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PowerButchi

Oz

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I'm racing ahead so I'll keep to generalities in case anyone is still watching. (And I can very much confirm my first definite Wire cast member sighting!)

 

Anyhow, I read a transcript of the DVD commentaries, which revealed a few production notes:

 

* The deal with the only bits outside the prison being the crime flashbacks is deliberate. It's partly there to make sure that everytime you feel comfortable about "leaving" Oz, something horrible happens and you're right back in with no escape. Spoilers for those who've seen the entire run:

 

 

The two exceptions I can think of both end the same way: Poet getting out and the next thing you see is a new crime; Beecher getting out but it being a dream sequence.

 

 

* While there is background/atmospheric music at certain spots, they deliberately chose "instruments" that could conceivably be in a prison such as home made drums or banging pipes, so even though it's not natural music, it doesn't feel as inauthentic.

 

* Although there's lots of stories going on (and Beecher really is far from the lead character), they don't flick back and forth within an episode. Generally you'll get everything involving a character in one episode in one go, which creates the fast pace because of the jumps in time. Normally in multi-story drama, particularly soaps, you always jump between scenes with different characters, rather than having a cut between scenes with the same character so it's obvious time has passed.

 

* They deliberately shot scenes with other lead characters being in the background doing "extras" stuff because that's how it would really be in the confined prison space. It made for a different production vibe because normally the main actors are always doing stuff when they are on camera and don't have to be background.

 

Finally a spoiler for those a couple of episodes into series 2:

 

 

10 gangs? Four members in each gang? Different gangs trying to eliminate each other's members? McManus, you've only gone and invented the bloody Survivor Series.

 

Edited by JNLister

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Thanks for those bits Lister. I haven't been participating in the rewatch due to lack of DVDs/Amazon Prime/time but have been reading along on here. I've been tempted several times to buy Oz on DVD because I expect the commentaries and extras would be really interesting, and from the sounds of what you've posted, they are.

 

Finally a spoiler for those a couple of episodes into series 2:

 

 

10 gangs? Four members in each gang? Different gangs trying to eliminate each other's members? McManus, you've only gone and invented the bloody Survivor Series.

 

 

 

McMahonus?

 

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Forgot to include: the writer says he started each season by working out the entire story arc for each character one-by-one, then looked at the combined sequence of events and breaks it into chapters (episodes), then finally looked for a theme for each episode and makes any tweaks needed to emphasise the theme. In other words, he doesn't start by deciding the themes from each episode and then writing the storylines around that. That's probably why the narration scenes are so heavy handed.

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I'm 3 eps in and I've just realised Harold frenchname is Mercutio in Romeo + Juliet. Bearing in mind I went the whole of Lost without realising that, man he's shit in Lost. A question about Beecher, is he getting bummed or what? I can't tell if it's being suggested or if I've missed something and he's getting full on prison romance.

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Yeah, it's very vague at those points, but they do later explicitly state Schillinger was raping him.

 

I'm up to the start of serious 4 now and it's Wire-a-Mania.

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It's not bleak!  It's greek tragedy, it's crazy overblown revenge madness.  You're not meant to think these are real prisoners and feel sorry for them, you're meant to revel in the story arcs.

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I'm sure once I'm fully in to it I won't feel bad about the murderers and rapists being stuck in hell for the rest of their days. I suppose my unnatural fear of being framed and imprisoned doesn't help.

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As I started rolling through season 4, I was close to coming on here and noting that, contrary to how I remembered, there isn't really a jump the shark moment, just a gentle decline in quality and it was still very strong. Well that changed.

 

I can't find the precise details for why season 4 is 16 episodes, but as best I can tell it was scheduled for eight, Sopranos got delayed, and they extended it to 16 on short notice. That figures as episode 8 feels like a season finale with a high profile death that rounds off the story arc. 

 

Episodes 9 and 10 just feel utterly inferior. You'd normally think it had to be a change of director or writer, but it was the same crew so all I can assume is that they were burned out and then asked to come up with new ideas on little notice -- it definitely feels like they are throwing ideas out with little filtering. Obviously you miss *character who died*, but there's loads of new stuff that I'd somehow suppressed from my memory like Luke Perry as the preacher, the "hey, lets put a load of Chinese illegal immigrants in the middle of Oz", the cage in the middle of Oz, and Omar Fucking White. Plus I'm pretty sure the anti ageing stuff is about to begin.

 

I don't remember the last couple of seasons being awful, so I'm hoping this is just an explicable glitch in proceedings.

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I'm pretty sure it gets progressively worse til the end. Some bright spots in certain places but when I rewatched the whole show again a few years back there's no denying that the drop from season 4 episode 8 to episode 9 is the turning point of the quality of the show. Omar White is definitely the worst major character in the show.

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 I was close to coming on here and noting that, contrary to how I remembered, there isn't really a jump the shark moment, just a gentle decline in quality and it was still very strong. Well that changed.

 

Omar Fucking White. 

 

That was the main one. One of the worst characters or any thing ever. 

Edited by PowerButchi

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Oh Christ. It's not anti ageing drugs. It's ageing drugs. This is like if Mid South TV suddenly started being written by Russo.

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10 hours ago, IANdrewDiceClay said:

Sorry to bump an old thread, but we should really do this again. What a show.

I got really excited when I saw you had updated this, I initially thought they were bringing it back or something.

I think I last watched it all the way through at the end of 2016. It was class to re-watch in the first 3 months after my youngster was born.

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