Posts Tagged OITNB


I like to think I don’t watch all that much television– that I read and watch films more than I watch TV programs. And it’s true particularly with television seasons starting several times throughout the year. At times I can be watching several shows and at other times only a couple. Then there’s Netflix of course and either binge-watching or watching at-will. I also don’t get any cable channels so I couldn’t watch season two of The Knick (which I adore), the most recent season of Homeland and have yet to check out The Affair. I did manage to watch the final season of Nurse Jackie during a free preview weekend and I think it ended perfectly. Other perfect series endings included Justified and Mad Men.

[listed in alphabetical order]

Being Mary Jane [BET]
created by: Mara Brock Akil
starring: Gabrielle Union, Lisa Vidal


Call the Midwife [PBS]
created by: Heidi Thomas
starring: Helen George, Jenny Agutter, Laura Main, Judy Parfitt, Pam Ferris, Miranda Hart

call the midwife

Getting On [HBO]
created by: Jo Brand, Mark V. Olsen, Vicki Pepperdine
starring: Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein, Niecy Nash

getting on

Halt and Catch Fire [AMC]
created by: Christopher Cantwell, Christopher C. Rogers
starring: Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, Kerry Bishe


Jessica Jones [Netflix]
created by: Melissa Rosenberg
starring: Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville

jessica jones 2

Justified [FX]
created by: Graham Yost
starring: Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter, Walton Goggins, Jacob Pitts


Longmire [Netflix]
created by: Hunt Baldwin, John Coveny
starring: Robert Taylor, Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips


Mad Men [AMC]
created by: Matthew Weiner
starring: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Kiernan Shipka, Aaron Staton, John Slattery, Jessica Pare


Master of None [Netflix]
created by: Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang
starring: Aziz Ansari, Noël Wells, Lena Waithe, Kelvin Yu, Eric Wareheim


Nurse Jackie [Showtime]
created by: Liz Brixius, Evan Dunsky, Linda Wallem
starring: Edie Falco, Merritt Wever, Paul Schulze, Dominic Fumusa, Anna Deavere Smith, Peter Facinelli, Ruby Jerins

nurse jackie

Orange is the New Black [Netflix]
created by: Jenji Cohen
starring: Taylor Schilling, Danielle Brooks, Taryn Manning, Laura Prepon, Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Dascha Polanco, Samira Wiley


Orphan Black [BBC America]
created by: John Fawcett, Graeme Manson, Alex Levine
starring: Tatiana Maslany, Dylan Bruce, Jordan Gavaris


Rectify [Sundance]
created by: Ray McKinnon
starring: Aden Young, Abigail Spencer, J. Smith-Cameron, Adelaide Clemens, Luke Kirby, J.D. Evermore


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt [Netflix]
created by: Robert Carlock, Tina Fey
starring: Ellie Kemper, Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess


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STEELE PICKS: 12 Best Television Programs of 2014

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Perfectly written and acted. dark. intense. riveting. Excellent cast and complicated story-lines. A thinking-person’s program.

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S4 excellent. Now in Pakistan where Carrie Mathison [Claire Danes] serves as deputy director of the CIA. Claire Danes dazzles as Carrie Mathison. She depicts mental illness better than anyone I’ve ever seen. It’s not a crutch. It’s not a disability. It’s part of Carrie’s personality.



there’s something off-the-reservation wild [and inherently sexy] about this show about U.S. Marshals in Kentucky. It’s quite masculine. It’s a male-dominated setting but there’s nothing sexist about it. Timothy Olyphant superb. Also I enjoy Alicia Witt’s turn as a bold, kick-ass law student who keeps defending her deadbeat trouble-maker redneck brothers.


The Knick

medicine in the early 1900s. I’m in. It’s early days at the Knickerbocker hospital in Manhattan.


Orphan Black

generally I don’t like sci-fi however this series about clones fascinates me. Plus Tatiana Maslany vividly acts out all the clones. They all have peculiarities that make it fun to watch.


Orange is the New Black

everything to say about this show has been said. diversity, humor and pathos.


Call the Midwife

Child-free by choice. Never wanted children. No interest in being pregnant but this female-centric show is wonderful. written by women, directed by women, centered on stories about women. friendships and careers.


Mad Men

almost over and it’s as brilliant as ever.


The Honourable Woman

a twitter friend asked me how this show was and I said it was complex and confusing. Stylish and powerful. In college I majored in Political Science and English. Took a class called The Arab/Israeli Conflict. That helps a bit. Maggie Gyllenhaal is phenomenal. All the women are power players and run this show from Gyllenhaal as CEO Nessa Stein embroiled in the Arab-Israeli conflict to Eve Best [Nurse Jackie] and Janet McTeer and Lindsay Duncan.


Happy Valley

Sarah Lancashire is a genius. Here she’s a police officer in a small UK town. See also: Last Tango in Halifax a sweet and funny show about an aging couple who rekindle a high school romance.

Nurse Jackie

Nurse Jackie

flawed and caring Jackie. the outstanding Edie Falco. excellent writing by women because honestly who better to write such a layered, complicated female character than women.


Getting On

Dry comedy about the day-to-day in a rehab facility. Aging and death couldn’t be handled any better than this. Maybe I can relate because I’ve worked in healthcare/eldercare. It’s smart and the troupe of actors including Niecy Nash, Laurie Metcalf and Alex Borstein is fantastic.

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Choice Quotes: Orange is the New Black


“Promise me that you’re not watching Mad Men without me. That when I get out of here we’re going to binge watch it.”

“I always miss you until you’re here. Then I realize the mom I miss must’ve been someone I invented when I was a kid.”


“When you have a connection with someone it never really goes away.”


“I get it. She’s a natural blonde. She’s exotic to you.”


“She’s hot. She’s read everything. We both know what she’s like in bed.”


“It’s so depressing dealing with a man who makes less than 40K. I was really hoping to get you above that this year.”


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STEELE INTERVIEWS: author Piper Kerman

While Piper Kerman and I both grew up in WASPy middle-class environment in Massachusetts and graduated from women’s colleges in the early 90s, I drove across the United States with a friend visiting San Diego, Canyon and Denver while Piper hung out in Bali with drug runners and carried drug money to Brussels.

“I think I was definitely looking for trouble,” Piper explains to me. “I grew up with a certain set of expectations and I wanted to cross those boundaries. My point of view is that there’s an age in your teen and early twenties where people are naturally risk tolerant and really interested in risks. Young people will take the risks that are in front of them, whether a positive risk or a negative risk. It’s unusual that an ordinary middle-class girl would have a risk like this cross her path.”

A decade later, Piper’s criminal past, which she had long left behind, caught up with her. The blonde-haired, blue-eyed, well-educated Piper found herself in lock-up for a felony, sentenced to 14 months in the women’s correctional facility in Danbury, Conn.

“I think you just draw on surprising reserves. You know the analogy that people will respond with superhuman strength that they didn’t know they had in cases of emergency? I think that’s really true emotionally as well. The fears I had were not necessarily met or there were things I was afraid of that turned out very differently than I expected. If you can not just be wrapped up in your fear but observe the world that’s going to ultimately help you.”

Piper chronicles it all in Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, a candid and reflective memoir. She details earning various privileges like using the phone and procuring special items from the commissary. Piper slowly makes a close posse of friends on the inside. She reads a ton and has so many books that she lends them out to various inmates. Piper received tons of mail and wrote often to her friends and family.

“Letters and the written word become of staggering importance. The correspondence was invaluable in keeping the ties to the outside world.”

To avoid stress, Piper ran on an outside track six miles a day and longer on the weekends.

Orange is the New Black includes Piper’s opinions about unfair treatment, lack of rehabilitation and repeated frustrations within the U.S. prison system.

“Most people in prison don’t even have a high school diploma. The people we put in prison in this country are generally poor people and there’s nothing that’s happening in prison that’s making an apparent and clear path to change. The re-entry and other programs at Danbury was negligible. People that have served long sentences are not well-prepared to come home. The simplest thing is to send fewer people to prison in the first people. For people who are already in prison, I think there has to be serious attention paid to education and realistic skill preparedness for coming home. The most difficult thing for people coming home is employment and I think it’s possible to create connections.”

Orange is the New Black is at turns daunting, authentic, provocative and spellbinding. The best part is that it’s about women from all different backgrounds bonding to endure a miserable situation.

“It changed me physically and it changed me emotionally in ways that were very surprising. I think I went into the experience with a great deal of fear of other prisoners and the thing that you learn is that if you look at other people’s humanity and you recognize your own humanity.”

Piper appears at Brookline Booksmith at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.

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