In 2004, Piper Kerman went to prison. In 2011, she wrote a book about it. Now, in 2013, Netflix is bringing that book to life with a new series called Orange is the New Black. It’s still a few weeks out, premiering on July 11th, but a trailer has been released.
Having watched numerous episodes of Locked Up: Abroad, I consider myself somewhat of a drug smuggling expert so of course I’m looking forward to the story of a woman who almost got away with laundering money for her lesbian lover’s heroin operation. Isn’t that the way the majority of Locked Up: Abroad episodes start? “I almost got away with it…“. It’s always either that or “they said it would be easy“. Newsflash, you never get away with it and it’s never easy! On the upside though, you can later write a book about your prison experience and even better than that, it can become a TV series. Isn’t that just the personification of the American dream?
At first glance it just looks like poor little white girl goes to the big bad prison and I guess that’s entertaining enough, but not something that I would necessarily make sure I watched. It wasn’t until I looked a bit further into the cast that my curiosity was really piqued.
Star Trek fans will undoubtedly recognize this woman, but for those of you who never watched Star Trek: Voyager, this is Kate Mulgrew, aka Captain Kathryn Janeway. One has to imagine that her role in Orange is the New Black will be slightly different than that of leading the USS Voyager, but I’m just glad to have Mulgrew back on my TV screen. She’s been a part of some great shows recently, Warehouse 13 and a ‘Gone Too Soon‘ candidate The Black Donnellys, so perhaps this will be decent as well.
Joining Mulgrew is an impressive group that might most be known for playing teenagers in movies like American Pie and shows like That 70’s Show, but now everyone is all grown up and being reminded that smuggling cell phones up your ass is not a good thing. Jason Biggs and his American Pie costar Natasha Lyonne are joined by Donna Pinciotti herself, Laura Prepon.
Obviously a show about a woman’s experience in prison wouldn’t be much without a strong actor in the lead role and Orange is the New Black (there needs to be a widely accepted abbreviation for this title) has that in Taylor Schilling. While most might remember her from that Zac Efron movie (The Lucky One), there were a few of us who watched her on the short lived NBC medical drama, Mercy. The show itself was not great but Schilling wasn’t too bad. She held her own with costars like Kate Mulgrew (again) and the incredible Margo Martindale which is impressive. I’m looking forward to seeing how well she does in jail.
This new Netflix series certainly has a pedigree behind it, there’s no doubt about that. Jenji Kohan is one of the co-creators (the other being Liz Friedman) of Orange is the New Black and is likely most known for her Showtime series, Weeds, which was also a blend of comedy and drama that this new show is being described as. We know she can pull it off once, so it’s just a matter of time before we see if lightening can strike again with Orange is the New Black.