I believe it’s a rare feat, to achieve for a show – to get better with each passing season – when the idea behind it is to push it’s characters down a deeper and darker lane from when we first met them, with the time passing by.And yet to keep its viewers hooked BECAUSE of that is just incredible. Not to say that all characters end up for the worse on it, eventually because hey there’s Doggett, a character who I never imagined I’d end up liking eventually but it happened.
But it’s human tendency to be enamored by evil and the dark, which explains why Breaking Bad and Game Of Thrones are such cult hits. Today the show that I’m gushing about doesn’t come close to those two iconic shows but in it’s own way is sure gonna have a legacy to leave behind. Netflix’s Orange is the new black, spearheaded by Jenji Kohan, is a show which frankly I never imagined I’d find myself watching let alone being hooked onto it and yet nonetheless it’s happened. Who would think that a drama set in a women’s prison about a bunch of criminals could be worth the time after all, when you first learn about it. But it’s what has worked in the favor of OITNB, it’s absolutely out of the box content.
I remember that when the show initially came out, Netflix wasn’t available in India and neither were there any channels with which the streaming service had entered into a deal to make it available for us Indian viewers back then. The only choice was a good torrent service.
With the internet raving about it, I had come close to wanting to watch it via one as well but I had also learned that it was a show based on a memoir of one Piper Kerman, called, ‘Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison.’ So I did what was easier and normal, sought a copy of the same off Amazon and read it as soon as possible. And felt completely and utterly let down by it. Yep, this is one of those rare instances where the adaptation is better than the inspiration; kinda like 3 Idiots and five point someone.
Naturally, I dropped the idea of wasting precious data and time on watching a show, the inspiration of which failed to work for me.
That was back in 2013 and finally last year as Netflix went global, I bit the bullet and subscribed because holy hell, the crap on Indian TV is beyond insane and crazy and watching anything on the supposed niche English channels airing in the country is now a pain too, what with words beeped out and subtitles blurred where profanities are used, even innuendos (c’mon! urghh) or sequences completely edited out making you wonder WTH happened when suddenly things jumped from point A to C or D. The lure of watching shows without ads, whenever I wished and without anything blurred and beeped/ edited out was enough to make me weep with joy when Netflix further sweetened the pot by allowing offline viewing and I was in my personal heaven, because watching anything online in India without that option is like trying to lose your sanity on purpose, by all the repeated buffering.
Which is how, somehow I ended up downloading the first episode of the very first season of this show because I thought why the hell not, if it can’t entertain at least it will help me sleep or kill time or just travel without having to make small talk when I am not in the mood.
And ended up being amusingly delighted by it.
The black comedy, the best kind IMO, tickled me and I found myself hooked.
Last night, I wrapped up my three month long journey of catching up on the series as I viewed the finale of the fourth season and for nearly half an hour, was stunned and so raw with the events I witnessed, trying to process and take it all in, as to what the hell just happened. Did I see what I really saw and holy shit, what a stupid mistake it would have been had I skipped this series only because I found the book too boring and whiny.
As things sank in my mind, I found myself thinking of the words from one of my favorite books,
“How the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”
― Markus Zusak,
Finally, all I can say is, June 9th better hurry up already…..