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Orange is the new Black preview

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Season 2 of Orange Is The New Black is coming. If you haven’t been watching, then… well, you just should have, OK?

As anyone who’s seen Porridge will tell you, prison is a right old laugh. You spend all day hanging out with your mates, cracking jokes, playing cards and reading The Sun on your bunk bed, pausing only to verbally abuse the wardens to the delight of a live studio audience. It’s a dream existence, basically.

However, Netflix’s excellent comedy-drama Orange Is The New Black – the first series of which aired last summer to great acclaim – presents a slightly more conflicted image of modern jail time. Set in Litchfield Penitentiary, the show follows the tumultuous sentence of prim, posh Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), who’s been incarcerated for her (unwitting) part in a drug scam organised by her ex-girlfriend Alex (Laura Prepon), who just so happens to be serving time in the same institution.

There are still laughs, of course – provided mainly by Piper’s infinitely patient fiancé Larry (Jason ‘American Pie’ Biggs), highly unstable inmate ‘Crazy Eyes’, and sinister-yet-hilarious warden Mendez (Pablo Schreiber) – but it’s the sprawling, intricate plotting that makes it a must-see, as every inmate has a secret (murderous past, relationship with wardens, in-prison drug smuggling) and they’re interwoven superbly.

The good news, if Season 1 passed you by, is that you can still catch up on Netflix. The better news is that Season 2 is on its way, and will find Piper struggling to deal with (SPOILER ALERT!) the end-of-season assault of a psychotic inmate. We’ll also meet a new inmate, Vee, who’s described by the show’s creator Jenji Kohan as a “streetwise drug maven”, and we’ll see Jim trying to patch up his and Piper’s rapidly fraying relationship. “It’s hard for him to just give up on it, so Season 2 is spent with that sort of turmoil,” said Biggs recently. All of which sounds very entertaining to us.

Season 2 of Orange Is The New Black begins exclusively on Netflix on 6 June; netflix.com

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