Orange is the New Black is THE BEST Netflix series! The streaming service ventured into original programming with House of Cards first – a US adaptation of the British black comedy political series from the 1980s (I think) that featured Ian Richardson as Francis Urquhart, whose catchphrase, ‘you may think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment’ and his devilish asides to the camera were deliciously Machiavellian. The US version stars Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood and Robin Wright as his wife Claire. Produced by David Fincher, it was the sort of high profile, prestige drama that really put Netflix on the map. Very enjoyable and well made, House of Cards was a big hit, and the first of the Netflix model of releasing an entire season on the same day that made binge-watching a real trend.
Then in the summer of 2013, the first series of Orange is the New Black arrived. Based on the book of the same name by Piper Kerman, it stars Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman, a blonde yuppie whose past with a drug running girlfriend leads to her being sentenced to 10 months in a minimum security prison. OITNB came from producer Jenji Kohan, creator of Weeds starring Mary Louise Parker (not a show I ever watched) and had a few familiar faces. Kate Mulgrew from Star Trek Voyager as Russian cook Red, Jason Biggs from the American Pie films as Piper’s fiance Larry, Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning and Laura Prepon plus a lot of new faces. The show can be hard to categorise – indeed, it’s moved from drama to comedy in award show categories as it really is a dramedy! Piper’s fish out of water story is the way in to a world peopled with so many fascinating and diverse characters.