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‘Orange is the New Black’ Review Roundup: Critics Say Season 4 is Best Yet, Praise Vast Cast

The Netflix powerhouse series is back with critics praising the humanity of its compelling characters.

Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez), Gloria (Selenis Leyva) and "Red" (Kate Mulgrew)

JoJo Whilden/Netflix

One of the first powerhouse original Netflix series is back for its fourth season. “Orange is the New Black,” following the individual and collective stories of prison inmates at the minimum-security women’s federal prison Litchfield Penitentiary, has been consistently praised as one of the better dramas and few black comedies out there. But can it keep its holding come season 4?

READ MORE: Laverne Cox On How ‘There’s A Little Performance in Gender,’ From ‘Orange is the New Black’ to ‘Rocky Horror’

The show’s 13 episodes were released last night on the streaming site: IndieWire’s TV Editor Liz Shannon Miller, in her A- review, pointed out that “There are so few shows on television that really examine humanity in such a direct way,” saying OITNB “doesn’t hide behind metaphor or high-concept premises — it simply asks that you look these women in the eye, and remember that they’re looking back.”

Allison Keene at Collider had some problems with the show’s time management and which stories and subplots it decided to focus on or ignore. But, despite that, she praised the cast, saying, “What keeps the show compelling throughout rockier times is that it’s a kaleidoscope of characters and character moments, which cover a broad spectrum of personalities and feelings.” Giving the season four stars, she said, “A good show — comedy or drama — is one that draws you in and makes you want to keep spending time with its characters. Orange Is the New Black has always had that.”

In The Hollywood Reporter review, Tom Goodman compared how the show has been “able to continually expand and service the cast” to HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” saying the “Orange” has actually “done a better job of staying nimble in the process.” He expanded on that, explaining that, “its array of characters that either matter essentially or contribute greatly to the show’s enjoyment are legion.”

TIME’s Daniel D’Addario said that this season is the best yet, also praising the “cast of vastly talented actors.” While he did think that “little on ‘Orange is the New Black’ season 4 ‘happens’ for long stretches,” he went on to explain that this proved to be beneficial, saying, “Season 4 is unabashedly weird—going down blind alleys, dipping deep into uncomfortable ambiguity, and forcing us to endure long scenes that don’t seem as though they’re going to work. But, by some strange miracle of creative confidence, they do.”

READ MORE: Netflix’s Binge Scale Reveals Which Shows Viewers Watch for More Than Two Hours at a Time

“Orange is the New Black” Season 4 is now available on Netflix.

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