“Orange is the New Black” (2013-)
Created by Jenji Kohan
“Orange is the New Black,” about the real-life experiences of an inmate in a female federal prison, would be the best series on television…if it was on television. I mean it. Here’s why.
1. Character development – Better than any show I’ve ever seen, “OITNB” introduces each and every main character to the audience with an all-access backstage pass into their life. During each of the first episodes of season one, audiences glimpsed into each character’s tumultuous past, telling us how she got in and what makes her tick. I have trouble remembering names, but even I have no problem recalling each character’s name and her story. Once they get you invested in the characters, you begin to root for or against them. You have favorites (mine are Sophia and Sister Ingalls), and other characters you just have to despise (don’t get me started), but no matter how you feel you have no choice but to feel. They’re family.
2. Versatility – Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? In short, yes. “OITNB” makes you laugh, but it also makes you fearful, anxious, heartbroken, or angry. It has so much going on that you don’t quite know how to describe it. It’s not a sitcom by any means, but it takes the best part of those comedies and sprinkles it in with the natural drama of prison life.
3. Acting – “OITNB” is full of actresses and actors I didn’t know existed until I saw them on as inmates (now I keep catching myself watching television and movies and saying “She’s in ‘Orange is the New Black’!”). They all do a fantastic job, clearly absorbing the extensive backstory the audience receives and truly becoming the character they’re playing.
I’m sorry I’ve kept “OITNB” from this blog for so long. It truly is the best show I’ve EVER seen, and even through a season of “House of Cards” and a few other Netflix finds (like this) that made me wonder where Netflix has been my whole life, my opinion remains unchanged. Its comedy is subtly brilliant; its drama arresting. To see “Orange is the New Black” might be the firmest recommendation I will ever make.