Orange Is the New Black (sometimes abbreviated to OITNB) is an American comedy-drama web television series created by Jenji Kohan for Netflix. The series is based on Piper Kerman's memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison (2010), about her experiences at FCI Danbury, a minimum-security federal prison. Orange Is the New Black premiered on July 11, 2013 on the streaming service Netflix. In February 2016, the series was renewed for a fifth, sixth, and seventh season. The fifth season was released on June 9, 2017. The series is produced by Tilted Productions in association with Lionsgate Television.
Orange Is the New Black has become Netflix's most-watched original series. It has received critical acclaim and many accolades. For its first season, the series garnered 12 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, winning three. A new Emmy rule in 2015 forced the series to change categories from comedy to drama. For its second season, the series received four Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series, and Uzo Aduba won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Orange Is the New Black is the first series to score Emmy nominations in both comedy and drama categories. The series has also received six Golden Globe Award nominations, six Writers Guild of America Award nominations, a Producers Guild of America Award, an American Film Institute award, and a Peabody Award.
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The series revolves around Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a woman in her 30s living in New York City who is sentenced to 15 months in Litchfield Penitentiary, a minimum-security women's federal prison (initially operated by the "Federal Department of Corrections," a fictional version of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and later acquired by Management & Correction Corporation (MCC), a private prison company) in upstate New York. Piper had been convicted of transporting a suitcase full of drug money for her girlfriend Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), an international drug smuggler. The offense was 10 years prior to the start of the series and in that time Piper had moved on to a quiet, law-abiding life among New York's upper middle class. Her sudden and unexpected indictment severely disrupted her relationships with her fiancé, family and friends.
In prison, Piper is reunited with Alex (who named Piper in her trial, resulting in Piper's arrest) and they re-examine their relationship. Simultaneously, Piper must learn how to survive in prison and how to overcome its numerous, inherent struggles. Episodes often feature flashbacks of significant events from various inmates' and prison guards' pasts. These flashbacks typically explain how the inmate came to be in prison or develop the character's backstory.
The show pays close attention to how corruption, drug smuggling, funding cuts, overcrowding and guard brutality affect the prisoners' health and well-being and the prison's basic ability to fulfil its fundamental responsibilities and ethical obligations as a federal corrections institution. One of the show's key conflicts involves the prison Director of Human Activities, Joe Caputo, whose efforts and aims as a warden constantly conflict with the business interests of MCC, which acquired the facility when it was about to be shut down.
Show creator Jenji Kohan read Piper Kerman's memoir after a friend sent it to her. She then set up a meeting with Kerman to pitch her on a TV adaptation, which she notes she "screwed up" as she spent most of the time asking Kerman about her experiences she described in the book rather than selling her on the show. This appealed to Kerman as it let her know that she was a fan and she signed off on the adaptation. Kohan would later go on to describe the main character, Piper Chapman, as a "trojan horse" for the series, allowing it to focus on characters whose demographics would not normally be represented on TV.
In July 2011, it was revealed that Netflix was in negotiations with Lionsgate for a 13-episode TV adaptation of Kerman's memoirs with Kohan as creator. In November 2011, negotiations were finalized and the series had been greenlit. Casting announcements began in August 2012 with Taylor Schilling, the first to be cast, in the lead role as Piper Chapman, followed by Jason Biggs as Piper's fiancé Larry Bloom.
Laura Prepon and Yael Stone were next to join the series. Abigail Savage, who plays Gina, and Alysia Reiner, who plays Fig, had auditioned for role of Alex Vause. Prepon initially auditioned for Piper Chapman, however Kohan felt she would not worry about her [in prison], noting a "toughness and a presence to her that wasn’t right for the character." Kohan instead gave her the role of Alex. Stone had originally auditioned for the role of Nicky Nichols, but she was not considered "tough enough" for the character; she was asked to audition for Lorna Morello instead. Likability was important for Morello, whom casting director Jen Euston deemed "a very helpful, nice, sweet Italian girl." Laverne Cox, a black transgender woman, was cast as Sophia Burset, a transgender character. The Advocate touted Orange Is the New Black as possibly the first women-in-prison narrative to cast a transgender woman for this type of role. Natasha Lyonne was to audition for Alex, but was asked to read for the character Nicky Nichols; "[Kohan knew] she could do Nicky with her eyes closed. She was perfect," said Euston. Uzo Aduba read for the part of Janae Watson but was offered the character Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren. Taryn Manning was offered the role of Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett. This American Life host Ira Glass was offered a role as a public radio host, but he declined. The role instead went to Robert Stanton, who plays the fictional host Maury Kind.
The series is set in a fictional prison in Litchfield, New York, which is a real town in upstate New York, but it does not have a federal penitentiary. The series began filming in the old Rockland Children's Psychiatric Center in Rockland County, New York, on March 7, 2013. The title sequence features photos of real former female prisoners including Kerman herself.
On June 27, 2013, prior to the series premiere, Netflix renewed the show for a second season consisting of 13 episodes. For the second season, Uzo Aduba, Taryn Manning, Danielle Brooks, and Natasha Lyonne were promoted to series regulars. Laura Prepon did not return as a series regular for a second season because of scheduling conflicts, but returned for season 3 as a regular. On May 5, 2014, the series was renewed for a third season, as revealed by actress Laura Prepon. For the third season, several actors were promoted to series regulars, including Selenis Leyva, Adrienne C. Moore, Dascha Polanco, Nick Sandow, Yael Stone, and Samira Wiley. Both Jason Biggs and Pablo Schreiber were confirmed as not returning for the third season, but Schreiber appeared in the 10th episode of the third season. The series was renewed for a fourth season on April 15, 2015, prior to its third-season premiere. For the fourth season, Jackie Cruz and Lea DeLaria were promoted to series regulars; with Elizabeth Rodriguez also being promoted by the season's sixth episode. On February 5, 2016, the series was renewed for a fifth, sixth and seventh season.
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|5||76% (33 reviews)||67 (20 reviews)|
The first season received positive reviews from critics, review aggregator Metacritic gave it a weighted average score of 79 out of 100 based on reviews from 32 critics, indicating favorable reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, season one has a 93% approval rating based on 40 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2 out of 10 . The site's critical consensus is "Orange Is the New Black is a sharp mix of black humor and dramatic heft, with interesting characters and an intriguing flashback structure."
Hank Stuever, television critic for The Washington Post, gave Orange Is the New Black a perfect score. In his review of the series, he stated: "In Jenji Kohan's magnificent and thoroughly engrossing new series, Orange Is the New Black, prison is still the pits. But it is also filled with the entire range of human emotion and stories, all of which are brought vividly to life in a world where a stick of gum could ignite either a romance or a death threat." Maureen Ryan, of The Huffington Post, wrote: "Orange is one of the best new programs of the year, and the six episodes I've seen have left me hungry to see more."
The second season also received critical acclaim. Rotten Tomatoes gave a rating of 98%, with an average rating of 9.1 out of 10 based on 42 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads: "With a talented ensemble cast bringing life to a fresh round of serial drama, Orange Is the New Black's sophomore season lives up to its predecessor's standard for female-led television excellence. Metacritic gave the second season a score of 89 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "universal acclaim." David Wiegland of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the season a positive review, calling the first six episodes "not only as great as the first season, but arguably better."
The third season received critical acclaim. On Metacritic, it has a score of 83 out of 100 based on 24 reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 96% rating with an average score of 8.2 out of 10 based on 53 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads: "Thanks to its blend of potent comedy and rich character work, Orange is the New Black remains a bittersweet pleasure in its third season."
The fourth season received critical acclaim. On Metacritic, it has a score of 86 out of 100 based on 19 reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 95% rating with an average score of 8.6 out of 10 based on 39 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads: "Orange is the New Black is back and better than ever, with a powerful fourth season full of compelling performances by the ensemble cast." James Poniewozik of The New York Times reviewed the fourth season as "Do you measure the quality of a TV season as a beginning-to-end average or by how well it ends? By the first yardstick, Season 4 is ambitious but uneven; by the latter, it's the series' best."
The fifth season has received mixed to positive reviews from critics. On Metacritic, it has a score of 67 out of 100 based on 20 reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 76% rating with an average score of 7.47 out of 10 based on 33 reviews.
Orange Is the New Black has received many accolades since its debut. The series has garnered 16 Emmy Award nominations and four wins. For its first season, it received 12 Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, winning three. Taylor Schilling received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama. In 2013, the American Film Institute selected the series as one of the Top 10 Television Programs of the Year.
A new Emmy rule in 2015, classifying half-hour shows as comedies and hour-long shows as dramas, forced the series to change categories from comedy to drama for its second season. That year, the series received four Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series, and Aduba won her second Emmy Award, for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Orange Is the New Black became the first series to receive Emmy nominations in both comedy and drama categories. For its second season, the series also received three Golden Globe Award nominations: Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy for Schilling, and Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for Aduba. At the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards, the series won Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series and Aduba won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series.
For its third season, Orange Is the New Black won Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series (Aduba). It received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy. The series has also received, among other accolades, six Writers Guild of America Award nominations, five Satellite Awards, four Critics' Choice Television Awards, a GLAAD Media Award, an American Cinema Editors Award, a Producers Guild of America Award, and a Peabody Award.
The series began airing on broadcast television in New Zealand on TV2 on August 19, 2013. It premiered in Australia on October 9, 2013, on Showcase. The second season began on Showcase on July 16, 2014, and the third season premiered on June 11, 2015. The first season began airing on broadcast television in the UK on Sony Channel from April 19, 2017.
In April 2017, it was reported that a cybercriminal had stolen the first ten episodes of the fifth season in a security breach of a post-production company. Netflix failed to respond to ransom demands, and the cybercriminal leaked the episodes online. Netflix confirmed the security breach and an ongoing investigation by federal law enforcement. Multichannel News reported that demand for the series significantly increased over the seven-day period following the leak of the episodes. It was also said that the leak would likely cause a decrease in demand for the fifth season when Netflix releases it in June.
Orange Is the New Black generated more viewers and hours viewed in its first week than the other Netflix original series House of Cards and Arrested Development. In October 2013, Netflix stated that the show is a "tremendous success" for the streaming platform. "It will end the year as our most watched original series ever and, as with each of our other previously launched originals, enjoys an audience comparable with successful shows on cable and broadcast TV." As reported in February 2016, Orange Is the New Black remains Netflix's most-watched original series. In 2016, a New York Times study of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that Orange Is the New Black is one of the shows most watched in urban areas, and despite its "minority-rich ensemble cast," the series "appeals more to a white audience."
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