New Show Alert: Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”

Netflix is on a role with their original series. The first to triumph is “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey, which just got nominated for a few Emmy’s. The political drama is, by far, one of the smartest shows to watch, and if you aren’t, you should be. Triumphing in second is the return of “Arrested Development,” which Netflix picked up for a fourth season, to the delight of their fans (new and old, thanks to Tumblr). And last but not least, “Orange is the New Black.”

Created by Jenji Kohan, the birth mother to the Showtime hit “Weeds,” OITNB hails from the memoir of Piper Kerman, played by Taylor Schilling, a privileged, blonde haired, happily engaged to a great guy, “Let’s do a cleanse!” anxious girl whose past catches up to her when she is trialed and charged up to 15 months in prison for smuggling drug money ten years ago with her then lover/drug dealer, Alex, played by “That 70s Show,” Laura Prepon. The show goes through her triumphs and failures of the jail life, and the person she realizes she is while in there.

The series is great, in that it’s comedic and dramatic in the right places, sexy and scandalous in other places, and down right interesting in that the ensemble cast, which includes an effortlessly badass Russian chef, Red (Kate Mulgrew), Sophia, a transsexual hairdresser (Laverne Cox), Dayanara, whose mother also happens to be an inmate and obviously wants nothing to do with her daughter (Dascha Polanco), Tasha, the hilarious loudmouth troublemaker (Danielle Brooks), Lorna (Yael Stone), the girl engaged to the love of her life but getting her sexual favors from Lyonne, and Nicky, the sexually engrossed druggie (Natasha Lyonne).

Of course, there are numerous characters, each with archetypes we never knew could exist in one small universe such as this one, and that’s the beauty of the show. It’s extremely diverse, with a multitude of women, from different races to different sexualities, and its ensemble, as a whole, keeps you watching. You think you know them, each and every character, based on what is broadcasted in the first few episodes. As you go on, though, you see that you are extremely wrong, and glad that you are, because the surprises are worth the surprise.

Lucy O’Brien of IGN calls it “Brilliance behind bars,” Emily Nussbaum at the New Yorker says it’s the “…love child of ‘Oz’ and ‘The L Word’,” and The Guardian deemed it in their list of one of the Best Shows of 2013.

Do us a favor? Watch it. It’s not one to regret.