Orange Is the New Black (2013)

They don't wear orange. It may be a simple thing, but it is indicative of the issues with this series. They get basic things wrong.

This is the latest in the Netflix foray into creating original programming, and it's better than the worst, but not as good as the best. The best is by far the Kevin Spacey spearheaded House of Cards. The worst one I've seen was Lillyhammer, which was so dull for the first episode that I have no idea what the rest of the series was about.

The idea is that a rich white girl goes to prison because of a past indiscretion and has to deal with this life. We get glimpses of her past life and the reasons that the other women are in prison with her. The whole thing comes off as a kind of Grey's Anatomy in prison with even more lesbianism going on.

The fact that it is Netflix bringing it to the public instead of a usual network means a lot of different things. While the writers are free to include the same swear words that the others (Bullshit, Game of Thrones, True Blood, etc) use pretty freely. And, while Game of Thrones is very well known for gratuitous nudity, Orange Is the New Black takes the whole thing a step further. They try to stay with story-driven nudity, but they tailor the story to take advantage of it. We see still pictures in at least one episode of a not entirely flaccid penis and a direct, wide-open female crotch shot.

There are some compelling characters like the crazy religious chick, the fiercely lesbian chick, the crazy chick with a heart of gold, the power players, the glory hounds, and loads more. The problem is that the characters do progressively crazy things (again, reminiscent of Grey's Anatomy) that just don't line up with how you would expect rational humans to act. Even the guards are over the top on most of their decisions.

It's clearly a series aimed at women. As a man, I'm not entirely enthralled with the series, but I will probably watch the second season, as my chosen female companion seems to enjoy the show. As such, I would say it is a decent show. Not the great show that House of Cards is, but decent enough. better than most shows on broadcast TV.

It's filmed well
The acting is very good
The directing was good
The dialogue was exceptional
The storylines strain credulity



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