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Orange is the New Black: Life Without Cable and Impressive New Beginnings with Netflix Originals.

Originally posted on my old website on July 15th, 2013.

So I finally did the unthinkable. Something so dire and scary and inconceivable and terrifying, not to mention extreme and soul-destroying too.

I canceled my cable.


Yeah, I said it: No. More. Cable. T.V.

Now this does not, by any means, suggest that my desperate T.V. addiction is coming to a close. Oh no, not at all. It just means I have had to get a little more creative is all.

Why cancel in the first place? Well, even with a huge discount, I was paying $160 per month for my cable, Internet and 3 premium channels. I had a 6 month special that made the bill $160. It usually ran at $210 per month. Adding to that I have been a Netflix member for years now on top of that extortionate bill, bringing my monthly television/internet total up to $217.99. The thing is though, when you have cable and all those movie channels, you rarely use your Netflix account - I only tuned in when I was in the mood to get my Scandinavian mystery series groove on. You got to love those Danish shows like The Killing (you know, those shows that get REMADE rather than shown on American T.V. in all their original subtitled glory).

I know I love my T.V. - but $217 per month is freaking ridiculous! How is a poor, struggling, indie author like myself supposed to justify paying that? Short answer: I can't.

So I turned it off and bought an HD Antenna for $25. The 4 main stations come in crystal clear, but only 3 at a time. So I can get NBC, FOX and ABC with it in one position or, FOX, CBS and ABC if I move the antenna a bit. Small inconvenience - crystal clear HD reception.

I also added Centurylink internet for $35 per month.

But then what about all my shows that I am addicted to? Solution: HULU PLUS ($7.99) and I still have Netflix ($7.99). The only thing I am missing is AMC/FX and shows like Breaking Bad, The Killing, The Walking Dead and Justified - but all will eventually be available on Netflix or I can watch them on my computer. Bottom line, I replaced a $217 per month bill with a $50 per month bill. Pretty win win.

Long story short, I have been perusing the Netflix 'shelves' a fair bit over the last few nights (and even watching non-subtitled fare!) and decided to give their newest original series, Orange is the New Black a try. In the past, anything like a Netflix Original would be easily overlooked if I still had cable and all my former movie channels to rely on.

When my AC was out last week and I was camping out in the guest bedroom with the small window AC unit but no television hooked up, I gave the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove a try. Actually drinking hemlock might have improved that experience.

Don't get me wrong, if they make a season 2, I am so there (Lili Taylor rocks). I love a little melodramatic ham - and 'Ham' and 'Over the Top' are obviously Famke Janssen and Bill Skarsgård's middle names respectively.

But I digress...

Hemlock Grove was my first and only experience with a Netflix original - and so my hopes were not high when I started watching Orange is the New Black.

I was very, very pleasantly surprised.

It was one of the most refreshingly good ensemble pieces I have seen in a long time. From the script to the story to the characters to the fresh depiction of an Upstate New York woman's penitentiary (Yeah, I can still remember watching Prisoner in Cell Block H back in my youth). This was no Oz. There were stereotypes but no caricatures. The cast of characters and the performances of every actor portraying them was absolutely flawless, completely engaging and utterly, utterly entertaining.

From Crazy-eyes to Chapman to Tastee to Red - consider me utterly invested and hooked. I watched all 13 episodes in 3 nights.

Moral of the story - don't give up on your Netflix peoples - the $7.99 a month for a service that produces quality shows like Orange is the New Black - is worth every damn penny!

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