Orange is the New Black
A Little History:
Orange Is the New Black is an American comedy-drama series created by Jenji Kohan that first aired on Netflix on July 11, 2013. The series, produced by Lionsgate Television, is based on Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman, a memoir about her experiences in prison. Orange Is the New Black stars Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman, a woman imprisoned for transporting drug money. The series also stars Laura Prepon as Alex Vause, a drug dealer and Piper’s ex-girlfriend; Michael J. Harney as prison counselor Sam Healy; Michelle Hurst as Miss Claudette, a fellow inmate; Kate Mulgrew as the inmate cook “Red,” and Jason Biggs as Piper’s fiancé, Larry Bloom.
Orange Is the New Black generated more viewers and hours viewed in its first week than either of the other high profile Netflix original series, House of Cards and Arrested Development.
I am not sure what hit me harder about this show, the writing, the characters, or the amazing actors that make up a primarily female cast (hurrah!). Each episode is packed with a roller coaster twist and turn of emotions that has me laughing at one moment, intrigued the next moment and in tears the next. Each and every character is incredible, from the main focus characters to the supporting cast – seriously some of the best acting and characterization I have ever seen on television.
The back stories are moving and a constant reminder that how we perceive people initially is rarely who they really are. We all have our stories. We all have our commonalities. We are all flawed and beautiful and ugly and violent and kind and a million things in-between.
I also have an admittedly big character crush on Alex Vause (Laura Prepon).
Beyond that, though, the show is inspiring to the point that it makes me want to do something to help, in the real world kind of way. It does not just make me feel, but makes me want to take action. It also lights that never quite out fire in my belly to want to teach, too, not just from books, but about seeing past exteriors, and about how your past and present can impact your future, and that every choice, and every action, matters.
Netflix released the entire season at one time, which is their original programming policy. Because of this “binge watching” has become “a thing”, and though I have partaken in binge watching television series, I do think that some of the enjoyment and reactions to the art of the writing, plotting and acting is diminished by racing through episode after episode. For this series I have taken my time, and even have three more episodes left to enjoy. That said, I am already restless for the release of a second season.
From a music perspective, the opening theme song, Regina Spektor’s You’ve Got Time, delivers an emotional gut punch, especially paired up with the eyes and mouths of inmates that flash by as the song plays. It is chill-inducing, and at times, brings the feeling of tears to my eyes.
Some other great inclusions have been Jem’s Keep On Walking (episode 10), Leagues’ Walking Backwards (episode 9) and Glósóli by Sigur Ros (episode 4).
Keep On Walking :: Jem
Walking Backwards :: Leagues
Glósóli :: Sigur Ros
You’ve Got Time :: Regina Spektor