Orange Is The New Black Is Back

Is there a massive Crazy Eyes-shaped void in your life? Worry not: the ground-breaking prison comedy-drama Orange is the New Black finally returns next month.

After what feels like our very own prison sentence, season five is released in its entirety on Netflix from Friday 9th June, allowing us all enough time to book that weekend off work to watch it in one sitting.

This season is not without controversy already: A hacker using the moniker thedarkoverlord reportedly grabbed the series from post-production company Larson Studios. The show was held at ransom and threatened to be released but Netflix refused to pay, leading the show to be uploaded to The Pirate Bay. Losing control over their most popular show must come as a big blow to Netflix. But we digress.

SPOILER ALERT: to recap, we all remember the excruciating death of Poussey by the hand of Bayley, as well as the ham-fisted reaction from the prison which saw them reluctant to even inform her family. The prison released Judy King, who is being escorted out when things take a turn for the dangerous and Taystee leads a pseudo-rebellion amongst the inmates.

Humphrey (that cretin who made the inmates fight last season) loses control of his gun and it ends up in the hands of Daya. I remember being so tense I didn’t realise I was grimacing and my hands were clenched in anxiety for a solid 5 minutes.

In short, we were left with a plethora of questions and cliff hangers to be resolved. We know this season spans over a few days, meaning the drama will be even more intense and every moment counts as the inmates negotiate their own rebellion.

With a cast as hugely diverse and captivating as this one, it’s not easy picking a favourite character; few are funnier than Taystee, sadder than Morello or more berserk than Crazy Eyes.

This die-hard fan’s favourite, however, is hairdresser Sophia, portrayed perfectly by the show’s breakout star Laverne Cox. Named this month as not only one of the Time 100 but one of People’s Beautiful People 2015, Cox has emerged as a true cultural icon and has done immeasurable work for transgender exposure.

There is a lot to love about Orange; for one, it is hilarious. It’s an impressive feat for a show to execute both belly laughs and darkly funny observations so perfectly, never confusing the tone of the programme or compromising the grimness that inevitably comes with a women’s prison drama. But it’s the sheer diversity in Orange that makes it stand out from every other comedy drama.

The show features an unprecedented number of lesbians, bisexual and transgender women of all races and dedicates adequate attention to tell their stories. The promotion and celebration of racial and sexual minorities is what makes this show landmark television, the cultural significance of which cannot be overstated.

OITNB isn’t afraid to cross the line: many storylines feel close to the bone and bring a real element of danger or tension. If you haven’t seen this show, don’t worry: you have plenty of time to blitz the first four seasons on Netflix.

If anything you’ll gain a whole new appreciation for having a bathroom door of your very own, as well as a whole new appreciation for the many uses of a screwdriver.

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