The new season of your favourite shows being uploaded on Netflix is like receiving a present on your birthday. It comes round once a year, you count down and then you get to indulge. Everyone has their favourite, and for me it is Orange is the New Black.

I love it. For a huge, sprawling cast, it somehow manages to ensure you get behind or stand against every single one. Sometimes, you find your position on people moving as the seasons progress. Big Boo always seemed selfish and cruel, until her unlikely friendship with Doggett and a glimpse into her life story made me warm to her. In reverse, Piper has gone for someone I’m rooting to survive and thrive to being the character who I would least miss if she was shanked.

In fact, this transformation in Piper from naïve and kind to merciless kingpin is one of the shows only flaws. The fact is, I don’t buy it. Even though the show has been running for four years, the timescale is a lot shorter than that within the show, perhaps not even a year. I don’t believe that someone who was essentially an outsider can climb to the top without challenge. Having said that, I’m only four episodes in, so maybe she does get overthrown (no spoilers please).

Other than that, it is still glorious. Many of the originals are still going strong. Red, always a favourite, is brilliant as ever. Taystee is rising in my opinion each episode. Suzanne still gets the best lines, even if it is only two per episode. Some of the new characters are showing real spark too. Lolly, in particular, is fantastic. I look forward to seeing her backstory, as well as how she survives her prison experience.

The humour is still there as well. This, for me, drives the show as much as the moments of heartbreak. Again, Lolly is a real boon here. I loved the scene in the first episode where she was directing Alex on how to be dead for their ‘photoshoot’. It is moments like this that stop the show collapsing under the weight of its worthiness.

Not that there isn’t still an emotional heart. Healey’s episode, in particular, had just the right tinge of heartbreak to show how such an emotionally controlling man was formed. Just because he is a guard doesn’t mean he isn’t in prison as well.

So, yes, this is a present. One I have gratefully received. But like all presents, it is best not to be greedy with it. Watch slowly, allow it to enwrap you and you will never tire of it.

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