Before Six Feet Under. Before The Sopranos. Before Deadwood. Before Sex and the City. There was Oz!
This groundbreaking series, which took place inside Oswald State Correctional Facility, paved the way for all those other HBO originals, and yet never got the recognition it deserved.
Well written, directed, and acted, Oz told the story of the inmates from Oz and more importantly from Em City, the experimental unit within the prison. Often violent and vulgar, Oz was not a show for the faint at heart, yet it boasted some of the best actors on television, including Christopher Meloni, Harold Perrineau Jr., Ernie Hudson, J. K. Simmons, and Rita Moreno.
A wonderful series, gone before it's time. Oz still remains one of HBO's best ever.
One of the best HBO shows ever. The best thing about it doesn't have real main characters, everybody can get killed in the next episode (and most of them do). Another interesting fact,it ended right when it was supposed to end, no redundant episodes just to make series last longer. Clear and concise. I would recommend it to anyone who likes Action/Drama genre. Available on DVDs but only for region 1.
The Ozwald State Penitentiary. Tim McManus is in charge of Emerald City and experimental unit of Oz. In Em City, everybody belongs to a group, and every group has it's piece of the pie. But what REALLY goes on? Drugs, violence, and much more
From Homicide: Life on the Street creator Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, Oz is one of the most compulsively violent and addicting shows to hit HBO. While the Sopranos garnered most of the attention from HBO viewers, the primal nature and sheer unpredictability of Oz made the series the definition of must see TV. Taking place in the Oswald Correctional Facility (known to the inmates as Oz) these eight episodes revolve around Emerald City: a cell-block overseen by prison reform advocate Tim McManus (Terry Kinney) and the warden Leo Glynn (Ernie Hudson) who is desperately trying to keep the peace among the inmates as the governor bans privileges including smoking and conjugal visits. We are introduced to a cast of compelling characters whom we both pity and despise, including meek lawyer Tobias Beecher (Lee Tergesen) whose transformation from frightened new convict to drug raddled madman must be seen to be believed, white supremacist leader Vern Schillinger (J.K. Simmons), backstabbing and double dealing Ryan O'Reilly (Dean Winters), the cocky and self loathing Miguel Alvarez (Kirk Acevedo), wheelchair bound narrator Augustus Hill (Harold Perrineau), and Muslim activist Kareem Said (Eamonn Walker) whose extreme policy of non-violence explodes in the season ending riot that sets the stage for season two. The rest of the cast, including Rita Moreno, the Sopranos' Edie Falco, and John Seda (even though he only appears in the first episode) does brilliant work, all of whom help make Oz unforgettable. If you've never seen Oz, you should definitely check it out and see for yourself one of the best and underrated shows on HBO and maybe even TV history, but do be warned, this series is not for the squeamish.
I heard about this show ages ago but never really looked at it until it was advertised for a long time on SBS. The show manages to show what a life a prisoner has and it all looks realitic but that's all I have to ride on, I don't know if. All the characters have their own unique qualities which makes the show more interesting. I haven't seen all the episodes but i'm working my way to it and I can't get enough of it. Also, special credit must go out to Tom Fontana who had a hand in writing all the scripts which is an amazing feat to achieve.
I've just finished watching all 6 seasons of Oz, and I'm left feeling so empty. Really, after 6 seasons you'd hope to find some sort of closure, some progress in any of the lives we've followed for so long, but all I saw was the same old thing with the same old people in every episode. It began with an introduction and ended where we started with no in-between, on the exception of a few dead guys. Really, couldn't all of this have been done in 2 episodes? Why was 6 seasons necessary? By season three I was convinced that I would never witness a positive outcome to any situation and thus becoming 100% accurate in predicting of the outcome of every major climax - every single time, such predictability! I can see how some people would appreciate the precise drama but in all I think this is a good example of how miserably repetitious HBO series can be. :p
now i have never been to prison, but i have spent a few nights in county jail. and if this is anywhere remotely what prison is like, i will never get arrested again. this show was just too far out there to be taken seriously. it was still an interesting show though.
I honestly don't know where to start with Oz. There are very few dramas that i can watch, re-watch then watch somemore like i can Oz.
Every character was an absolute git and yet i still rooted for them on some level (maybe that says more about me than Oz but thats for another time)
I remeber watching Oz when it was being broadcast and thinking "this could be the episode where 'inset name here' gets it. No one was safe. Luckily my favourite characters made it through to the end, wel some of them did.
If you haven't seen Oz yet then stop reading this and go buy the DVD's
Oz was also lucky enough to have top quality actors in the roles and i actually watch shows i would never normally watch if they have an ex-Oz cast member in it
Oz is brutal, uncompromising, unpredictable, unsettling, and therefor extremely compelling and dangerously addictive. It is without a shred of doubt one of the best Tv-shows ever produced. With the story set in a max-security prison, Oz explores the darker sides of a humanbeings, as well as their good sides. Manipulation, betrayal, racism, rape and murder (sometimes all of those at once) are keywords for the events in Oz.
Even though the shows main focus of the show is on the inmates, it also shows us the people that run the place and how they can be just as screwed up, but in their own way. Oz achieved alot in its years at HBO, but didn't reach a paticulary big audience nor did it garner any of the bigger awards, even so it was higly praised by ctitics. Its low rating might be due to both, that it had a late-night schedule, and because it definately isn't for everyone.
The acting, the writing, the direction are all exellent and should be an inspiration to any Tv-producer wanting to know the qualities of good Tv. I am not going to mention to anything about the storyline, cause if you havent seen this gem, I don't wnat to spoil it for you. The show is awailable on DVD and I recomend it to anyone who can handle physical and emotional violence at its worst, which in return makes Oz Tv at its very best.
HBO is a factory of success but with quality and Oz is probably one the biggest quality product on television in last years. Produced by Barry Levinson and the great Tom Fontana and with one of the best chorale casts ever. The story is full of realism sometimes too real for some viewers. The script is amazing and gets better with each season. Talented directors like Kathy Bates. And a cast of those actors we continously see in supporting roles in other series, just to mention Law & Order, but actors that in Oz they shine with a special light.
Oz is definetly not your typical prison drama. I don't think this much violence and suffering was ever shown on tv so cleverly and realistically before. Unlike horror movies that usually contain a lot of pointless slaughtering this is all real and what really happens in the world today, which is what makes you want to keep watching. The characters were as awesome as the show, you'd just get caught up. The eventful drama would definetly be incomplete without those clever narations from Augustus Hill played by Harold Perrineau. For me the whole show was great, thought I really didn't like the last 10 episodes, but I was sorry to see it end. I would definetly love to see a movie on this. Even the soundtrack to the series was awesome. Also a great show to discover some very intresting underrated, but brilliant actors.
Beecher/Keller makes me twitch and... well, it makes me do things too inappropraite to say here. Keller has got to be the greatest character I've seen on a television show, mostly because, yes, he oozes animal sexuality all over my screen. But the storylines too are really good which is amazingly rare these days.
"Oz", the epic television drama showcasing the innerworkings of the Oswald Maximum Security Penitentiary, is one of the crown jewels of modern television. It gives us the opportunity to see what happens to the criminals after they are prosecuted, convicted, and carelessly thrown into the prison system. "Oz" is full of violence, hatred, and desperation, but it is also full of redemption, peace, and courage. It is a modern day teacher of sociology, demonstrating to us why some people deserve to be free, and why others should never see the outside world again. This acclaimed effort created by the masterful genius Tom Fontana, is sure to make you never want to step foot inside a prison.
when oz first aired i thought what in the world is this. i had never seen a program as graphic or spellbounding as this one, i believe this to be as close to real prison situation as you could get. the casting was perfect i would not change any thing.
Me and my husband have all the oz articles , every dvd, the book by Augustus Hill, the cd. We absolutly love this program. The characters are so real and some are endearing. My biggest question was always how did Adabesi keep that little hat on his head. Beacher turned into the gayest man i have ever seen, but still tried to love women when his heart belonged to Keller. Ryan and Cyril also were our favorites. The hardest part was when they executed Cyril i cried ove this, i do not believe in the death penalty and when they are mentally challenged it is more horrifing.
Oz is simply one of the best shows i've ever seen. The way the story continues in each episode is very good. And most important of all it's very realistic.
The actors offcourse play a huge role in this show. Each acter fit perfectly in the role they are playing.
I came into Oz late...if I can recall clearly, it was the second season that caught my eye, and I have been a fan from sice then.
What a show?
The show centers around a prison, its inmates and the prison guards.
It's bloody, brutal, emotional and highly entertaining.
Although, the show started getting slightly boring in its latter season, and I was really mad when some of my favorite cast mates like: Hill, Warden Glynn, Said, Schillinger were killed off, the show still kept my interest.
This cutting edge drama can drive you to the edge of your seat and back again. Never did I ever think I would cry, be angry, or feel hurt for prisoners. But no matter why they are in, they will touch you in some way!! You never know where the story is going, but yet, it is NOT a bit confusing!! By the end of the first season I started watching---I believe my husband said it was the third---I was hooked! I knew who I loved, hated, hurt for, wanted justice against or for. This show is amazing! Hardly any special effects or stubts, this show is PURE acting. If the cast couldn't act, the show wouldn't have been worth a work pass, it would have been executed. And here's a treat, many of the players went onto work for the Law and Order francise!!
I have always said though, if there was this much death in a regular prison, it would be shut down immediately.
This show is about life in the prison, and about the way the many different factions relate to one another. Unlike most shows, where you can predict what is going to happen to most characters, that was never the case here. Oz was amazingly told, and managed to shock you every episode.
I have purchased every season on DVD and have converted many people I know into hardcore fans of the show. And with only 8 episodes per season (except for one, which was 16 episodes) , and only 6 seasons, its just not enough.
I haven't seen Season 1 I only began watching at the end of it after the prison riot. Since I've started watching I have discovered that Oz really is compulsive viewing.
You don't want to miss an episode because you could fall far behind. It amazing how long these stories can go on. The Beecher/Schillinger vendetta continued throughout the entire series with one having the upper hand and them the other.
The use of Augustus Hill as the narrator and flashbacks on how these men committed their crimes only help enhance the quality of Oz.
These men are serious criminals who have committed horrible crimes, but I found myself connecting with them and caring for them too.
I\'ve just started in on Season 2 of this show...AAAAAWESOME! The writing, the directing, the acting, the cinematography...sooo good.
I\'m amazed how they could keep the story going. I mean how much can you tell about a group of guys in prison. And what amazes me, is that these are hardcore criminals, yet you find yourself sympathizing with them. Insane!
you don't get to see this much violence and nudity on regular tv so its cable. you see how these people got into this situation and now how they are dealing with their bunk mates and they like to keep their races seperate. you have nazi's and brotherhood
this show has a lot of violence and racism going on all the time. the african american people trying to kill the aryan race people and visa versa. they are selling drugs and sex. they get very graffic in this one. it's funny watching the two guys from svu here.
Prison shows are not unique but Oz does present itself in a unique light. The superficial story telling is excellent. One could stop there and just enjoy the story. The characters all have depth. None of them are without positive and negative traits. All of them get pushed to there limits and demonstrate both how good one can be and how low we all can fall.
The writers do not stop there. The layers and questions it asks are exceptional. What is a prison? Do we make our own prison? What is freedom? Who really is free? What is the meaning of life and what is really important?
The darkness of the show and brutality give you a visiceral response. Once you recover from the response, the deeper meanings start to emerge. This show is not for the weak of stomach, but if you want to explore life, explore Oz.
People should thank these men in Oz , for their good looks and dramatic mode. They should put more female, I know it's a male jail. But that one girl that was in jail, then the next season she died. The reason why men dream about sex all the time.
Very sexy, dramatic, and witty. You should brink back this show, who cares about the contract. There's a reason why men don't really like women, only the police officer and the dr. Enough with the men on men action here. Need more female leads in this shows. These men are hot and very careful who and ehat they are dealing with. They should have re-runs on HBO, it's very pleasent to deal with the stories on how men feels when they don't have a life. Only men have a life with each other, and tells the inside of a mind of a person who is incarcerated. Deals with real-life issues drugs,sex and compettition.
This has to be one of the best series' I have ever seen. There are very few sows out there that have been that strong from staart to finish. Every episode not only needs to be seen in order to make sense but you want to watch all of it, such entwisting compelx storylines with plenty of sensless violence and soft core nudity (mostly men but somehow female nudity was almost regular in the show, in a mens prison, go figure?)Truly worth a watch or five.
Not for anyone's eyes (not only because it's for adults only, but also cause it showed strong images of sex and violence).
All and all it was one of the finest shows i've ever seen.
Now I appreciate it even more as I often see shows that are similar in lots of aspects.
To put it simply, Oz is one of the best shows of all-time. It paved the way for HBO's 1-hour dramas, and shows like The Sopranos and Deadwood would have had a tougher time getting off the ground had it not been for Oz.
Why is Oz so great? Because it has a variety of everything, and excels in almost every category.
- Tons of different characters with different backgrounds, so there's something for everyone.
- It's well written, with some fantastic dialogue.
- The acting is superb. Really amazing how they could find such a talented bunch of unknowns (and even after the show has ended, some of these actors are still unknown. It's a real shame, since people like Eamonn Walker should be getting starring roles.)
- Great directing, and addicting storylines.
The one problem I had with Oz was how an inmate would get killed in almost every episode. While this added a shocking, 'anybody could die next' feel to the show, it also made the show a little unrealistic. Other than that, this is a fantastic show, be sure to check it out.
Consistently well-written and acted, Oz is without a doubt the was in its time one of the top ten best thing on TV. Quality wise, it's up there with the first 4 seasons of Homicide: Life on the Street as the most compelling hour of television drama. Presenting a harsh and realistic view of prison life, Oz is a wonderful mixture of superb acting and character development; all of which rides on a nuanced and erudite core (Foucault's Panopticon is the inspiration for Em City's design...and ultimate failure). It is the only show on TV, that I can think of, that has presented characters who were intensely dislikable one moment and oddly empathetic the next. That I am repulsed by, sympathetic with, intrigued about, and involved with every character that has lived, died or survived on the show, is no small feat. Good TV exists. And, for my money, Oz is not only good TV, it is better than most films released throughout the year.
This HBO show is all about life in the Oswald State Correctional Penitentiary and is the most raw show I have ever seen on T.V. There are so many amazing actors that bring life in prison to an absolute reality to the viewer.
This show is my all time favourite!!! The actors on this show could actually deter someone from ever committing a crime...it is that realistic. It was never wise to really like a character as you never knew how long they would last....This show is a must see and HBO needs to bring it back to life!!!
OZ is probably one the best television shows I've ever seen. It was dramatic, hard hitting, and utterly entertaining. The writing was amazing, and when combined with the wonderfully talented actors, each and every character felt one hundred percent believable and real. It is sad to think that there will never be a new episode. Fortunatly for us however any OZ episode is watchable over and over again!
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