Netflix’s fourth installation of their original series “Orange is the New Black” turned out to be wildly successful.
This unexpected hit is based on the memoir of the same name by Piper Kerman, a white woman who served jail time for a crime she committed 10 years prior.
This “dramedy” allows us to sneak a glimpse into a world that most know nothing about: women’s prison. Created by Jenji Kohan (“Weeds”), “Orange” is a mix of highly developed characters and the complicated highs and lows of living out a life in prison.
The show’s main character, Piper Chapman, is an engaged 20-something-year-old who goes from a comfortable life of soap-making at Whole Foods to bathroom stalls without doors and questionable prison guards. It takes Piper through the process of learning how to manage prison life and in the long run, finding out who she is.
Her life is turned upside-down by the 15-month jail sentence that comes when a former lover — a drug smuggler and a woman — is caught and outs Piper for carrying drug money for her 10 years ago.
The most challenging thing for Piper is the toll it takes on her recent engagement with Larry Bloom, her longtime boyfriend who was unaware of Piper’s shady past up.
It becomes evident that Piper cannot hang on to her old life as well as she thought she would be able to. Her friends and family do not understand what life is like for her inside the prison walls and she has a hard time dealing with the very different worlds, especially when she realizes that Alex, the very woman that got her into this mess, has been placed in the same prison. Their relationship develops throughout the show, making it messy with the fiance.
The show keeps us on our toes with multiple storylines, including a forbidden romance between an inmate and a prison guard and flashbacks of Alex and Piper’s relationship — how it started and panned out.
There are deeply rich and developed supporting characters as well. The show dives into these other characters’ pasts and explores what landed them in jail. The show gets you to fall in love with all of them, from the redneck converted Christian who gunned down abortion doctors to the transgender ex-fireman who struggles to make peace with his/her wife and son.
The acting in the show is top-notch. The cast is a smattering of B-list actors who all do a convincing job in their roles. Taylor Schilling (Piper) plays a very convincing fish out of water and Laura Prepon (“That ‘70s Show”) gives a very different but compeling portrayal of Alex, Piper’s former flame.
Netflix has already renewed the show for a second season.
This article draws information from The Huffington Post.