Stuff I’m watching right now to stay sane…

Ah yes, sanity, it’s an interesting subject right now and like the elevator industry for me it has it’s ups an downs… The truth is and although ‘governments’ are trying to get folks back to work and out of lock down, it isn’t over yet, not for a long while and personally I’m staying in for the near and possibly distant future. 

Just how am I staying sane every other day in this emerging world of being inside and sat on one’s posterior? It’s simple really, I’m re watching a lot of stuff that I liked in the past so here are a few recommendations that have been keeping me distracted from my own sanity…

Life on Mars – Series by BBC – Available via Netflix 

BBC One - Life on Mars

It’s hard for even me to accept that 2006 is over 15 years ago but facts and age realisations aside because Life on Mars is somewhat of a time travelling gem in my eyes. This is because the show has aged rather well and portrays 1970’s Manchester through the eyes of Detective Sam Tyler who is run over in the present day and wakes up there – it’s a pretty genius and ‘out there’ concept that works. Sam must survive life in the 70’s as a detective and find a way home.

There’s a level of authenticity about the whole thing and not to mention the atmosphere is captured well. Now I was born in the late 80’s but after watching it beside my Old man back in the day who left school in ’74, he can vouch for the authenticity of what is a police procedural show that captures the times and has a side serving of science fiction/Bowie-esqe weirdness. Because it arrived in 2006 there isn’t a lot of PC stuff which makes for more realism and if you do watch it, the show is dominated by a great performance from Phillip Glenister who plays the boozing, scruff snatching, say what he want’s DCI Gene Hunt and not to mention the soundtrack is golden!

The X-Files (Season 2) – Available on Amazon Prime 

Without doubt Sci fi television what not be what it is today without Mulder and Scully’s antics. I’m currently near the end of Season 2 and this show overall is still very watchable and stands up to today’s standards. Just the stand alone capers these agents find themselves in make for some great 45 minute escapism with a hint of the weird.

Amazon.com: The X-Files: Season 2: David Duchovny, Gillian ...

Spotlight – Netflix 

Although it’s not a show, Spotlight is a great film that has been on my sights for a while and so the other day I spent an evening watching what is a gripping roller coaster of deception and unravelling of truth. The film follows a group of investigative journalists in Boston who uncover the truth about a racket of sexual abusers in the Catholic church.

Spotlight (film) - Wikipedia

What hit me the most was how determined these journalists were in finding the truth. They weren’t looking to create a story, they were proper journalists – unlike many in the media we see today. It just reminds us how there can be responsible ways news can be reported as opposed to the fear mongering, bad news churning machines most outlets are today.

The cast is stellar, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo head up a great film and story which will keep you gripped.

The Walking Dead – Season 3 – Available of many platforms 

The Walking Dead season 3: All named character deaths

It’s such a shame this show became what it did, but back in the day in the earlier seasons this show had a heart and soul. It portrayed horror and the struggle of surviving. The characters and their arcs were like nothing we had seen in the genre. It was beyond a soap opera, it was an art that the actors wonderfully created. The acting in this thing has always been great and recently I have been working my way through what is a show that I keep close to my heart- up to season 6 anyway.

For those who have never tasted water from the walking dead well, try the first few season and you’ll understand.

Aliens – DVD 

Aliens (1986) – Deep Focus Review – Movie Reviews, Critical Essays ...

Possibly the finest hour of space action. Aliens is the blockbuster sequel to possibly the finest hour of space horror and they are both in my top 10. James Cameron directs what is both action and horror fused together by the unknown of what a small team of mercenaries and a survivor from last time face. The cast, the production design, the action, the suspense all of it still hold up very well today for what is a film that released way back in 1986. The extended version isn’t that much longer than the cinematic version so it’s worth a look. Of course Sigourney Weaver sealed her place in the action hero hall of fame. Watch it, you will not be disappointed.

And so that wraps up the things I’ve been watching to stay sane. What have you been doing to stay sane? 

Revisiting ‘The Staircase’ – I think he did it…

True crime documentaries have taken a huge leap in quality as of recent. One of the culprits of that is Netflix and a few years ago I watched a documentary called ‘The Staircase’ and within a few episodes I was hooked and immersed. 

For those who have Netflix, this is essential if not mandatory viewing and covers the story of Michael Peterson – a man who is accused of pushing his wife down the stairs to a bloody death. The circumstances are odd and suspicious. After a second viewing of the whole deal, I am more than certain he did it… but why?

This post is best suited for those who have watched the Staircase. But those who haven’t be warned this will contain spoilers… 

The Staircase | Netflix Official Site

The whole docu-series is candid and unique look from the accused side of view,  for most it is seemingly on his side and it’s one hell of a roller coaster. Even with my now stance of thinking he did it, I am still aligned with how he was treated by the justice system of America. You do feel for the man and his journey. The District Attorney and Police force played some very dirty games and did everything they could just to get a conviction.

Peterson for all he’s accused of, seems like a nice and fair man. A veteran from the Vietnam conflict and father to four children, two of which are from a previous marriage and the other two, daughters from, well this is where the alarm bells begin to ring…

It turns out a close female friend previously died in very similar circumstances in Germany some years previous. After her death Peterson adopted her two daughters in an act of what appears to be kindness. But then the evidence begins to unravel.

All of this is just my opinion but I think he deliberately murdered these two women because both times they reacted badly to realizing his (bi) sexuality. Now this is just me spit-balling here but the sexuality concept is a big deal in the case. The police found stuff on his computer to suggest he was intending to do ‘stuff’ outside his marriage. While this alone isn’t any cause for murder and especially today with bisexuality and homosexuality being much more tolerated and considered the norm. Both times these women had to of found out and he either wanted to silence them or they didn’t accept it.

Another important point I noticed the second time around is that Michael Peterson loves the camera to a point where he is revelling in the coverage but not in an obvious way. We all know Ted Bundy loved the spotlight and so does Peterson but in a subtle way. He did it and that’s perhaps something we will never know.

What do you think? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lock down Survival Binge-watch Recommendations

I love me some good TV and the longer a series is the better. Call me a character development buff because I am, and seeing as many places all around the globe are facing lock down situations this is a perfect opportunity to kick back and watch some good shows!

Here are my binge watching recommendations for surviving lock down!

For a show that started way back in 1993 you would have thought as a 90’s kid I would be down with the X-files but the truth is (no pun intended), I have only just started watching it!

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Now my Mrs finds the show’s theme a little eerie and vividly remembers being scared by the Simpsons X-files episode (which was awesome too) but I will admit this show is great and even for something on the more retro scale it holds up quite well.

For those who haven’t seen it, here’s my upshot…

‘Fox Mulder’ (A young David Duchovny) plays a ‘believer’ of a Special Agent in the FBI who spends his time investigating the macabre to the paranormal and everything else in between. These investigations are known as the X-files and Agent ‘Dana Scully’ (an even younger Gillian Anderson) is tasked with finding out if the x-files is a viable resource in the FBI while inadvertently being swept up in the storm of belief.

Their on screen chemistry works incredibly well and very early on they become good friends, their partnership carries the show in what follows a monster of the week formula (anything and everything in sci-fi) while also delving into a longer ‘the man is always watching’ type story arc.

The main selling point is that the X-files is available on at least one platform wherever you are in the world and the amount of episodes (8 series worth) is a sure fire way to spend lock down and survive it! 

We’re going to continue with the Sci-fi theme and look at what I consider to be the best ever Robot fiction show and possibly story…

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Westworld ticks nearly every damn box available for a show with such a high quality. I was blown away by the first season which introduces us to a distant future world with a living, breathing and gun toting amusement park; hence the name of the show.

Guests pay money to basically live and stay in a Red Dead Redemption type world; they can befriend people, go on quests and pretty much do what they like. The world is populated by ‘people’ who are in fact very real looking robots and this is where the performances grip you.

Evan Rachel Wood is exceptional in this as ‘Dolores’ and for television it’s an all star cast including James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris and the one and only Anthony Hopkins who brings a master class level of acting to this show that explores the morality of robots in confinement who are forced to do everything over and over again.

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Evan Rachel Wood

The first season is just the tip of an incredible underbelly with twists and turns but most importantly, revelations! Even for those who think sci fi isn’t their cup of tea, the performances and story will grip you, trust me! 

There are currently 2 seasons available with the 3rd currently being broadcast over the next few weeks!

We’re going to take an almost swerve in another direction now and head into true crime which is a genre if done well that I cannot look away from.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes sheds a brand new murderous light over one of the most infamous serial killers of the 20th century. This show also introduces it to a brand new generation of folks like me who was born the year (spoiler alert) Ted Bundy was executed…

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The tapes consist of interviews Bundy did while on death row as he reflects on a life that involved brutally murdering many many women. For a 4 part series it manages to cover in detail his chronology in doing what he did. It’s stylishly cut and put together with archive footage and interviews that make it a chilling but ever so addictive binge watch!

Available on Netflix this one will distract you for a while! 

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Continuing with the Netflix documentary theme this one you’ll find to be absurd and a little bit harrowing because the Devil Next Door is like something from a film but it actually happened. Quoting the google (because this pretty much covers it), a Cleveland Grandfather is brought to Trial in Israel, accused of being the infamous Nazi death camp guard Ivan the Terrible…

Trust me when I say this one is addictive, gripping and of course it pays homage to the so many people who faced atrocities during WW2 who still deserve to be remembered for what they went through. Here’s my full review… 

It’s not all Netflix originals or HBO because here at the Hall of Information we have to give credit where credit is due and AMC have put together some awesome shows over the years. Even if it has fallen out of favor from me The Walking Dead is a binge watch institution and I am going out on a limb to say, just watch the first 5 seasons…

 

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The characters, the setting, the special effects, the story and hell the theme song along with everything else cannot be faulted with the first 5 season of TWD. Considering what’s happening just outside our windows this one will capture your imagination and heart.

Seeing as the amount of time we’re all going to be in lock down may change, you shall probably be seeing more television rec’s quite soon! 

Have you got a binge watching recommendation for lock down?

 

 

 

 

‘I Am Not Okay With This’ – Mini Netflix Review

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This was an exceptional mini series! So much so I felt compelled to pen a pint sized review just after watching the dramatic finale episode and trust me it was both dramatic and a little graphic!  

On the surface ‘ I Am Not Okay with This’ looks like a ‘Carrie’ parody but think of it more as a sophisticated, funny, slick and modern version of it with the volume turned all the way up.

Led by Sophia Lillis of IT 2017 fame is fantastic and carries what is a great diary style story of a young high school girl who discovers she has telekinetic powers amongst her struggle with the many problems of recently loosing a parent. The whole deal unfolds in short manageable episodes leaving you wanting more – this one has got classic Netflix binge-ability written all over it. Another familiar face from ‘IT’ Wyatt Oleff brings the sometimes laugh out loud but endearing comedy of the MC’s love interest as they journey through teenage angst of not fitting in and discovering themselves.

From detention shenanigans to the typical teenage parties this short series manages to pack in one hell of an image that modern kids have of school and their individual struggles. It’s fun, powerful and immersive!

For anyone looking to watch something a little different, check it out! The soundtrack is great also!

 

Do you have a Netflix rec? 

The Irishman – Review

Martin Scorsese delivers with his impeccable standard while managing to make a story heartfelt and a tribute to a timeless genre by way of some fantastic performances…

I haven’t seen Joe Pesci in a film since probably ‘Casino’ and even after all that time he hasn’t lost any of his presence and the same can be said about everything else in what is arguably the Netflix film of the year

irishman

For a gangster epic ‘The Irishman’ feels subtle in some senses, especially for Scorsese who is known for that ‘Goodfellas’ style of telling you it how it is and who could forget the fourth wall breaking style that he adopted yet again in ‘the Wolf of Wall Street’.

In the earlier stages of this film it takes a little while to work out that this is the story of a Henchman/Problem Solver/ ‘House Painter’ known as Frank Sheeran portrayed by Robert De Niro who may be the greatest actor of a generation. It is on this journey that Frank delves deeper and deeper into the world of ‘bosses’ and he meets Russell Bufalino (Pesci); a somewhat quiet but powerful type. In this world Frank becomes renowned for ‘problem solving’ and it isn’t long until his perhaps not so reputable ways of handling business is noticed. Al Pacino plays the man (Jimmy Hoffa) who notices Frank’s efforts and they develop a bodyguard/adviser friendship.

It’s obvious to see these three greats of cinema have aged but that doesn’t take anything away from their performance, in fact they may be older but arguably better than ever at portraying the characters they did. There’s a combination of computer generated effects and make up that works well in showing their age and perhaps youth. This is a story that is told over time.

For a Scorsese film it runs long but with a sense of freedom this time around. Scenes of dialogue feel extended almost as if the camera starts rolling prior to the plot lines being anywhere near said. The truth is I never noticed the film’s length even if I did watch this in 2 sittings (I go to bed early on weekdays, it’s how I stay looking this good…). Not once did my attention waver and the story felt somewhat final in some senses like this could be it for a generation of gangster films like this. Easily I could imagine a story like this being turned into a serial of five or so episodes. The three hour plus running time would let you watch it that way.

Those who are familiar with Scorsese’s works will thoroughly enjoy this, a film with cinema worthy presence. Anyone else I would recommend it to just for the level of performances that compliment a great story. I enjoyed it.

9/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘The Devil Next Door’ – Netflix Review

In quite recent times Netflix have led the way in creating some truly gripping and informative documentaries. Over the past year I’ve kind of become obsessed with the stack of true crime programs that the now giant of streaming has to offer. Even though many of these stories are harrowing, chilling and disturbing; I find myself fascinated sometimes.

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Last week I came across a new release and at the time it appeared in the #1 trending thingy that Netflix have recently introduced – a feature somewhat better than ‘stuff you might like’ – in terms of television shows and their popularity the masses don’t lie most of the time.

‘The Devil Next Door’ happened to be sitting in that #1 trending spot and the trailer began playing before I could do anything and I was instantly hooked on the premise. That premise being the story of John Demjanjuk a retired Ukrainian who lived in America and was an American citizen until he was arrested for being identified as a Nazi war criminal.

Even now the subject matter is pretty heavy and to this day there isn’t a definitive answer why so many Jewish people lost their lives in what was a mass extermination during world war two. For me, even thinking about it and how much those people suffered is enough to first make me angry and then upset. So some of this 5 part documentary not only covers some harrowing subjects but it also shows some footage of what is probably just the tip of a sinister iceberg – this one isn’t for the sensitive types.

John Demjanjuk or ‘Ivan the terrible’ as he used to be known as while working in Nazi death camps finds himself extradited to Israel and what unfolds is a lengthy court case which could lead to conviction and possibly execution. The whole thing is spread out over a long time and throughout I found myself asking have they got the right guy here? Evidence isn’t as definitive as it would be today and this court case took place in the 80’s. Photo’s of him as a younger man are from identification papers from the world war era and it’s obvious to see he’s a lot older. This is just one of the many variables in what is a gripping account of court room footage and angst amongst the people this man might have committed vile acts against.

The whole morale dilemma runs parallel to a battle of identity along with right versus wrong. If this is the right guy should they be entitled to execute him? Would letting him live be a compassionate act that rises above what all of those people suffered? Should the court case have taken place on neutral ground? The whole concept is layered intricately with these questions and a roller coaster ride that I couldn’t look away from. The outcome might come as a shock which I won’t share but recommend you watch.

 The Devil Next Door is an enduring watch with a heavy subject matter, a subject matter that history cannot and will not ignore, it’s graphic in some places but it has to be because what we are shown is nowhere near as bad as what the real people suffered. It’s dramatic and even shocking in places but will hold your attention throughput. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk about the Breaking Bad film…

A slight delay in reaction over here at the Hall of information because I have been in the cave of intensive writing and with the fear of my brain becoming mush I’m attempting to pallet cleanse as well as discuss the fact Netflix have announced a Breaking Bad movie.

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‘El Camino’ will grace the screens (of those who have paid, mostly) this October and from the reaction I have seen, only present’s one real question:

AM I THE ONLY ONE CONCERNED ABOUT THIS? 

I’m trying not to be a party pooper here but can anybody entertain my point which I fully intend to defend.

Breaking Bad is simply a masterpiece, a fu**ing masterpiece of modern television storytelling. Some of you will know my favorite show of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer but even I know and appreciate there is a difference between something being the outright best and my personal favorite.

Digressing here but you can link the two shows, they both would have shared the same number of seasons initially but Buffy was basically ordered by the higher ups to keep running. (spoilers here but it’s no longer 2001) Buffy’s season five and it’s finality of the main character’s death sort of expressed that and quite honestly it’s the most powerful and beautiful moment of the whole deal. The same goes for the finality of Breaking Bad’s final episode (well we think ‘W.W’ died anyways). The story of Breaking Bad had a beginning and middle and finally an end. And it avoided cancellations, apart from the writers strike all seasons were of decent length and above all it finished on its own terms.

Of course the second billed ‘Jessie Pinkman’ rode off into the sunset during that finale but can’t the rest be left up to the imagination? A lot of what I liked about this show was killed off during the experience – the characters.

The defense

I am only suggesting this if ‘El Camino’ is bad, so my counter is simple.

Vince Gilligian – the genius behind Breaking Bad has returned for this film. So no matter what, we are in safe hands right?

Your opinion?

Don’t come at me with that ‘I haven’t seen it’ crap and I mean that in the most polite of ways, but seriously its the show of the decade! I’m excitedly concerned and look forward to seeing how they carry on what is a perfect story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange is the new black Season 7 – Review

A show that isn’t afraid to be the mirror of truth displaying a reflection back to the modern world…

Orange is the New Black carved a path for modern television. Being the third ‘Netflix original’ it introduced the entertainment world to a brand new concept; binge watching. But that isn’t all this show is responsible for and quite honestly I’m a little cut up that it’s finished.

There aren’t many shows out there that make you laugh, think, get angry, feel sad and overall feel fulfilled like ‘Orange’ does in one episode. I have always raved about this show and I will proudly say there isn’t one bad episode or one bad series.

Piper is finally on the outside, her struggles intertwine with what it is like to be someone in this day and age struggling the find work and life balance while still trying to maintain her probation. Her story steers this season which feels like a change as the ensemble have had the floor for the past few years. We see Larry again and Piper’s journey seems to close after going full circle. Although I never approved of Alex their relationship finally finds balance.

Taystee is reeling from the shocking outcome that saw the riot pinned to her or at least the killing of Piscatella. She starts with nothing to lose but we see her eventually reform and it probably becomes the most rewarding journey seen in this show, even though she was knocked down, she found a way to get back up and we always knew Taystee was the one of the good guys.

Nicky seems to find only struggle and is caught between her prison family – both Lorna and Red are essentially receding into their own minds and the performance of these three in particular stands out along with ‘Crazy Eye’s Suzanne’ who may be the best actress in the whole damn thing.  

Joe Caputo really is a victim of the times as he is thrown into a ‘me too’ scandal and cannot help himself along with trying to maintain relevance and a relationship with Fig.

The prison itself is thrown into political and moral dilemmas such as the new warden being chosen simply for PR reasons and an ever growing drugs problem.

There are so many other characters I possibly couldn’t name that endure their own journey bringing this show to its eventual close but something happened during this final season, and although I know it has always been there from episode 1 but this show turned everything back towards the audience as if we were looking in a mirror but the reflection we saw was the ugly truth about this world. From corporations, politics, immigration, drugs, mental health, education, race and even harassment we saw it all.  There was even a huge dig towards Donald Trump’s immigration policies adding just another relevant dimension.

The performances throughout display some of the finest acting I have ever seen and known. Some win and others lose in what I found to be an emotional finish to what is a show that ended too soon. A show about humanity’s best and worst – pretty much all of the main characters are women which is yet another big important step for society.

You’ll notice this review is hyper vague because there is so much detail I could go into about how this show gave so much to society and I’m not exaggerating. All those hero stories out there get nowhere near Orange is the New Black. 

 

Stranger Things 3 Review

The Duffer Brothers have gradually pieced together a universe that fuses gripping story telling with references from their many childhood influences. Now after three seasons Stranger Things relies less upon the retro callbacks of days gone by and more on its own identity even if they do still tribute pop culture of the 1980’s; the greatest thing that has become of this show is the characters.

Before we start its worth a quick mention that this post contains some spoilers for Stanger Things Season 3….

Character development that falls in favor of the viewer is the real wonder of television. Writers and show runners who listen to their audience give them exactly what they want along with a couple of surprises – exactly what the Stranger Things team have done with season 3 and continuing on with the previous season. There are some formidable groupings of the faces we want to see; Dustin and Steve Harrington continue their friendship and carry a chemistry that is great to watch even if it is berated by new face Robin who finds an original way to slot into the cast. I must also mention Erica for her sometimes sassy but always entertaining swagger.

Of course the original group of kids are center piece and it soon becomes apparent that growing up is probably the main theme of this whole thing and it always has been. They are teenagers now and trying to find your way in this world – now that you are aware of it is daunting and so are relationships. Will, the brunt of two seasons feels held back in moments, he hasn’t been able to have a ‘normal’ childhood and is still catching up; full credit for the writers in giving Will a better purpose than being the missing or possessed kid this time around, perhaps his journey is the most emotional.

Law man Jim Hopper is back and we see him experience first hand the perils of parenthood to a mid teen in Eleven, he attempts to ‘talk’ with his adopted daughter but defaults to his thug ways especially as it’s peace time now. And I say thug because Hopper is but in a totally bad ass way. He teams with Joyce Buyers and together they find a common goal in protecting the kids while having some excellent back and forth dialogue capped off by the returning conspiracy man Murray; who is responsible for creating Jonathan and Nancy – a couple that become an important moving part in the whole duration of this season.

There is something lurking underneath the surface of Hawkins and it makes for an original and perhaps absurd direction for the story, but after all the show is called Stranger Things. The influences come out thick and fast from the Terminator and even the Thing; both of which are done exceptionally. I was happy to see a tribute to 1985’s blockbuster ‘Back to the Future’ which I am sure many were expecting. The music was bang on point as usual along with the synth soundtrack viewers have become used to.

The horror concept of everyone being ‘in’ on it works incredibly well – I should know, one of my books carries the same cliche… Billy becomes a great bad guy; he kind of was anyway and they build upon that while fusing it to the mind flayer,  his story then becomes beautifully explored by Eleven.

Creature feature moves to the central theme later on while we see the Star Court Mall attacked and pretty much destroyed in true 80’s style with the shops, the food places and everything else that makes the awesome production design take everyone back. All of the characters are reunited briefly to fight the threat that is consuming Hawkins; a moment which makes for great watching.

In fact the season is a series of moments; some are fun and laugh out loud, others more emotional and raw; Robin confides in Steve about her sexuality; a step in the right direction for LBGT awareness to a main stream audience- something more shows need to be brave about. Carey Elwes joins the cast as Mayor Kline – although brief, very effective in execution to the main plot.

I found myself quite moved by the ending of Season 3 and came to the realization that this story really is about growing up. People move on and move away; life goes on and friends drift; all of this is the reality of the real world. The performances by everyone throughout might arguably make Stranger Things the best thing out there on television right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Netflix Review: Orange is the new black S6

There aren’t many shows that one feels inclined to binge watch in under a week, but Orange is the new black has retained that status for the 6th year in a row. Netflix have always been onto something golden with OITNB, by mixing must watch television with a wide ranging story of depth and characters you cannot help follow.

On the surface, a show about some middle class rich girl who gets incarcerated doesn’t inspire much towards the imagination, but since the early seasons the story has been so much more than it’s premise. And now after six years, the format still seems to work mostly, so here’s what I thought with keeping spoilers to the minimum.

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What we knew before going into s6….

Season 5 was a story overhauling revelation. Although OITNB has a knack of always closing an episode on edge, there really wasn’t a dull moment during Litchfield’s real-time riot. Of course this was due to the fallout of Poussey Washington’s death, a central and much loved character, so the audience were for most of the part behind the inmates gripe and reasoning to revolt. Taystee’s search for ‘justice’ became a central theme but eventually became swallowed by the unruly with sympathetic Warden Joe Caputo becoming victim of that. The whole season finished with the death of Piscatella; a known to be corrupt and violent guard, with the smoking gun pointed to those who held out in the riot’s final moments….

And so s6 begins to recoup all the chaos and find some level of calm…

All of the well known faces are now in max, or maximum security. It’s a robust new world filled with new threats and possibilities. The first few episodes focuses on those who were at the center of last seasons riot. The prison higher ups are trying to pin blame on prisoners, many who were innocent of any wrong doings. This presents new challenges and even dilemma for some who begin to look after themselves and themselves only.

We soon learn max is a much more threatening place, with three separate blocks, two of which are run with a gang nature fueled by drugs and a rivalry of two sisters going back thirty years. This rivalry eventually becomes a central theme and pays off in the final moments of s6, a necessary vessel to carry the whole max experience.

New characters impress…

With the new environment comes an opportunity to present new characters and the OITNB trademark, back stories. We have the rival blocks and their leaders/sisters Carol and Barb, their story stretches back and reveals a semi pointless rivalry that they are only to blame for. A notable performance for me came from Deputy leader of ‘C’ block ‘Badison Murphy’; a convincingly depicted villain who reminded of that typical bad kid of the class. The deputy of ‘D’ block came in the form of ‘Daddy’ a semi pimp drug ‘controller’, who like everyone else had a story to tell.

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Some of the guards from last time out are back, some with PTSD and we see their struggle which to me was a true human story confirming there are two sides of prison. Guards Luschek and McCullough were notable for their performances on both sides of the riot fallout spectrum, of course we got to see them mix with other guards and newer faces to the cast. They discover a game known as ‘fantasy inmate’, perhaps a crude version of fantasy football where guards can score points based on inmates trials and tribulations. This eventually becomes another central theme of the story.

Stories continue…

The search for justice of Poussey takes an unexpected turn when we see Taystee being blamed for Piscatella’s death. Former warden Joe Caputo returns to try and aide the case in which runs throughout the series.

Of course OITNB isn’t complete without it’s main character Piper Chapman, whose prison experience is galvanized by maximum security and really completes her journey as a prisoner, the focus does lean towards her more this time around, and for that you’ll discover why at the season’s close. I found myself liking her performance along with her now prison fiance Alex.

Many of the usual faces were put in out of comfort situations this time around which sparked up new friendships and allegiances not seen before. This made for some entertaining combinations of characters who wouldn’t usually mix.

We only see those who were transferred to max from ‘camp’ so there are plenty of notable faces pretty much missing this time around (split up from the riot). With only 13 episodes a series this one could have easily stretched to 16 as I feel there were many loose ends yet to be tied up.

Concluding thoughts…

OITNB is still as good as the first season, it stays true to the original story and goes where you wouldn’t guess it would go. The cast were, many of which are famous for this show, great in every essence. This time the ending seemed less cliff hanger and perhaps a conclusion of such a journey for select characters. Saying that I shall certainly be ready for another season next year.