Since the introduction of Twitter, television programmes have ruled the popular social networking site; with shows such as Pretty Little Liars breaking records for the number of tweets sent a minute, to other shows like Scandal completely dominating social media during its airtime, there is quite simply no better time for new TV shows to be cropping up and making a name for themselves.
Say what you want about Twitter; I firmly believe it is the reason a lot of people’s favourite TV shows are still on-air because of it. The five networks in America (ABC, CBS, CW, FOX and NBC) all have their fair share of different programmes on their schedule, FOX being well-known for their sitcoms and CW for their Sci-Fi shows.
Not so long ago, the online movie-streaming service, Netflix, emerged from the shadows and launched itself in to the limelight when it announced it’s plan to produce ‘original series’, putting it in direct competition with cable networks.
The Kevin Spacey fronted show, House of Cards, is a Netflix drama. It’s become a massive hit worldwide, even allowing Netflix to receive nominations and push in on the Emmy’s.
Another Netflix original is the widely popular dark comedy, Orange is the New Black, more often abbreviated to ‘OINTB’ on social media.
As mentioned earlier, I believe Twitter has a massive impact on TV shows, it’s become second nature for people to live-tweet whilst their favourite show is airing or discuss events in said TV show with like-minded people they have ‘met’ on Twitter because of the show. Often I see people on my timeline saying things like ‘OMG I cannot believe the ending of…’ or ‘If you haven’t yet watched ‘…’ you need to get on it now!’ etc etc. Like anyone else, there have been shows that I’ve given a go and decided not to follow, but when I saw countless people (celebrities and fellow Twitter acquaintances) raving about this new show Orange is the New Black, I decided to give it a go in my spare time…boy am I glad I did!
If you don’t have people telling what shows to look out for, or you’ve not been convinced by what you’ve seen or heard so far, let me try and convince you as to why you should watch this comedy/drama/crime themed TV show:
1. Only 13 episodes in season one:
This may sound like a bit of a rubbish selling point but it’s really not. Whenever I dedicate my time to watching a new TV show, I always go with the rule of watching 3 episodes (if it’s a 20-min sitcom) or 2 episodes for a drama. This is because although it’s always been said, that the pilot has to be the best episode you’ll produce, some TV shows take a bit of getting in to. I was the same with Scandal when I first watched it, and now I’m hooked. In other words, I’m saying give it a chance. When most shows start off they usually start with a short 9-13 episode order for the network to test the water. OITNB has only had one season so far, consisting of only 13-episodes, which isn’t exactly a great deal, so if you’re curious about the show or want to give it a chance, you won’t be wasting your time if you don’t like it, because there aren’t many episodes. The chances are, you’ll be hooked after you begin to see the relationships between the characters, and all the storyline potential…it gets real juicy, let me tell you.
2. The diverse characters:
In any TV show you’ll come across many different characters/personalities. The thing that makes OITNB so unique is it’s rather huge cast. Of course just like any other show, there are main characters, but instead of just having main characters and then minor characters that appear not so often, OITNB manages to catch up with nearly every character each episode. Being a prison-central story, you are bound to bump in to the characters now and then, but what makes this show so good is that it doesn’t forget about characters, the continuity in this show is faultless.
Based on a true story; the show follows the character of Piper Chapman (played by Taylor Schilling), a woman in her thirties who has to leave her fiancee Larry (Jason Biggs) behind, as she’s sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, almost a decade after transporting drug money for her ex-girlfriend, Alex (Laura Prepon). Upon playing out her sentence, Piper soon realises the prison hierarchy – who she should suck up to and who she can stand up to. There are surprises aplenty within her first few weeks at Lichfield causing Piper to face up to her past (literally) and question the type of person she really is.
You love to hate these characters, unlike most shows, these characters are flawed from the moment you meet them because you know they’ve had their wrong-doings, whether that be theft or drug troubles, because they are in prison.
Aside from Piper, Larry and Alex who are essentially the main focus, we as an audience are treated to characters such as Suzanne aka ‘Crazy Eyes’. Not only does this literate lady provide a great deal of humour to the show, she also brings a fair deal of raw emotion to her scenes. She has her issues, but we still love her – definitely a character I would like to see further explored in the second season (judging by the promo, we’re in for a treat!).
I’m a sucker for chemistry between characters in television shows and I must say the Piper/Alex dynamic is just perfect, sometimes it seems hard to believe that this is just a show, because Taylor Schilling and Laura Prepon make it so damn believable, heck, so does Jason Biggs as Piper’s fiancee, Larry. If you decide to give this show a chance for anything, make it be for this masterclass in acting. The way Taylor Schilling (Piper) in particular, delivers her lines with such raw emotion, even the facial expressions she delivers require no words, there’s not many actors/actresses that can simply use their facial features to depict such a specific emotion without saying a word…truly one of a kind.
They all have a background. They, much like all of us, have a story of how they got to where they are now – this serves as the secondary aspect of the show.
3. A simple yet complex concept:
Believe it or not, there aren’t any shows on TV (that I’m aware of) that centering around prison. Despite what we’re told from the media and maybe friends of friends who may know someone who’s been to prison, most of us are blissfully unaware what goes on. I feel like although this is a TV show; I have a deeper understanding of what it would be like to be in prison and the type of issues that can arise in a place like that, when you’re concealed with the same people all day, every day. There is an educational benefit to watching this show!
The show follows a different storytelling format to most, the majority of the show is presented in ‘real-time’, however there is an intriguing use of flashbacks. Each episode follows the day-to-day prison routine, whilst also centering on one of the inmates and essentially their journey to Lichfield. I hope this is something we continue to see in future episodes, the flashbacks of Piper’s journey are one of my favourite aspects of the show. It makes sense that we get to know more about Piper because she’s the main character, but also because I would say she’s the most difficult, troubled and interesting character out of the lot. There’s still a lot more to come from her, I look forward to it!
5. It’s funny!
OITNB has the ability to make the best out of the worst situations. I’ve never exactly been in to ‘dark comedy’, but this show may have changed my mind. I love drama TV shows and I love sitcoms, so I’m not quite sure why it’s taken me until now to find something that combines both so brilliantly. The dialogue, facial expressions and situations these characters get themselves into is just plain funny at the best of times. It’s one of those shows where you feel bad for laughing because the majority of the time you’re laughing at the character’s expense, but it’s just so hard not to. I’m fully gripped by the drama as I am the comedy.
(BONUS) 6. There is a 2nd, and most likely 3rd season on the cards:
I would’ve hoped by now, I’ve convinced you to at least give the show a chance. After binge-watching the first season in a matter of days; I already feel like I have withdrawals. The good thing about Netflix is that when June 6th 2014 comes around, I will be very happen because all 13 episodes of the second season will be available to stream online. The bad news, is that I’ll then have to wait another year for the next season to come on (if it’s renewed, I’m sure it will be, unless something drastic happens). OITNB is one of my favourite things to come out of 2013 which wasn’t the best year. You have to give these things a chance, I doubted watching nearly all of my now favourite TV shows, once. Now I wonder what I would do with myself if I had never watched them – it’s a hard life.
WATCH ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK!!!