Ah, binge-watching. How I love thee...
Settling down on the sofa, well-stocked with nibbles, drinks and (ideally) a pet or seven to snuggle, it's time to dive into a fictional world. Whether it's an old favorite or a new series, binge-watching eliminates the tension of cliff-hanger endings and lets you dissolve into another world for hours on end.
I'll admit, there are plenty of shows that I've binged entire seasons of. From slightly mindless shows that have got me through a hungover Sunday (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidtt), to shows that I was introduced to late in the game, and so spent a week catching up on (Supernatural).
However, there is one particular show that is required binge-watching for me. Coming up to it's fourth season, this Netflix original series drops entire seasons at a time, making it perfect for a good binge. This hugely successful series is a multi-award-winner, and you know that I'm not the only one turning off my phone until I'm up to date!
Orange is the New Black
You guess it, my favorite binge-watching pleasure is Piper Chapman and company in Orange is the New Black.
There are just so many wonderful things to say about this. From the mind of Jenji Kohan (known for Weeds) and based on the book of the same name by Piper Kerman, OITNB is a riveting look at the prison system from the inside.
On the surface, it may seem like a simple drama, but it's so much more than that. Filled with sympathetic and relatable characters, it shows how women of all backgrounds can find themselves in prison - it reveals to the audience that there is no simple division between "us" and "criminals". It uses this connection with the viewer to create empathy for the prisoners, and galvanize the audience into caring about the issues brought up in the show: overcrowding, underfunding, corruption and violence.
The show also sparks discussion (and hopefully, awareness) of issues of gender and sexuality in the prison system. Nowhere is this more evident than in the story of Sophia (played by Laverne Cox) - this character brings to light the many issues faced by trans women in the prison system, especially in Season Three. The characters span a wide range of sexual orientation, with our main character herself seemingly unsure of exactly how she identifies. There have been many articles written about Piper's complex relationship with her own sexuality, and her tendency to change how she refers to herself throughout the show.
Sometimes dark, often hilarious, and filled with plot twists, intrigue, and incredible multi-dimensional characters, Orange is the New Black continues to keep me on the edge of my seat. It's a show that I think everyone should watch, and with almost a full year until the release of season 4, there's plenty of time for you to get up to date with a little binge-watching of your own.