Best female prison show: 'Wentworth' or 'Orange Is the New Black'? | The Tylt

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Best female prison show: 'Wentworth' or 'Orange Is the New Black'?

"Wentworth" and "Orange Is the New Black" came out months apart from each other in 2013 with some similarities—both shows have ensembles, both feature similar character types and both series balance gritty drama with dark comedy.

Here's the synopsis of "OITNB," per IMDb:

The story of Piper Chapman, a woman in her thirties who is sentenced to fifteen months in prison after being convicted of a decade-old crime of transporting money to her drug-dealing girlfriend.

Here's the synopsis of "Wentworth," also thanks to IMDb:

Bea Smith is locked up while awaiting trial for the attempted murder of her husband and must learn how life works in prison.

Still, which female prison drama is the best? Read more perspectives and decide with a vote.


Binge-watching fans have been awaiting the sixth season of "Orange Is the New Black" for a year. The overall series holds a fresh rating of 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. "OITNB" even won The Tylt's coveted title as the "Ultimate Netflix Original Drama" earlier in 2018. 

Engadget's Jon Fingas wrote of the upcoming sixth season:

The new run premieres July 27th, and a lot is riding on its success this time around. There's the 'reset' following the dramatic end to season five, of course, but the show is also carrying more weight on its shoulders with House of Cards' scandal pushing the political drama's release to the fall. Netflix doesn't need OITNB to be a huge hit given the huge variety of shows it offers, but it would no doubt like one of its earliest originals to remain a selling point for the service.

Watch the trailer for the anticipated season six below.


And let's not forget how popular "OITNB" has been for Netflix. Season four and five veered in a darker and grittier direction, and fans loved it! Season six will up the stakes from season five, and that's saying a lot. The previous fifth season holds a 73 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics commented on the show's many twists and turns in season five. 

The Observer's Anne Easton wrote:

What transpires is equal parts sickening, shocking, salacious, satirical, silly, and sad. All of it is unsettling, as it should be.
In hindsight, the things that seemed outrageous and maybe scandalous in the four previous seasons of OITNB now seem rather tame in light of this new direction.
The shift in tone makes the series a bit tougher to digest, but that doesn’t make it any less intriguing to watch. It almost makes seasons past feel a little complacent in terms of real drama. Issues that seemed so intense at that time now feel petty compared to this. This is real, palatable intensity.

But the international following of "Wentworth" disagrees. 

Here are Metro's Duncan Lindsay's 10 reasons why "Wentworth" is far better:

  1. It’s brutally honest
  2. The cast is sublime
  3. Ruby who? It’s all about Nicole da Silva
  4. It has television’s best ever villain
  5. The black comedy
  6. The twists
  7. It can be sexy
  8. It has atmosphere
  9. It has the strongest females on TV
  10. It knows what it is

Back in 2015, Amos Irwin wrote about some inaccuracies in "OITNB" in the Huffington Post. Of course it is very dramatized, and probably the closest thing to a romanticized look at female life in prison. It tries to balance the rough edges with dark comedy, but factually, critics have found issues with overarching storylines.

Here are four facts Irwin pointed out two years ago about women in prison:

  1. Most women in federal prison committed low-level drug crimes.
  2. Most women in federal prison have children under 18.
  3. Many women need counseling and medical help, not prison.
  4. This is all new.
Best female prison show: 'Wentworth' or 'Orange Is the New Black'?
A festive crown for the winner