Most shows go into their 5th Season with some complacency but not Orange Is the New Black. The most watched original series in Netflix has received critical acclaim, particularly praised for humanizing prisoners and for its depiction of race, sexuality, gender and body types.
It also generated more viewers and hours viewed in its first week; more than acclaimed series like House of Cards and Arrested Development. Based on Google Trends, you can see Netflix spacing out the releases of Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards. Based on the searches being conducted for the respective series peak near their releases, it is clear that Orange Is the New Black is, in fact, more popular and better performing as compared to Netflix’s other shows.
Just look at their Instagram followers. Look at the jump over the past year. This show might not be all sunshine and rainbows but it addresses real issues like perceptions on prisoners, ex-cons, discrimination, LGBT and the entire prison system and audiences are interested it. Take that ‘The Bachelor’
If you are hazy on the details of season 4 here is a short summary to help you prepare for the 5th.
Tensions grow and the atmosphere in the newly privatized prison grows more strained. It does not help that the sadistic CO Humphrey urges Suzanne to beat up Maureen. The inmates attempt to get Piscatella – the head guard fired, by standing on tables in the cafeteria as a protest.
As Piscatella, marched in with his guards to remove the protesting prisoners by force, Suzanne has a breakdown about sending Maureen to the medical facility. During this, Poussey gets killed by CO Bayley in the resulting chaos as the inexperienced guard improperly restrained her as she attempted to get to Suzanne and comfort her.
Suzanne’s immediate reaction to Poussey’s death was to pull a bookcase on herself, landing her in the medical area with Maureen.
After Caputo, who was made Director of Human Activity rebels against ruling corporate robots MCC and refuses to fire Bayley over Poussey’s death, her best friend Taystee snaps. She leads the prisoners on a furious march down the hall, in a scene which forms the foundation for the whole of season 5.
As CO Humphrey goes for the gun, Maritza pushes him and it falls to Daya, who picks the firearm up and aims it squarely at Humphrey.
Intense isn’t it. The sharp mix of black humor and dramatic heft, with interesting characters and an intriguing flashback structure, simply draws the audience in and makes them emotionally invested with each character.
Each character has a delicate and intricate back story that contributes to the overall story arc of Orange is the New Black. While it would be very difficult to imagine the show without any one of them, here are my 3 picks.
1.Taylor Schilling (Piper Chapman)
One of the main characters of the show, Piper Chapman was like a trojan horse that eventually got us hooked on the intricate storylines of the other supporting casts. What started off as an educated, demure character soon transitioned into a darker,gangsta-wannabe. One episode we start hating her and the next moment we are feeling sorry for her situation. Hate her or love her, we are all eager to know if Chapman makes it out of the system in one piece or will she lose herself to survive in there.
2. Laverne Cox (Sophia Burset)
Cox became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in the acting category, and the first to be nominated for an Emmy Award since Angela Morley in 1990. Did you know that during her first season on Orange Is the New Black, she was still appearing at a restaurant on the Lower East Side as a drag queen?
In addition to her work as an entertainer, Cox speaks and writes about transgender rights and other current affairs in a variety of media outlets, such as the Huffington Post. Her role in Orange Is the New Black provides her a platform to speak on the rights of trans people. In May 2016, Cox was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The New School in New York City for her progressive work in the fight for gender equality.
3. Uzo Aduba (Suzanne – ‘Crazy Eyes’)
My favorite! For many reasons but mostly due to the level of skill and talent, it took Uzo Aduba to give life to the character Suzanne. She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2014, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2015. That is talent right there.
I was like, “What in my audition would make someone think I’d be right for a part called Crazy Eyes?” But to be honest, when I got the script for it, it felt like the right fit.
All these actresses have immense talent and they not only show it on the screen but actively address societal issues close to their heart in real life. As we see the show for entertainment, it would be great if we also took into account to social issues it is presenting to us. The different perspectives of the same problem.
As we eagerly wait here is the first 60 seconds of the season!