Orange Is The New Black

Orange Is The New Black

Netflix isn’t slowing down the rollout of its original series, moving right along from the fourth season of Arrested Development to Orange Is The New Black—the previously reported new show from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan, based on Piper Kerman's memoir. Orange Is The New Black retains Weeds' quirky comedic take on criminal activity in its look at women in prison, with Taylor Schilling playing Piper Chapman, a woman who's locked up due to her relationship with a drug smuggling ex-girlfriend (Laura Prepon). She's also separated from her fiancé, played by Jason Biggs—not the only American Pie alum on board, as Natasha Lyonne also shows up as another inmate.

Sure, there’s the obligatory prison shower motif, and the sight gag about smuggling illegal items into prison in uncomfortable cavities. But there's also some hints at deeper themes, like digging into prison's racial divide and the tenuous-at-best arrangement of male guards overseeing female prisoners. And the final montage, with Schilling’s monologue expertly matched to Rilo Kiley deep cut “A Better Son/Daughter” shows that at least Netflix knows to market a series like this with a Weeds-meets-Oz vibe instead of, say, Let’s Go To Prison.