It's one thing when a series receives a renewal after one or two episodes of its first season air. In fact, it shows confidence on the network's part that whatever success the first few episodes received will continue throughout the show's first season. It's quite another for a series to receive a renewal before it even debuts. But that's exactly what's happened for Jenji Kohan's new Netflix series Orange is the New Black. The prison-set dramedy won't premiere on the streaming video service until next month, but Netflix announced today that they've already given the go-ahead for a second season, which will release in 2014.
Created by Weeds' Kohan, Orange is the New Black is an hour-long comedic drama starring Taylor Schilling, based on a successful memoir by Piper Kerman, which tells the story of an engaged Brooklynite (Schilling) whose relationship with a drug-runner named Alex (Laura Prepon) lands her a 15-month stint in a federal penitentiary. The story follows Piper's attempts to acclimate herself from the cushy life in New York City to the harsh reality of prison. Jason Biggs plays Piper's fiancé, Larry, and the cast also includes Kate Mulgrew, Natasha Lyonne, Pablo Schreiber, Danielle Brooks, lavern Cox and Taryn Manning.
Given what we know of Kohan's work, thanks to Showtime's Weeds, a series that also focused on a woman adjusting from one type of life to another, as a suburbanite who delves deeper and deeper into the pot-dealing industry, it should be very interesting to see what she does with this story. And now it looks like Kohan will be serving even more time at Netflix, and she sounds especially happy about the renewal, stating, “I am thrilled that Netflix has extended my sentence."
The 13-episode first season of the series will debut in its entirety on Thursday, July 11 at 12:01 a.m. PDT in all territories where Netflix is available (U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Latin America, Brazil and the Nordics.)
This news comes about a week after Netflix announced that they renewed Hemlock Grove for a season. But for that series, Season 1 had already debuted and Netflix had months to analyze the viewership and determine whether or not it was the right call to order another season. They're going on faith for Orange, though not entirely blind faith as it sounds like they're very happy with what Kohan is bringing their subscribers with this new series. “Jenji and her team have produced a phenomenal series and we’re eager to get a second season to our viewers,” said Cindy Holland, Vice President of Original Content at Netflix.”
I'll admit, I was already hopeful that Orange is the New Black would be a keeper. Netflix's show of faith that it is has me even more excited for the series to premiere next month. And when it does, if we do enjoy it, we can rest assured that there's more to come next year.
Here's the trailer for Season 1, which released earlier this month: