With things wild in Em City, O'Reily begins a surprising affair. Zabitz asks Schillinger for protection from Keller--who tries to get into the rehab program to make amends with Sister Pete. Beecher ...
The story of an inner-city Los Angeles police precinct where some of the cops aren't above breaking the rules or working against their associates to both keep the streets safe and their ... See full summary »
Oz chronicles life inside an experimental cell block in the Oswald Maximum Security Correctional Facility: Level Four called Emerald City. Under unit manager Tim McManus and Warden Leo Glynn, the inmates in Em City all struggle to fulfill their own needs. Some fight for power; either power over the drug trade or power over the other inmate factions. Others want money, either through slinging 'tits' (drugs), gambling or other scams. Others, Corrections officers and inmates alike, simply want to survive long enough to make parole or even to see tomorrow. The show gives a no-holds-barred account of prison life with all the plots, subplots and conflicts given context and explanation by the show's wheelchair-bound narrator, Augustus Hill. Written by
Its influence will elevate the level of television drama for years to come.
The stature of this program must be measured in the context of its format. These are not feature films, but one hour dramas, no different in concept or constraint from countless other network counterparts. But, oh how different in result.
Oz is not for everyone. It is violent, lurid, obscene, profane and controversial. Oz us narrated dramatically by a "Greek Chorus" of inmates who make insightful observations not just about Oz, but applicable to the outside world as well. The talent, none of it marquee, is nonetheless the finest assembly of supporting actors an ensemble cast could hope for.
In order to keep ratings up, the stories sometimes veer into the unbelievable, but the grit and reality are never gone for long. Oz is also a bundle of irony. Although it deals with homosexuality with insight and objectivity in every episode, it just as often bristles with gratuitous homoerotic overtone. Despite the fact that it overflows with action and violence, it never mistakes kenesis for story.
Sometimes, Oz borders on, and crosses well into, genius. Its often surreal direction elevates otherwise base events to sublime levels. Music, pacing, convoluted story lines careening and intersecting in ways that are at the same time graceful and clumbsy, just like real life.
This is said to be the last season of Oz, and yet, only two seasons are on DVD. With constant reruns and each episode being aired about a dozen times a week, you may be tired of this jewel anyway, but its influence will elevate the level of television drama for years to come.
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