Arts + Culture » Film + TV

Orange is The New Black

Created by Jenji Kohan (Netflix)

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Netflix’s foray into series production has made for mixed results, from awful (Hemlock Grove) to merely polarizing (Arrested Development). But the streaming service has its first true, undisputable creative triumph in Orange is the New Black, based on Piper Kerman’s yuppie-in-jail memoir and guided to the screen by Jenji Kohan (Weeds). “Taylor Swift-ass motherfucker” Taylor Schilling is Piper, who ran some drug money for her girlfriend Alex (Laura Prepon) post-college and has just been pulled out of her straight, organic NYC life with Jason Biggs and sentenced to 15 months in prison. There are so many ways this could’ve gone wrong, chiefly the gay stuff, but it’s handled with seriousness and poignancy. More than that, the prison is full of rich, diverse characters with faces you may recognize---Natasha Lyonne, Kate Mulgrew, Taryn Manning--- but most you won’t, which is fine, because there’s not a single Mischa Barton in this giant ensemble. These 13 episode are often quotable, very funny, occasionally violent and completely engrossing.

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