Orange is the New Black Blu-ray Review

     Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, Closed-captioned, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:  Not Rated
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • Release Date: May 13, 2014
  • Run Time: 730 minutes



            Orange is the New Black” may be based on the memoirs of Piper Kerman, but it still feels distinctly akin to the work of television creator/producer Jenji Kohan, best known for the hit Showtime series, “Weeds.” From style to sense of humor, “Orange is the New Black” shares a great deal with Kohan’s previous series, but none of the similarities are more significant than the greatly flawed female protagonist at the center of both stories. The final seasons of “Weeds” eventually saw Nancy Parker (Mary-Louise Parker) serving time in prison for her drug dealing, though time served occurred between seasons and was never seen. It would be easy to imagine that her experience would have resembled that of Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling).


            Piper is convicted to spend fifteen months in a federal penitentiary when her wild past drug smuggling for a former lesbian girlfriend comes back to haunt her ideal Brooklynite existence with her straight-laced fiancé (Jason Biggs). To complicate matter even further, Piper finds herself incarcerated alongside her criminal ex-girlfriend, Alex (Laura Prepon). This instigates a series of soap-opera type twists and turns in the narrative, along with all of the expected prison drama, from shower shenanigans to fears of being shanked. All of the elements of the series have been seen elsewhere, but it is Kohan’s unique sense of humor paired with a penchant for cliffhanger endings which give this series a distinct stylistic stamp.


             The strongest aspect of “Orange is the New Black” is the ensemble cast in the prison, complete with an assortment of villains, victims and a combination of both. Part of the reason this is significant to the success of the show is the utterly distasteful selfish nature of the protagonist. Piper’s true desires and intentions rarely seem known even to her, though her actions are always predictably made out of self preservation alone. This can be somewhat trying to endure, as Nancy also became unbearable mid-series as well.


            The second season trailer has just been released, and the full season will be released on Netflix all at once, as was the case with the first. It is likely to be quite some time before the second season will be available for purchase or viewing outside of the streaming entertainment company, but this release allows for new fans without the need for a subscription. Season one has thirteen hour-long episodes, all included in this Blu-ray release along with a digital HD copy. Special features include four featurettes with interviews by Kohan and Kerman, who are also featured in the audio commentaries. Also included is a gag reel.


    Entertainment Value: 8.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10

    Historical Significance:  6.5/10

    Special Features: 7.5/10

    Follow Real Movie News on Facebook and Twitter

    No comments: