Series Review – Orange is the new black | Netflix |Jenji Kohen

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, The Book Thief

Finally, all I can say is, June 9th better hurry up already…..

The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story

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So, finally got this one wrapped up. Phew! I now see what the fuss was all about. No wonder that this cast and show has won all the awards, attention and acclaim that it has. It deserves every single bit of it. I don’t call myself an expert but it’s honestly one of the most brilliant ensembles I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing in a series. The only exceptions were for Cuba Gooding Jr, who starred in the titular role of O. J. Simpson who for the lack of a better word, I found whiny and John Travolta who played Robert Shapiro; as subpar. But maybe that’s just me. Also, this show has enlightened me on more than one level really. It made me aware of the tragedy that eventually culminated into the trial that’s inspired the first season of this show but also inadvertently made me learn exactly how the Kardashians shot to fame. Yes, really… I couldn’t sit through a single episode of the God forsaken show that’s made celebrities of them and their clan, so I never really understood what exactly made the likes of them such highly popular personalities, because frankly I don’t understand the appeal of their family or even their lives. But it’s now no longer a mystery, as to how they got their all access pass to fame and fortune… however unfortunate the events that laid the foundation of their claim to fame might have been. And it’s left a sour taste in my mouth, to think that there are people who have catapulted to unprecedented fame, the foundation of which lay in the tombstones of two people.

Stranger Things

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Unless you live under a rock, which is to say that you’re living a blissful life away from the internet and without any kind of knowledge of what’s happening in the world beyond your own it’s kinda hard to not know about this show anymore. Precisely why I watched it because darn it, I read so much about it that curiosity got me, and now I’m here. This is a most unusual show, as per me, and that’s exactly where it scores and wherein lies the appeal. Won’t spoil anything for anyone but I would say this is worth a shot for those who have been fans of The X files, Fringe, Black Mirror and the likes. A tip, if like me you aren’t really a sci-fi enthusiast but don’t mind the genre too, don’t give up on the show immediately; took me until the fourth episode to really sink into it