We've waited for months and now the second season of Orange Is The New Black is finally live on Netflix.
With it comes a whole host of questions.
Has Piper survived her Christmas ordeal? Will Red reign again as queen of the kitchen? And did Jim from American Pie ever catch up on Mad Men?
Hopefully all will be revealed in the 13 new episodes available to watch here.
If you're not yet familiar with the inmates of Litchfield Prison, here’s 5 reasons to spend your weekend binging on Netflix's finest show since House Of Cards.
1 | It’s Perfect For Box-set Binging
Unlike pop-culture’s current obsession with bleak, heavy drama (Game Of Thrones, Breaking Bad, we're talking to you) OITNB deftly blurs the lines between tragedy and comedy, mixing dark humor with theatrical farce to make each episode hilarious and harrowing in equal measure. In short: it’s a breeze to binge on.
Whether it’s used tampons in the food, intimate uses for screwdrivers, being locked in a washing machine or the delicate matter of ‘prison wives’, OITNB uses humour to deliver surprisingly emotional moments, and you’ll be hard pressed not to watch just one more episode.
2 | It’s Full Of Sharp Dialogue
The show was brought to the small screen by Weeds creator Jenji Kohan, whose show about a woman growing marijuana to support her family was renowned for its wickedly dark humour and tragi-comic moments.
As a result, OITNB shares some of that DNA, full of quotes, quips and one-liners from a cast that are experts in comic timing. Whether it’s middle class white girl Piper being nicknamed ‘Taylor Swift’ to one inmate’s description of prison as “just like the Hamptons… but fucking horrible”, the show never wastes a moment.
From Christianity to Whole Foods to the class system, nothing is safe from OITNB’s barbed remarks.
3 | It Challenges Stereotypes
Prison shows aren't new, and they're riddled with stereotypes, but OITNB earned its praise because it did everything it could to challange issues about the justice system, race, gender, sexuality and class, all without feeling like a show that’s trying to educate or reprimand the viewer.
Like Lost, each episode features flashbacks of the characters before they came to prison, offering complex insights into women who have had to make tough decisions to survive.
4 | It’s Full Of Famous Faces
Whether you recognize Star Trek: Voyager’s Captain Janeway as the Russian mob boss turned chef, That 70’s Show’s Donna as the street-smart lesbian or American Pie’s Jim Levenstein as Piper’s middle-class wet blanket of a fiancée, you’ll find yourself regularly pausing an episode to check out an actor’s IMDB.
So yes – that is True Detective’s Steve Geraci as a prickly prison officer, and yes, that is American Pie’s Jessica playing recovering addict (and prison wisecracker) Nicky.
5 | It’s Full Of Plot Twists
Although it’s natural potential for binge-watching means you’ll be hard pressed to figure out when one episode ends and another begins, Piper’s journey from privileged white girl to manipulative, selfish game-player is full of twists.
Her strained relationship with fiancée Larry might border on soap opera at times, but the constantly shifting alliances on either side of the bars at Litchfield make compelling telly.
And Piper’s deep-rooted rivalry with reformed Christian (and meth-addled inmate) Pensatucky builds towards a ferocious confrontation in the season one finale, setting the stage for big changes come season two. We can’t wait.