Reviews of Movies, TV shows & metro Detroit Restaurants

Short movie & TV show reviews and metro Detroit restaurant reviews

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

TV Show Review: "Orange Is the New Black"

Orange Is the New Black (created by Jenji Kohan, the creator of Weeds and starring Taylor Schilling, Jason Biggs, Laura Prepon, and a host of others) is another Netflix original which makes it the perfect show to binge watch. And I think it may be a better show than House of Cards (which I really like, see House of Cards Review the other critically-acclaimed Netflix series). I recently did binge watch OITNB (13 episodes in 5 days) and I really liked it.

OITNB is set in a women's federal prison in New York and is based on the memoir of the same name written by Piper Kerman. The main character is Piper Chapman (played by Schilling), an upper middle class woman living in New York City with her fiancé Larry Bloom (played by Jason Biggs). Piper is sentenced to serve 15 months in this federal prison because she helped an old girlfriend named Alex (played by Prepon) transport drug money 10 years prior to being sentenced. And this is when it gets crazy/fun/hilarious/dramatic/dark ...when she goes to prison and starts serving her time. And guess who is in prison? Alex! While in prison, Piper is introduced to some interesting racial dynamics, power structures & struggles, some seriously crazy women (with names like Crazy Eyes & Pennsatucky), and some interesting prison employees (most notably Pornstache & Sam Healy). While in prison, Piper is forced to examine not only her relationship with Larry, but also with Alex.

OITNB mostly shows the craziness of the goings-on at the prison very smartly and with both dark humor & with some serious drama. But it also flashes back to life for the inmates before they were incarcerated and in some instances, WHY they wind up in prison. It's an interesting show structure and it works quite well. Early on, a lot of time is spent on Piper and her backstory, current situation, etc. But it's when the other characters in the prison are further explored that the show gets even more intriguing & interesting. A large range of emotions are explored with these characters and this show does an excellent job of portraying them. At times, it is one of the funniest shows on television and then it hits you with something so dramatic, your jaw drops to the floor. And that's what makes it so good, interesting, and fun to watch. There are quite a few characters in this show, but you get to know each one of them enough to be interested in all of them and what their story is. The show balances this very well as a cast this large could get unmanageable. Plus the actors which have been cast into these roles all perform very's an incredible cast. To say that these characters are quirky would be an understatement and the quirkiness is another aspect which makes it so good.

Go out and binge-watch season 1 of Orange Is the New Black as soon as you can (season 2 debuts on June 6, 2014)...8.5/10 stars

No comments: