In a brilliant move, Netflix has started streaming season three of “Orange is the New Black” just as Emmy voters begin considering season two. Early reviews for this new block of 13 episodes are very strong. Indeed, it currently scores 83 at MetaCritic based on “universal acclaim.”
Among those singing the show’s praises the loudest is Jeff Jensen (Entertainment Weekly) who enthuses: “As always, I’m awestruck and delighted by the imagination Jenji Kohan and her writers have for their enterprise. The flashbacks. The complex social vision. The inspired, ribald language. The surprising ways the characters reveal themselves in response to triggering events like a plague of bedbugs or an aptitude test.”
James Poniewozik (Time) observes, “In season 3, mother-child connections — actual, potential and surrogate — are everywhere, making, at least in the first half, for a story that’s lighter than the tension-filled season 2, yet richly emotional. (Netflix sent critics six episodes of thirteen in total.)”
And Alan Sepinwall (HitFix) notes, “‘Orange’ remains as sharp and funny and poignant as ever. And with each year, it becomes as self-aware and self-deprecating as the blonde woman who introduced us to the place.” He admits, “I respond more strongly to the dramatic elements than the jokes, but there are so many gags of different stripes (including a lot of ‘Catch 22’-style black humor about the ridiculous way in which the prison is run) that it’s not unreasonable in the slightest to call it a comedy but it’s one of TV’s very best shows, no matter how you slice it.”
In March, the TV academy announced that “OITNB” will contend as a drama at the upcoming Emmys. That decision came despite the Emmys having classified it as a comedy last year for its first breakout season. It won three (Comedy Guest Actress (Uzo Aduba), Casting and Single Camera Editing) of its genre-leading 12 Emmy nominations.
“OITNB” ran afoul of a new rule that defines comedies as shows of only 30 minutes in length. While three other hour-longs — “Glee,” “Jane the Virgin” and “Shameless” — successfully appealed to be considered comedies, the petition by the “OITNB” producers did not pass muster with a two-thirds majority of the nine-person panel (five industry leaders and four appointees from the Board of Governors).
Already this awards season, it has won Best Comedy Series at the PGA Awards and claimed both Comedy Ensemble and Actress (Aduba) at the Screen Actors Guild. In our Emmy predicitons charts, it ranks fourth for both Best Drama Series and Supporting Actress (Aduba).
Prior to last year’s Emmys, “OITNB” had been submitted to both the Golden Globes and SAG Awards as a drama. At the former, it reaped only a bid for Schilling while it was snubbed at the latter. Switching to comedy after those poor showings, the show claimed four nominations from the Writers Guild last year and two this year and also picked up three nominations at this year’s Globes.
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