we root for her, making OITNB
as much about the supporting characters as it is about
Piper.Its during the exploration of these characters that we
see Natasha Lyonne in her finest work as the
junkie-with-good-intentions, Nicky. We are fed
excruciatingly small tidbits of their life, served through
flashbacks, allowing us to judge their misdeeds after the
fact, even though we know how it ends up. Its a macabre
exercise, but one that OITNB undoubtedly knows we enjoy.
The irreverence doesn’t end in our individual experiences
with the inmates. The show is completely unafraid to face
down hotly topical issues like race, feminism, addiction,
sexuality, and recidivism. The show is making social
commentary,but doing so with such coquettish execution that
we don’t balk at the scenes that would otherwise shock and
offend. Piper, as an educated white lady acts as the
straight man for jokes that are told at the expense of
ethnicity, homosexuality and gender inequality. Serving such
heavy fare with levity and flippancy leaves room for us to
care about some of the other plot lines that can get pretty
heavy; think rape and suicide.
This show is breaking ground in a way that I haven’t seen in
a long while,and it is such a treat to consume it all at
once, bingeing on show after show until I feel like a giant,
fat TV-glutton. Word has it that Netflix has already picked
up season two, and you know this reviewer will be first to
NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES
THURSDAY, JULY 11
Taylor Schilling Stars in
Series Created by Jenji Kohan,
Based on Piper Kerman’s
CA – April 30, 2013 – Netflix will premiere its upcoming
original series “Orange
on Thursday, July 11, 2013. Created by Jenji Kohan
(“Weeds”), the comedic drama
starring Taylor Schilling is set in
a women’s prison and is based on
the U.S. best-selling memoir by
Piper Kerman. All thirteen one-hour episodes in
the series from Lionsgate Television
will be available at launch.
will have access to “Orange
at 12:01 AM PDT in all territories where Netflix
is available – U.S., Canada,
the U.K., Ireland, Latin America,
Brazil and the Nordics.
Jenji Kohan has created a dramatic yet deeply funny world
populated with unforgettable characters and no-holds-barred
humor set against the backdrop of a
women’s prison,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer
for Netflix. “Jenji is one of
the most fearless voices in
television and we are proud to share her uncompromising
vision with Netflix members.”
follows engaged Brooklynite Piper Chapman (Taylor
Schilling), whose decade-old relationship with drug-runner
Alex (Laura Prepon) results in her arrest and year-long
detention in a federal penitentiary. To pay her debt to
society, Piper must trade her comfortable
New York life with fiancé Larry (Jason Biggs) for an
orange prison jumpsuit and a
baffling prison culture where she is
forced to question everything she believes and form
unexpected new alliances with a
group of eccentric and outspoken inmates.
The series’ diverse ensemble also includes Kate
Mulgrew, Natasha Lyonne, Pablo Schreiber, Danielle Brooks,
Laverne Cox and Taryn Manning.
is executive produced by Kohan, who
also wrote the first and final
episodes of the season.
The series is
produced by Lionsgate Television for Netflix.
About Netflix, Inc.
is the world's leading
Internet television network with more than 36 million
members in 40 countries enjoying more than one billion hours
of TV shows and movies per month, including original series.
For one low monthly price, Netflix members can watch as much
as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any
Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and
resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.
Learn more about how Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX)
is pioneering Internet television at
or follow Netflix on
Twitter. Netflix’s original series include
the political drama “House of
Cards,” which stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright; “Hemlock
Grove,” Eli Roth’s murder mystery series based on Brian
McGreevy’s gripping novel of the
same name; the fourth season of
the critically-acclaimed comedy
"Arrested Development;" and the
second season of “Lilyhammer,” which stars Steven Van Zandt,
and “Sense8” the upcoming global
tale of minds linked and souls hunted from
the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski.
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Page updated 8/27/13
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