Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New Media: Netflix - Yes We Can: Orange Is The New Black

(Drivebycuriosity) - The Internet is growing up. Online companies don´t restrict themselves anymore to distribute content that others had produced like books, movies and TV series. is publishing e-books and producing their own TV-shows. Recently Netflix received a prestigious Emmy nomination for their online only political drama show "House of Cards" and launched the sitcom "Arrested Development".

In early July they also premiered "Orange Is The New Black" (imdb). This show, which also is only available by download, tells the story of a woman in her late twenties who is send to prison for 15 months because she transported a suitcase full of drug money for her former female lover, a drug dealer. "Orange" describes how she has to deal with other jail inmates, the prison authority, her former lover girl and her (male) fiancé, who is waiting outside for her return from jail. The show imbeds a fine psychological study about survival in jail and strategies how to find the grace of the powerful and to avoid the foes. "Orange" also casts a lot of light on the role of sexuality and how erotics shape human relationships.

"Orange" (referring to the orange clothing of the detained there) deals with a lot of hot issues. One of the topics are the power relations in an US prison. Inmates have not only to follow the strict prison rules and the orders from the wardens, they also have to get along with other inmates, who are often psychopaths, fiends and brutes or just annoying. Like many other movies "Orange" shows how rigid law enforcement exposes people with a minor delict (here just transporting money) to the force of sadists, exploiters and sexual predators.

But "Orange" also is a highly entertaining comedy with a lot of surprising, funny and hilarious incidents. And like other ambitious TV productions the show is not shy of female nudity and sex scenes.

Taylor Schilling is the adequate cast for the leading role. She is pretty and displays the emotional stress of the jail situation convincingly. The performance from Uzo Aduba as a very special prison fellow (her character has the nickname "Crazy Eyes") is highly  remarkable. Jason Biggs, who once became a bit famous because his character had sex with an apple pie in "American Pie" (1999), is at least an interesting choice for the role of the inmate`s fiancé.

"Orange Is The New Black" is funny & smart, provoking & entertaining. Well done Netflix.

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