While we’d say that any season of Orange is the New Black is better than almost any other show out there on television, there are nonetheless some seasons that are much better than others. At the moment, we’d definitely say that season 5 struggled (although we didn’t hate it as much as other critics did). While it took an ambitious premise that felt more like 24 in some ways to the regular Netflix series, it just didn’t quite hook viewers in like it has in the past. There was criticism over certain decisions and the show’s tone, and these are things that the show seems to be working on for the upcoming sixth season.
Apparently, one of the biggest reasons for the change just so happened to be a change in writers. Speaking in a wonderful new profile in the New Yorker (primarily about series creator Jenji Kohan), executive producer Tara Herrmann had the following to say about the struggles for the show to find a new voice:
“We had lost a bunch of the original writers … It wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was just a new dynamic—people were attached to the characters as viewers, not as creators.”
Many of the show’s original writers went on to do some other projects, including developing another hit Netflix series in GLOW, and it therefore made sense that there would be some things about the series that would change with different creative people in the mix. There’s no blame passed around in the interview; Kohan described the end result as akin to “fan fiction,” something created out of love, but something that did not quite work. The other issue we see is that Piper’s time in jail is almost over and once she’s back in the free world, will there be anymore show to tell? If they don’t slow down the timeline they would likely have to give her more jail time to keep the show going.
Now, there are going to be many new hires for season 6 as Orange Is the New Black refocuses and tries to get back to what it was before — a powerful, timely, and at-times funny show that takes on a wide array of different topics with strong characters. The show is already renewed for a couple of additional seasons, so the great thing here is that there is some time to work through whatever issues that it has. This does happen to many great shows at some point during their run — Homeland certainly went through its own phase, but it found a way to recover just by staying true to itself and finding a way to shake up the story. Orange Is the New Black will do the same. The new batch of episodes won’t be premiering until next year, so there is plenty of time to speculate about what is going to happen from here. The show has a long production cycle, so the work on season 6 is already being done right now.
Did you see our Orange is the New Black finale review?
Just in case you have forgotten to a certain extent what happened, rest assured that you can check that out in full by heading over to the link here and reading our review.(Photo: Netflix.)