The Complete Fifth Season

DVD - 2004
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The prison renovations following the fire are complete: the walls are cleaner, the cafeteria is bigger, and everything seems fresher ... from the outside that is. Inside the hearts and minds of the prisoners, Oz is just as dark and raw as it ever was.


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Aug 19, 2018

Oz is a dreadful, pretentious, voyeuristic series. The makers have their cake and eat it. Oz, Em City, etc are used as ultra- crude signals that the apparent grittiness is complete fantasy. This allows viewers the feeblest of intellectual excuses to watch soap operatic nonsense spiced with everything that is bad about human beings.

Oz is exploitative drama at its worst. It appeals to the basest instincts but pretends to be serious and meaningful. It blows hot and cold and changes from fortissimo to pianissimo more often than a Mahler symphony.

Dialogue is unrelentingly ugly and utilitarian. The liberties taken with realities are stupid. Here's a nightclub owning dandy, arriving at Oz in his foppish finery, complete with a ridiculously cloudy contact lens in one eye, brandishing a stash of drugs that nobody detected. Here's a murderous wimp bleating about the heat death of the universe, begging to be killed, but of course being refused by the brute he approaches and doing a bit of improbable throat cutting himself.

The action races on at a pace fast enough for the voyeuristic, dim-witted viewer to be thinking always about what happens next rather than the rubbish that has just been shown. Don't worry, a betrayal, a murder, a sex scene will be along within a minute or two.

Finally, Oz is obviously pretentious. You don't have to feel embarrassed about being carried along by its flow. You can watch it and tell yourself that the producers, writers and actors are doing everything with a huge wink (or same word but for a change of vowel) to the audience.

Yes, you can be a nasty-minded viewer and excuse yourself on the grounds of the cleverness, post-modernistic, etc skills of the Oz production team. They appeal to the lowest common denominator while pretending to operate on a higher plane.

Aug 19, 2018

Hard-hitting prison drama, or telenovela for dudes? I remember the reaction to Oz when it came out: so much earnest discussion of jail conditions; so many online clips of a semi-nude Christopher Meloni. Fast forward through anything with the rap poet/wheelchair-bound narrator, and enjoy the delicious cheese.

Aug 18, 2018

Hello!!??.... The snivelling, petty personal dramas of a bunch of hardened criminals!!?.... Like, am I supposed to care!!??

In this (supposedly) "realistic" look at tough prison-life - I couldn't help noticing that it was just a crew of young, good-looking, and fit convicts.... (Oh, yeah?).... And, where the heck were all of the dumpy, ugly ones and the real old-timers? Eh?.... Yeah! Where on earth were they?

All-in-all - I have to say that "Oz" was a "seen-it-all-before" bore.

Anyway - I can't believe that this one-note TV show actually lasted for 6 seasons. I understand that for DVD release these episodes were edited due to frequent, male, frontal-nudity. Well - If you ask me - I highly doubt that seeing the penises of a bunch of convicts would have improved this predictable program one bit.


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