The fourth season of Orange Is the New Black hasn’t even premiered on Netflix yet, and yet, the streaming service has already decided to renew the show for an additional three seasons. It’s a ballsy move, but not entirely a surprising one. OITNB is one of Netflix’s original programs, alongside the returning House of Cards and the late (and utterly disappointing) Hemlock Grove, and has done exceptionally well in ratings and accolades. Most recently, Uzo Aduba took home an Emmy and a SAG award for her role as Crazy Eyes, while the entire cast walked away with a trophy at the latter ceremony for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble.
Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan expressed her excitement via a press release:
Three more years! Not quite a political term, but still plenty of time to do some interesting things. In some cultures, ‘May you lead an interesting life,’ is a curse, but I don’t live in those cultures. Here’s to keeping it interesting. Thanks Netflix! Both thanks and you’re welcome Lionsgate! And kudos and gratitude to the stellar cast and crew and writers and producers and editors and musicians and mixers and shleppers…with whom I have the pride and honor of crafting this show. Three more years! Three more years!
Still, renewing a show for that many seasons before its scheduled return is a bit odd. Netflix is now entering that zone where analyzing a show’s shelf life is crucial. For House of Cards and OITNB, both series are gearing up for their fourth season. And sure, they’ve performed well and still get praise in the awards circuit, but they also took minor dips in the last season compared to their previous efforts. But hey, as a fan of both shows, I remain optimistic.
For Orange Is the New Black, it still has a lot to offer in terms of storytelling. Thanks to its huge cast, and a setting that eagerly welcomes additional characters, there’s a lot more that can be told. And it’s clear that Piper Chapman (whose real-life subject only spent 13 months in prison) is no longer the driving force behind the show. And its real strength lies in the backstories of the rest of the girls and how they play out in prison.
But what say you? OITNB returns June 17. Does renewing it for seasons 5, 6, and 7 feel a bit premature? How would you like to see it carried out?
Photo Credit: Netflix