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On the box

10 Jun 2014

Orange is the New Black … Is the new black?

Let’s face it. We’re living in the era of ‘Game of Thrones’. 

You’ll find each new episode synopsis reported in the mainstream news, and if it’s not there, it’s sprawled across your Twitter or Facebook feeds thanks to that loudmouth idiot who probably ruined a Harry Potter book for you back in high school. 

Earlier this week, HBO even announced that Game of Thrones is officially their highest rating show ever. Forget living pay cheque to pay cheque. The viewing public has been living Monday to Monday with Game of Thrones on their mind. 

It is a true cultural phenomenon. More so than a crazy frog song or toy guns with foam bullets – Game of Thrones has become part of the public lexicon. And while that’s all well and good and everything, in a few more weeks, it’ll be gone for another year and we’ll need to find something to hold us over. Luckily for us, there are a number of other programs that have been brought in to distract us.

Orange is the New Black is the story of a fairly unremarkable, middle-class woman in her early 30s being shipped off to a women’s prison to serve time for a crime she committed in her youth. The fish-out-of-water tale sees the fairly well-to-do Piper thrown into the brutal world of a state corrections facility to serve a one year sentence. 

The premise of the show is actually taken from the real Piper Kerman’s book which is an account of her year behind bars. The adaptation comes from TV powerhouse producer Jenji Cohen, who is well-known for creating Weeds.

In fact, there are a number of similarities between the two programs. Both centre on female leads who are thrown a drastic change in their lives and are forced to evolve into more complicated versions of themselves. Both feature plenty of dark humour and both deal heavily with elements of criminal activity. 

Orange is the New Black features a talented cast of new and well-known actors and there’s humour (and sometimes even sympathy) to be found with many of them. This show is addictive, hilarious and very engaging and while I don’t find the lead character to be overly engaging, the remaining cast of inmates is what makes this show really shine.

Orange is the New Black is currently in its second season thanks to Netflix, which has developed the process of releasing all episodes for its programs simultaneously – meaning the entire second season can now be enjoyed in its entirety (along with the first if you’re new).

I’ll see you on the other side.

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