With all the hype that Orange is the New Black got, I didn’t hear a lot about Wentworth.
In my defense, I just got access to Netflix in January.
However, after watching four seasons of Wentworth, I’m compelled.
This is a very good show.
Also, made in Australia so expect that sweet accent.
I’ll give the skinny.
Wentworth is a maximum security Women’s prison and we start off with the apprehension of two of the protagonists, Bea Smith and Franky Doyle.
Bea is the newbie whereas Franky kinda knows her way around.
Things don’t officially start until we’re introduced to the concept of “Top Dog” which is simply “she who runs the Prison” (I’d prefer the term “Queen” but eh, “Top Dog” is better), we’re introduced to how being Top Dog can change people from pretty okay convicts to brutal savage sociopaths.
Also there’s drugs, a fuckload of drugs.
While the inmates organize themselves out, we’re introduced to the personnel in charge of them from the CO’s (or “screws”) to the Governor, who’s kinda like the Warden.
The system in Wentworth is both tribal and hierarchical as far as the inmates are concerned and you find a specific block being the main focus.
Without giving too much away, Bea has to go through some stuff to realize what life is like in prison and she adapts to it pretty well.
Along the way, we’re introduced to Doreen who is sexy as hell (daaaamn Shareena Clanton, you got a mate?), Liz the recovering alcoholic Team Mom, Maxine the Transgender who’s easily the most lovable character in the series and Boomer the big lovable lug.
It’s kinda on dueling terms with New Black but the only big comparison I see is that Wentworth isn’t afraid to be gritty.
I don’t remember Orange too well but the only deaths I’m aware of are the one that happened accidentally and the other that happened outside the prison whereas Wentworth kills their governor in the very first episode and come to think of it, I don’t think there’s been any actual form of rape in Orange so far.
I mean, granted, Orange is set in a minimum security and Wentworth is in a maximum but you’d think that even then, there’d be a lot more horny convicts in Orange.
Also, in Wentworth, there’s a big focus on one group whereas Orange focuses more on everyone. I mean, in Wentworth, the bad guys are always bad with almost no redeeming qualities or even a backstory, Juice is a prison rapist, Tina’s a drug pusher and Kim and Sky are junkies.
But seriously, everything changes when Ferguson shows up.
My favorite thing about this is that apparently, it’s a re-imagining of an older show with the same named characters and concepts so now I’m compelled to watch the old show just to see if I can pick up on some of the references (and get a little knowledge on Australian history while I’m at it).
If you like a show that has a majority female cast, a compelling storyline and features women in prison, I recommend watching this.