By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act April 30, 2013 at 12:45PM
In case you haven't been paying attention, Netflix is the new HBO. Last week, the online movie/TV series rental (streaming/DVD) service reported 29.17 million domestic subscribers in the first quarter of 2013, surpassing HBO for the first time ever!
If you think about it, Netflix is really like a premium cable TV channel. You get a library of movies and TV shows accessible to you whenever you want to watch them (similar to a cable TV network's on-demand service), and now, following HBO, Showtime and others, Netflix is producing its own original content.
One key difference between Netflix and the premium cablers is that the company isn't part of some giant media conglomerate (HBO is owned by Time Warner for example). Also Netflix exists strictly online.
Of course there are other differences...
But following the release of one of the best drama series I've watched in a long time (the American version of House Of Cards which Netflix debuted in February), and, most recently, its Twilight-esque Hemlock Grove (which I just haven't been able to get into), Netflix announced today that it'll premiere another new original series titled Orange Is the New Black, on Thursday, July 11, 2013.
Created by Jenji Kohan (Weeds), the dramedy stars Taylor Schilling and is set in a women's prison. As Netflix did with its previous original series, all thirteen one-hour episodes in the series from will be available at launch. "Binge-watching" is the term.
I mention this new series because its key cast includes 2 black actors in Danielle Brooks and Laverne Cox.
Orange Is the New Black follows engaged Brooklynite Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), whose decade-old relationship with drug-runner Alex (Laura Prepon) results in her arrest and year-long detention in a federal penitentiary. To pay her debt to society, Piper must trade her comfortable New York life with fiance Larry (Jason Biggs) for an orange prison jumpsuit and a baffling prison culture where she is forced to question everything she believes and form unexpected new alliances with a group of eccentric and outspoken inmates.
Danielle Brooks plays Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson, one of the outspoken inmates at the prison. And Laverne Cox plays a character named Sophia Burset, but I couldn't determine what exactly her role is. I'm guessing one of the inmates as well.
Brooks is listed as one of the main cast members; while Cox is listed as recurring, appearing in 8 episodes of the 13.