If television is the new novel, and online streaming is the new television, then Orange is the New Black, a literate online drama, couldn’t be more of the moment. The 13-part prison series appeared in full on Netflix in July, joining the revived comedy Arrested Development and the political drama House of Cards among the first wave of Netflix’s original programming.
It’s hard to quantify a Netflix success, given that the company does not release viewing figures, but in just two months, OITNB has entered the pop-cultural debate, inspiring a mass of critical analysis and the sort of dedicated blogs that contain breathy fan fiction. It also turned binge-watching into a competitive sport: “Oh, you saw it in a week? Well, I watched it all in a weekend.”
The show was adapted from Orange is the New Black: My Time in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman. Kerman had spent time in a low-security institution after a decade-old drug-related trafficking offence was exposed by a former lover; her low-key memoir told the story of a middle-class woman suddenly finding herself in a tough new world. Kerman subsequently became an advocate for prison reform.
Source: The Guardian