Orange Is The New Black is a Lionsgate TV produced Netflix distributed web streaming series starring Taylor Schilling (Mercy, Argo) as Piper Chapman.
The thirteen episode series starts out with us meeting Piper as she surrenders herself to prison, to do time for a decade old crime of money laundering for a drug dealer. That dealer, Alex Vause (Laura Prepon… That ’70s Show) was also her girlfriend at the time.
We basically follow Piper as she starts her fifteen-month incarceration in prison. The newbie, as you might guess, not being a seasoned criminal, goes through various stages of emotional trauma as she acclimates to prison life… making friends, pissing off others, etc., etc..
Piper is a nice person put in a tough spot by a mistake she made. And then was ratted out on by “peers,” which got her this prison sentence ten years after the fact.
Along the way, we watch other folks in and out of her life, like her fiancee, friends, fellow inmates, and their goings on.
The show’s format is such that every time she meets someone, we get a quickie flashback of what they’re about or were about in their civilian life before doing time. Halfway through the season, we’re mostly teased with moments of their lives, but not with what exactly got them all in prison. And in many cases, they seemed to have started with some pretty decent lives. Or so it seems to appear.
To be honest, it’s an engaging story as we follow the various characters introduced along the way. You even find yourself worrying and caring about some of the characters at one point or another.
Oh, and they have an interesting/curious musical piece during the end credits of each episode.
The cast has a lot of familiar faces in the ranks. The cast includes
Taryn Manning (Hawaii Five-0, Sons of Anarchy), Natasha Lyonne, Pablo Schreiber (Ironside, Law and Order SVU), Dascha Polanco, Kate Mulgrew (Warehouse 13, Mercy, Star Trek Voyager) and Jason Biggs (Mad Love).
The show is created by Jenji Kohan, whose past credits include Weeds and Gilmore Girls, and she based the show off the memoirs of the same name. The memoirs was written by Piper Kerman, based on her own experiences in prison. (She was the one who fell for a heroin dealer that she started laundering money for!)
Yes, the show takes place in prison. But the violence is minimal. Though there are sexual and verbal situations that take place that YOU DO NOT WANT TO HAVE TO EXPLAIN TO YOUR KIDS.
But if you have a Netflix account, and like shows like Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy or even Weeds, I think you might find the show compelling. It catches your attention from the first episode and charges along from there.
Oh, and if you like the show, don’t fret. News on the street is that Orange is the new Black been renewed for a second season.