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Orange Is the New Black: 5 Things To Know Before You Watch

July 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Prison comes with a shiv-sharp learning curve. Fortunately, for viewers of Orange Is The New Black, the latest project from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan, we have a few pointers to share.

The Netflix original series (premiering Thursday) follows girl-next-door Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling, Mercy), who once smuggled drug money for former girlfriend Alex (Laura Prepon, That ’70s Show) and now faces 15 months in jail. Before the series bows, keep these five tidbits from the creator and cast on your radar.

IT’S NOT A DIRECT TRANSLATION OF THE BOOK… | Orange is based on the real-life tale of Piper Kerman, who wrote a memoir of her experience in a women’s prison in 2010. But how much did Kohan rely on that firsthand account? “You know, at some point, we just abandon it,” she laughs. “I love Piper, and I e-mail her all the time when I want to get the facts right. [But] the book, while fantastic, is relatively conflict-free, and we have to make a TV show.”

…BUT IT DOESN’T SKIMP ON DETAILS | Although the show is an adaptation of Kerman’s memoir, the author said many of the show’s little details really do happen in jail – even the weird ones, like Piper wearing maxi pads on her feet while showering. “Those things are, if not literal, then incredibly close,” Kerman admits. “That’s exactly the kind of resilience and resourcefulness that you have to have if you’re gonna make it.”

IT’S NOT YOUR AVERAGE COMEDY | Describing Orange as a dramedy seems too easy. But American Pie’s Jason Biggs (who stars as Piper’s loving fiancee) gives anyone expecting belly laughs fair warning about the show’s “specific tone” of humor. “It’s funny, but there’s also some real intensity and real humanity to the whole thing,” he says.

IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO TUCK THE KIDS IN BED FIRST | Sex, drugs and nudity are cornerstones of the show’s pilot episode – in the first 10 seconds alone! But after Showtime gave her the freedom to be racy on Weeds, Kohan says she thinks “streaming, cable and Netflix” are the best arenas for a “no-holds-barred” approach like the one she takes on Orange. “That’s where I’m gonna go these days,” she laughs.

IT TUGS AT THE HEARTSTRINGS | For every gasp-inducing prison scene that Orange offers, Schilling says the show provides a healthy dose of compassion to balance the scales. “I was really surprised by the strong relationships between the women in prison and the alliances and support they give each other,” she says. “I was surprised by how much they take care of each other.”

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Netflix Renews Orange Is The New Black for Season 2, Two Weeks Before the Series Premiere

June 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Netflix doesn’t play by regular rules. Netflix do what Netflix wanna do! The DVD rental service turned online streaming powerhouse turned television revolutionary has made a bold move that only whippersnappers like Starz want to do. Netflix has ordered a 13-episode second season of its new series Orange is the New Black, even though the first season hasn’t yet aired. Season 2 is scheduled to launch in 2014.

Whaaaaaaaaat!? Yep, that’s what we call a vote of confidence in this industry. Netflix must feel what we’ve currently only prognosticated from the series’ excellent trailer (which I’ve embedded below). Orange is the New Black comes from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan, and the series is an adaptation of the memoir of the same name. It’s about a womens’ prison, guys! And it looks really good!

Netflix previously ordered a second season of its first original drama, House of Cards, before that show’s first season even aired. But that was always in the—ahem—cards, as 26 episodes for two seasons were ordered right off the bat. More recently, Netflix ordered a second season of its horror drama Hemlock Grove, but only after Season 1 aired. The early renewal of Orange is the New Black obviously means Netflix really likes what it sees. Renewals before a show even airs aren’t common, but they do happen. Starz, for example, has been quick on the trigger, recently ordering a second season of Boss before its first season ever aired and renewing Da Vinci’s Demons after one episode. Boss has since been canceled.

 

Netflix will release the entire first season of Orange is the New Black on Thursday, July 11.

Orange is the New Black “Life” Trailer [HD]

June 7, 2013 Leave a comment
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