Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” returning June 17, released the fourth-season trailer Tuesday. Based on a quick viewing of this two-and-a-half-minute tease, which contains profanity but can be watched here, your brief guide to the next season might easily be summarized in a series of words: emotion, chaos, pain, turf battles, fear (and loathing). Plus “crowds,” as in “crowded.” Now a for-profit institution, Litchfield will have a lot more inmates in the fourth season — 400 to be precise — along with all the attendant chaos that comes with a sudden influx of humanity. Also expect new cast members.
Yes, the show that once was a comedy has morphed steadily into a drama — a process the new fourth-season promotion indicates will continue. Yet if this promotion is a reliable guide, it still retains threads of the smart comedy we always knew it to be. Those threads just appear to be somewhat more frayed, a little less yoked to the notion that Litchfield is a merry-go-round where pleasure takes precedence over “correction.”
Or to quote Piper (Taylor Schilling) here, “I’ve been in Litchfield a while and have been feeling unsafe lately.”
During the TV Critics’ winter press tour, showrunner Jenji Kohan said (as quoted via E!), “Sometimes we start with political agendas, the corporatization of the prison, the stratification of the people into their little mosaic pieces within the prison. I can’t tell you much more than that because we want it to be a surprise.”
Along with “House of Cards” and the Marvel properties, “Orange Is the New Black” remains Netflix’s most important property. The series was handed a three-season renewal pact in January.