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Oz : Complete Season 1 [DVD]
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First series of the gritty, thought-provoking prison drama from HBO. Set in the Emerald City experimental wing of Oswald (Oz) Correctional Facility - the series is a futuristic look at crime and punishment. Emerald City was set up with a pre-agreed amount of members of ten racial and social demographics (The Muslims, The Homeboys, The Aryans, The Bikers, The Italians, The Latinos, The Irish, The Gays, The Christians and The Others) to see whether they might be able to sort things out among themselves or at least to witness their attempts. There's no shortage of shankin' cussin', fightin' and lovin', though - the prime ingredients in any prison drama. Episodes comprise: 'The Routine', 'Visits, Conjugal and Otherwise', 'God's Chillin', 'Capital P', 'Straight Life', 'To Your Health', 'Plan B' and 'A Game of Checkers'.
HBO's violent men-behind-bars drama is an addictive, testosterone-driven soap opera for guys. The eight episodes of the first season set the style for the show: a massive cast of a vivid characters on both sides of the bars, four or five stories unleashed at a breakneck pace and framed by angry, oddball introductions, and a soaring casualty rate. Created by Homicide producer Tom Fontana, this drama quickly earned its rightful reputation as the most brutal show on TV. It's simple chemistry: combine volatile ingredients in a confined space, shut tight, and shake.
The yellow brick road of the Oswald Correctional Facility (affectionately known as "Oz" among the inmates) leads to "Emerald City," an antiseptic cellblock of cement and glass overseen by prison-reform advocate Tim McManus (Terry Kinney). The first episode introduces its two most compelling inmates: meek lawyer Beecher (Lee Terguson), who transforms from a vulnerable lamb to a fearless, drug-addicted wildcat, and Muslim activist Kareem Said (Eamonn Walker), a fiercely non-violent leader whose campaign for reform explodes in a season-climaxing riot. The stunning first-season cast also features Ernie Hudson (the warden), Rita Moreno (a worldly drug-counseling nun), and Edie Falco (who jumped from her role as a single-mother prison guard to mob wife in The Sopranos). It carries no rating, but the drug use, nudity, and brutal violence make this highly inappropriate for young viewers and unsuited to the squeamish. Oz pulls no punches in its portrayal of prison violence and predatory abuse. --Sean Axmaker
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Top Customer Reviews
Oz is the nickname for the Oswald State Correctional Facility, but the majority of the plot arcs are set in Emerald City ("Em City"), an experimental unit of the prison, where the unit manager tries to emphasize rehabilitation during imprisonment.
Life in Oz is tough and the show revolves around the plotting and schemining of the inmates and as a result daily life in Em city often includes murder, violence, drug use, rape, homosexuality and religious and ethnic tensions.
Oz does not try to speculate on the cause of criminal behavior by the inmates, indeed the show takes place exclusively behind the prison walls except for when a particular inmate is introduced by showing the crime which he is in prison for. This helps to vrete a very claustrophobic and tense atmosphere. One of the perspectives shown by Oz is that the rehabilitation of the prisoners is impossible when the system is largely corrupt.
The true masterstroke of Oz is that it refuses to pigeon hole its characters. Even the most sociopathic prisoners are shown to have moments of humanity while some of the nicest prisoners commit very bad acts. It is also notable that some of the most 'normal' prisoners are in prison for crimes that are far worse than some of the worst prisoners and as a result you as the viewer end up feeling sympathy for some of the characters before remembering that they have killed a child or a cop.
I had given up on this show ever being released region 2 so I have imported every season but I would strongly recommend this show to anyone who like good, gritty drama.
You'll never want an episode to end, theres numerous plots that intertwine and twist and turn. Racial and Drug issues are rife amoungst the inmates along with a hefty dose of violence.
The acting is superb, the characters are inspired with Adebisi being the best, an almost cartoonish figure who plagues his inmates with power and a no nonsense attitude. Oz while being very serious and shocking at times retains a certain comedic slant that makes it even more watchable. Series 1-4 cannot be beaten, the rest veer slightly.
If your a fan of great Tv or film do the right thing.
Buy this and become a prisoner to its unbeatable charm.
If you've enjoyed other HBO series such as Six Feet Under or the Sopranos, chances are you'll love this.
It is extremely and shockingly violent but it is set in a cauldron of multi-factional types of men who will stop at nothing to protect their status in the 'pecking' order of prison life.
The Shawshank Redemption [DVD]  looks like a soap compared to Oz,but the former has a lot more plot and humanity going for it;this is about pure violence being used as a means to get ahead.
In 'Shawshank' the male rape scene involving Tim Robbins was quickly put aside:not so in 'Oz',it is used as a 'thread' throughout the series.
There are no quizzes or football matches to show who is top of the table---just maiming and killing.
Having said that the script writers have created a compelling outline of the characters that inhabit this brutal environment and in my view have successfully given us the desire to want more of the same.
I for one will be watching the rest of the seasons when I have them.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
No subtitles. The description in the page is wrong. Second, third and forth seasons R1 from USA have spanish subtitles, but not the First season. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Gillis
Well i got to episode 5 and its not getting any better. Constant interruptions by an idiot in a wheelchair spouting rhetoric spoils this. Read morePublished 11 months ago by yawn