Scroll To Top
TV

Australia's Wentworth Is the Grittier, Gayer Orange Is the New Black

Australia's 'Wentworth' Is the Grittier, Gayer 'Orange Is the New Black'

Australia's 'Wentworth' Is the Grittier, Gayer 'Orange Is the New Black'

What if I told you that a grittier, queerer version of OITNB was right under our noses?

There’s little question that Orange Is the New Black is pretty much everyone’s favorite prison show. It’s got that great mix of drama and comedy that audiences across the globe truly relish. But what if I told you that a grittier, queerer version of OITNB was right under our noses?

Say hello to Wentworth, an Australian prison drama that’s captivated audiences with stellar performances, diverse LGBTQ representation, and plotlines so realistic and confronting you’ll be shaking in your boots.

From drunken (but well-meaning) convicts, to raving mad prison guards, Wentworth has a little something for everyone. The show presents a breadth of characters, each of which is highly flawed, complex, and ultimately real. And that sense of reality truly resonates. Unlike OITNB, Wentworth never shies away from the stark realities of prison life. With many of these realities told through the eyes of queer and trans women, Wentworth positions itself as a channel through which we can see reflections of ourselves and the issues important to our community.

Wentworth also does a beautiful job of highlighting the struggle and tragedy of humanity as a whole. With each character arc presented to us, we’re asked to identify and empathize with unimaginable circumstances. At any point in the show, you’ll find yourself asking what you’d do if the prison’s Top Dog forced a balloon-full of drugs down your throat, or whether you’d risk a romantic association with prison staff if it meant other inmates would skin you alive.

Sure, there are similarities between Wentworth and OITNB. Both are set in women’s prisons, follow a newbie’s journey into the depths of prison life, and feature a character affectionately called Red. But that’s where the similarities end. What gives Wentworth an edge is that its storylines are impeccably written and realistically portrayed. In fact, the Wentworth set is home to a slew of incredibly talented men and women, each of whom contributes to the show’s unique flair and sense of storytelling.

Writing and acting aside, though, Wentworth is truly engrossing television. It’s a show that makes you realize how similar we all are, that everyone is fighting a silent battle of some kind—be they an inmate, a prison guard, or a member of the audience. It has a unique ability to grab you by the shirt collar, pull you into the drama of the moment, and leave you gasping for air afterward.

Over the course of its now five-year run, Wentworth has proven itself to be an important work in the scope of female-centric, queer television. For this alone, it deserves more of our attention.

All five seasons of Wentworth are now available on Netflix and Amazon Video streaming services!

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

author avatar

Tm Obscura

TM Obscura is a writer with a passion for pop culture and a penchant for analysis. She frequently covers film, television, and representations of women in the media.

TM Obscura is a writer with a passion for pop culture and a penchant for analysis. She frequently covers film, television, and representations of women in the media.