Last year, Netflixians of the interwebs were treated to a new kind of series… Orange Is The New Black premiered July 11, 2013…and it and was glorious!
Today, I bring news that is equally glorious! Orange Is The New Black -Season One is out on DVD and Blu-ray TODAY and Season 2 premieres Friday June 6th! Here’s a little recap of the season to tide you over (or serve as a memory refresher to you one-time bingers):
We were introduced to cheerful, engaged, middle-class Piper Chapman, skillfully played by the adorable Taylor Schilling, and by the end of the pilot episode, were pretty much afraid for her life. We witnessed her sentenced to serve a little over a year in a minimum security federal penitentiary for a crime she committed a lifetime ago ( she was literally a different person back then, let her tell it…she smuggled drug money over the border for her ex- girlfriend Alex). Her boyfriend, the suspiciously kind and upbeat Larry Bloom (played my Jason Biggs) , takes the news of her criminal and sexual past in stride, asking to marry her anyway.
Once the shock of the sentence, as well as the difficulty breaking the story to her fiancé and family, subsided, Piper was left to figure things out for herself on the inside (literally and emotionally). She experienced issues ranging from not having money on her books for shower shoes and having to get creative or get athlete’s foot, to unwanted advances from an inmate nicknamed “Crazy Eyes” for quite literal reasons, to having the misfortune of being locked up with the very woman who was partially responsible for her being there in the first place. That’s right..the ex-girlfriend Alex (fantastically played by the beautiful Laura Prepon) is also along for the prison ride.
Uh-oh is right.
Jenji Kohan was also the creative mind behind Weeds, and the similarities between her selfish main characters who don’t realize (or sometimes do realize, but don’t care about) the full repercussions of their actions until they’re knee-deep in them, is very apparent. Piper becomes an anti-hero of sorts, bobbing and weaving in and out of trouble she pretty much gets herself into every step of the way, much like Nancy Botwin.
One of my favorite aspects of the show is the colorful cast outside of Piper. While inside the joint, we were introduced to many layered characters with their own trials and tribulations to overcome, outside of their interactions with Piper.
Galina “Red” Reznikov, the fiesty cook who froze Piper out during her first bit of time behind bars for unknowingly insulting her food, has an interesting back-story that explains why being insulted and ridiculed effects her so (and it involves the mafia and a popped boob!).
Tiffany”Pennsatucky” Doggett, played by Taryn Manning, is a religious nut who believes Jesus speaks through her and gives her the ability to perform miracles. Piper makes an enemy out of Pennsatuckey and the back and forth of their relationship culminates in a painful season finale (which, who can’t wait to see how the show returns from that?!).
Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, arguably one of the most interesting characters on the show, is an inmate who formed an attachment to Piper, pretty much from day one, but throughout the course of the season blossomed from the psycho who peed on the prison floor, to one of the most sensitive, intriguing characters on the show, if you dare get past the odd outer shell.
That only touches on a few of the interesting and varied inmates, and throughout the season we were treated to some of their back-stories, a storytelling convention I hope will continue into the next season, as we weren’t given everyone’s just yet. Outside of the characters, the show does a good job of tackling issues that exist within the prison system.
Transgender inmate Sophia Burset (outstandingly portrayed by transgender actress Laverne Cox) deals with perverted guards and discrimination when it comes to receiving her medication, racial tensions between inmates, with every race sticking to itself initially, and prison guard/prisoner relations, whether forced or consensual, are all crafted into the story of Piper Chapman’s time in the joint.
In order to make your journey back to Litchfield Penitentiary as pleasant as possible (although OITNB will certainly bring its fair share of light moments) Lionsgate did you the favor of adding some pretty awesome DVD/ Blu-ray features for your viewing pleasure:
- “New Kid On The Block” featurette
- “Mother Hen: Red Runs The Coup” featurette
- “It’s Tribal” featurette
- “Prison Rules” featurette
- Gag Reel
- Two episodes with Producer Commentary from Jenji Kohan, Tara Hermann and Mark Burley: ” I Wasn’t Ready” and ” Can’t Fix Crazy”
We know you won’t forget that Season 2 premieres Friday June 6th.
That means you have enough time to grab the DVD or Blu-ray, proceed with a binge re-watch, check out all the special features and get hyped just in time for the premiere!
Photo Credit: Lionsgate/Netflix