On Tuesday (April 11), Netflix released the first official tease of “Orange is the New Black” Season 5.
One look at the above video, and it’s clear nothing will ever be the same in Litchfield Penitentiary: A full-scale riot has escalated quickly and, according to Netflix, the new season will be “taking place in real time over the course of just three days.”
Netflix has always been ahead of the game when it comes to the binge-watch model: “OITNB” may have been the streaming platform’s third originally scripted series, but the show’s offbeat narrative structure — the inmate-centric episodes and flashbacks adding deeper insight into this complex story and complex cast of characters — greatly expanded our concept of television and the binge-watch from the jump.
Needless to say, narrative and format reinvention and creativity are the industry’s greatest aspirations — and so, taking the story into a real-time format will only enhance the binge-watching experience. How will we stop watching after just one episode!?
We’re almost certain there won’t be a “24”-style countdown clock keeping the tale on point, and of course the show doesn’t really need that — but we are nervous about that three-day timeline, emotionally speaking: The story’s never felt so urgent as it does now — coming into the season directly out of Poussey Washington’s (Samira Wiley) shocking death means it’s still as fresh for the women of Litchfield, and for all of us, as it could be. Season 5 sounds like it could be just as powerful emotionally as it is intriguing intellectually.
The Litchfield inmates are out to take control of the prison — and three days later, that seems designed to wildly change the lives and dynamics of and between every inmate under that roof. Will Piper (Taylor Schilling), Red (Kate Mulgrew), Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba), Tastee (Danielle Brooks) and the rest finally gain the respect they deserve? Or will this violent coup come crashing down around them? Will everyone even survive?
With four landmark seasons under its belt, the Piper Kerman-inspired tale has the mandate to remain both riveting and relevant — and toward that end, we’re thrilled by this surprising, but in retrospect inevitable, evolution of the shape of both the show and the industry itself.
“Orange is the New Black” Season 5 premieres Friday, June 9 only on Netflix.