In the annals of prison dramas, Orange is the New Black is not Oz (which will give you nightmares for eternities.) There is violence, but in its 13 episodes, the show chooses to linger on the everyday of prison life. In a “kaleidoscope of experiences,” Orange is the New Black follows Piper, but frequently diverts its attention to the peripheral characters who populate the prison. Another familiar face, Laura Prepon (who apparently looks totally fantastic with any hair color), plays Piper’s former girlfriend Alex. Simultaneously penned for their joint crimes, Alex’s presence creates an unconventional love triangle for the newly engaged Piper. Orange is the New Black is not shy about their—or anyone else’s—lesbianism, a move that feels simultaneously brave and, you know, about time. Race and women’s sexual issues are at the center of Orange is the New Black and, perhaps most meaningfully in this department, we meet Sophia, a transgender woman of color. Played by Laverne Cox, an actual transgender woman of color, Sophia and the rest of the women in Litchfield are, for all their faults and sorrows, a triumph in the discussion of whose stories we deem “valuable” enough to see on our TVs.
Did you see it? Are you dying after that giant cliffhanger? Don’t worry, Orange is the New Black has already been renewed for season two.