Played out before an enthusiastic crowd on Friday (March 14) night, the PaleyFest debut for Netflix's "Orange Is The New Black" was a mixed-to-positive affair.
The 70-minute panel, which proceeded by only a brief Season 1 clip reel, was a fantastic showcase for the chemistry of the deep ensemble cast, which was represented by 11 returning stars, one fresh face and one unannounced guest. Plenty of time was spent on the show's progressive stance for women, racial diversity and diversification of gender and sexual roles. Plenty of time was also spent buttering Netflix up, as seemingly the entire cast raved about the idea of binge-watching TV, but only referenced "House of Cards" as a show that might be binged. Paying near-religious tribute to series developer and showrunner Jenji Kohan, the "Orange" team celebrated their unique working environment and the freedom it gives them.
As a big fan of "Orange Is The New Black," I quite enjoyed the frequently overlapping conversations and, for the most part, I bought the affection shown by the stars.
What the panel weirdly skipped over was any specificity, which meant that as a journalist covering the panel, I don't have a huge amount to report on. For a show that isn't really about plot twists, representatives of "Orange" have always been weirdly spoiler-phobic, so there literally is nothing concrete I can tell you about the plot of the second season. There will be continuing tensions in the relationship between Piper (Taylor Schilling) and Larry (Jason Biggs). Duh. And a new character, Vee (Lorraine Toussaint) will shake things up. OK. A list of which characters we'll learn more about included nearly all of the characters, but Kohan wouldn't say who will be getting flashback episodes.
In addition, almost none of the major plotpoints from last season were even mentioned. We somehow waited til the audience questions to even mention the cliffhanger from the first season, if not to say how it will impact Piper and Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning) going forward, to talk about the character arcs that took them to that point. It was enough to say that the characters all changed in Season 1, but nobody wanted to dig deeply into how that change was orchestrated.
Oh well. It didn't mean it was a bad panel. Not at all! It just means I may not have a lot to say. Click through for some things we learned from the PaleyFest panel. There are no meaningful Season 2 spoilers.