Season Four premiere. The world of Oz--an experimental prison within a prison known as the Emerald City--reopens its doors with the inmates still on a 24-hour lockdown and prison officials struggling...
After a visit with his sons, Schillinger realizes he needs to get paroled. He convinces McManus to let him return to Em City with the condition that he leaves Beecher alone. Beecher comes out of the ...
OZ chronicles the attempts of McManus (Terry Kinney) to keep control over the inmates of Em(erald) City as well as the drug trade and the violence. There have been many groups of inmates during the run of the show and not everybody makes it out alive. There's the gangstas (Adebisi, Wangler, Redding, Poet, Keene, Supreme Allah), Muslims (Said, Arif, Hamid Khan), Italians (Pancamo, Nappa, Schiebetta), bikers (Hoyt), Aryans (Schillinger, Robson, Mark Mack), Christians (Cloutier, Cudney), Latinos (Alvarez, Morales, Guerra, Hernandez), gays (Hanlon, Cramer) and a whole pile of others (the O'Riley brothers, Keller, Stanislovsky, etc.). And there's a great "everyman" character called Beecher who gives a good look at a normal man who made one tragic mistake. Besides the regular inmates, there's guest stars such as Method Man, Luke Perry, Master P, Treach, etc. and a bunch of prison staff doctors (Dr. Nathan), a nun/psychologist (Sister Peter Marie), a bunch of guards some honest, some crooked...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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