The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2013
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 730 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Jason Biggs, Kate Mulgrew, Natasha Lyonne, Pablo Schreiber, Taryn Manning, Michelle Hurst, Uzo Aduba, Matt McGorry, Danielle Brooks, Yael Stone, Jessica Pimentel
Directed by: Various
Written by: Piper Kerman & Jenji Kohan
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 13, 2014
Orange Is the New Black follows engaged Brooklynite Piper Chapman, whose wild past comes back to haunt her and results in her arrest and detention in a federal penitentiary. To pay her debt to society, Piper trades her comfortable New York life for an orange prison jumpsuit and finds unexpected conflict and camaraderie amidst an eccentric group of inmates.
Adapted from the memoir of the same name by Piper Kerman Orange is the new black is a Netflix Original Series that spins/relates the author’s exploits while in federal prison. The series begins with Piper Chapman who seems to have her life on track, with a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family. She barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years earlier, but that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at a women’s federal correctional facility, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now just a number, one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system.
Beginning with her initial strip search followed by a costly slip of the tongue during her first prison meal, Piper must learn to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Orange is the new black offers a defining perspective into the lives of women in prison. How does one go about making it on the inside? It’s all about relating….
I watched Orange is the new black season one with my wife when it debuted on Netflix streaming and we were instantly hooked. This is a well written comedy/drama with a character driven narrative derived from a cache of wonderfully infused and evolving subplots that orbit around Piper Chapman. I find the show to be more drama than comedy as the innate social themes are infused with the communal undertow of prison life and the daily struggles/conflicts that accompany it. The show is compelling and successfully keeps you off balance as the storyline shifts, ebbs, flows and suspends while effectively drawing you into its world. I found the superbly developed interpersonal relationships some clearly defined while others remain somewhat ambiguous, to be the show’s foundation serving as the springboard from which the juiciest plot points and demonstrably engaging moments are derived. Definitely an adult drama there is mature themes, sexual interplay, and tongue and cheek humor that underpin the proceedings.
There are wonderfully infused subplots which are told via flashback sequences that allow an escape from the confines of the prison as we are given the opportunity to see how some of the characters wound up on the wrong side of the law. Tedium never sets in as the correlation between the past and present is seamless within the narrative’s context and supportive subtext. Star Taylor Schilling owns the character of Piper Chapman and serves as the catalyst for the show’s terrific ensemble cast. Kudos to the show’s writing and directing team who provided such an engaging flow throughout the season. We loved Orange is the new black and eagerly look forward to Season Two.
Orange is the new black season one’s 13 one hour chapters/episodes is presented on Blu-ray in a three disc set (BD-50 dual layered discs) with the bonus content spread over each. It comes housed in a standard amaray style case with a single flip type insert holding disc two.
The show contains mature themes, sexual content, brief nudity and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- *Low frequency extension (non-rated element): NA
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Orange is the new black season one comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 20 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2 Mbps.
This 1.78:1 framed video presentation offers appreciable high definition resolution that has a satisfying glossy aesthetic. Images are stable and sharp with plenty of discernible texture and revealing fine detail during close-ups. Many of the show’s sequences are shot in uneven and low lighting. Shadow delineation and depth is quite good. Blacks are deep while exhibiting appreciable dynamic range with stable yet slightly elevated contrast that never infringes upon fidelity. Colors are snappy and bright and sullen and muted where appropriate. Fleshtones appear descriptive with variable depth that brings out the differing complexional types among the cast. This whistle clean and faithful high definition presentation bests the Netflix streamed image and looks great.
The DTS-HD MA soundtrack features crystal clear dialogue, gratifying dynamic range and a subtle, yet enriching surround sound mix. I was pleased with its use of spacial dimension and directional cues to create a realistic and occasionally immersive sound field. This worked hand in hand with show’s music to build tension and drive its thematic elements. I thought it sounded quite good.
- (HD) New kid on the block – 7 minute featurette
- (HD) Mother hen: Red runs the coup – 6 minute featurette
- (HD) It’s tribal – 7 minute featurette
- (HD) Prison rules – 7 minute featurette
- (HD) Gag reel – 6 minutes
- Production team audio commentary on episodes “I wasn’t ready” and “Can’t fix crazy”
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Adapted from the memoir of writer Piper Kerman Orange is the new black is a well written and compelling prison dramedy that pulls few punches and leaves you hankering for more. Kudos to the show’s writing and directing team who provided such an engaging flow throughout season one. Orange is the new black comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound and a fair supplemental package that offers insights from the cast, crew and author Piper Kerman. For fans that wish to own the series on home video this three disc set is the way to go.
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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
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Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
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System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
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Just my two cents. IT is written by the same author of Weeds, but having sat through that, (all of it) I found that also to be kind of crummy.
Totally agreed on Weeds, it was mostly awful after season 2 or 3, so we'll see what happens with OITNB but color me skeptical as well. It's annoying to me that I see character after character on OITNB and keep repeating -- "saw THAT guy on Weeds." "Saw HER on Weeds..." Come on. They're not SO great you couldn't find someone else. I mean did they even hold auditions? That said, enjoyed the first season. Much better prison show than OZ I'd say.
Much better than Oz! But, it seems to me to be unrealistic in nature. Even female prison is not as they depict here. I do however like the character of the cook, (Capt. Janeway) who astounded me when I realized it was her! man, has gravity been unkind to her or what! She was a beautiful women at one time.