Review of "Orange Is the New Black" on Netflix From The TV MegaSite
 

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Orange Is the New Black

"Orange Is the New Black" review by Sundi 7/16/13
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 watch.  

 

NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK” PREMIERES

THURSDAY, JULY 11

 

Taylor Schilling Stars in Series Created by Jenji Kohan,

Based on Piper Kerman’s Best-Selling Memoir

Beverly Hills, CA – April 30, 2013 – Netflix will premiere its upcoming original series “Orange is the New Black” 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.

 

Netflix members will have access to “Orange is the New Black” 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.

 

“With ‘Orange is the New Black,’ 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.”

 

Orange is the New Black” 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.

 

Orange is the New Blackis 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.

Netflix 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 www.netflix.com or follow Netflix on Facebook and 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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