The new Netflix original series “Orange is the New Black” has been the talk of the town lately. Here are eight reasons you should be watching this must see show that you're probably not watching.
1. It’s based on a captivating true story. Nearly a decade after committing a drug-smuggling crime, a privileged white woman named Piper Chapman is forced to serve time in prison. She leaves behind her beloved fiancé, only to end up in the same facility as her one-time lesbian lover—the same woman whose actions led to Piper’s incarceration. This juicy, drama-filled plot is really a look into the life of Piper Kerman, whose 2010 bestselling memoir of the same name inspired the creation of the show.
2. It gives viewers a realistic view of prison life. The show’s gritty take on women’s federal prison facilities provides social commentary on the many controversial issues surrounding prison life. The show is portrayed in a way that criticizes the American prison system and speaks volumes on the many injustices occurring behind bars, including the mistreatment of prisoners, poor living conditions and lack of on-site support and guidance.
3. It’s controversial and deep. In addition to social commentary on prison life, the show does not shy away from other provocative issues, including matters on racism and racial segregation, abuse, mental illness and drug addictions. Such issues leave viewers reeling on the prejudices in today’s society.
4. It’s also hilarious. While some may view the show as a drama, it really teeters along the borders of both the comedy and drama genres. “Orange Is the New Black” was created by Emmy winner Jenji Kohan, perhaps best known for creating another witty, controversial dramedy: “Weeds.” Kohan’s sense of humor is dry yet clever, and with every heartbreaking moment on the show there is a laugh-out-loud realism to the situations that unfold onscreen.
5. The characters are uniquely fascinating. While “Orange Is the New Black” stars Taylor Schilling (“The Lucky One”) as leading prison inmate Piper Chapman, the rest of the show’s ensemble consists of flawed, unique individuals that leave viewers feeling sympathetic and captivated.
6. It’s a female-dominated show written by women and starring women. Considering the current year and the progress women have made in television and film, having a mostly female cast shouldn’t be a positive that comes from this show. But it needs to be acknowledged that an all-female cast is rare, even in today’s mainstream culture. Additionally, prison-related tales on film and television are often told from the male perspective, so it’s refreshing to see such provocative stories told by women.
7. It brings forth LGBT issues without making those characters appear one-dimensional. Oftentimes in today’s mainstream entertainment being gay is the defining trait for any one character. But in “Orange Is the New Black” gay women are given honest portrayals and complex identities. Their lives are explored in an in-depth and alluring manner.
8. You can watch all 13 episodes at once. Rather than waiting week after week for a new episode to emerge, all 13 episodes are available for streaming on Netflix. Considering the show was recently picked up for a second season, you might want to pace yourself because new episodes won’t be up for quite a while. But if binge-watching is something you’d prefer to do, go for it! “Orange Is the New Black” is well worth 13 straight hours of absorption.