Oz

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HBO (ended 2003)

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Ho_Man

User Score: 249

SUBMIT REVIEW

Oz Fan Reviews (64)

8.7
out of 10
Average
2,063 votes
  • If you enjoy making yourself miserable, watch this.

    7.0
    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
  • wayyyy out there

    7.0
    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.
  • This show was INSANE!!!

    7.0
    Seriously Tom Fontana is one F-ed up dude. I've got a lot respect for him for writing every single episode (56 hours!) but it certainly says alot about his sanity. The show is probably known for its frankly sick death scenes but delve a little deeper and you actually see its about the human condition. The show could get very emotional in its depiction of men trying to survive in the most dangerous circumstances and this is thanks to superb performances from an all round outstanding cast. Every character whether they lasted an episode or 6 seasons mattered. Unfortunatly due it already being pretty schizophrenic from the start the show made one of the worst 'jump the sharks' and towards the end despite the performances still shining through the show became pathetic and embarassing. A shame because had Fontana cut it off at around season 4 (where it reached a climax) OZ may of been remembered as a classic show and up there with the Sopranos. Check out the first three seasons and the first half of the fourth for some best and wickedly mad TV ever made.
  • 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

    7.4
    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.
  • Oz was a harsh show, even more violent and sensual than most of HBO's fare, but it all is used perfectly to create the image that you are in prison.

    8.0
    I watched all 6 seasons of Oz basically in a row, with only a few breaks when time permitted. All in all, I loved the show and the interesting cast of inmates. There were its low points in storylines like the murderous nurse, but also the high points. All in all, I would definitely reccomend this show to anyone with a strong stomach, but be wary what you get into. Its a great show, but there is still better out there, but for a true prison atmosphere, Oz is definitely where it is at.
  • A phenomenal look at the realities of prison life.

    9.9
    Without question, the absolute most realistic, dramatic, traumatic, and thorough television show that has ever aired depicting prison life. I chose to label this show 'Trandsetter,' although many classifications could fit all the same: 'Classic,' 'Personal Favorite,' 'Influential,' 'Cutting Edge,' 'Ahead of Its Time.'

    The grittiness and brutality of this show are mixed with excellent writing, directing, casting and acting. Every episode serves a purpose in the overall scheme of the show. There are no 'filler' or 'garbage' episodes. I would very highly recommend this show to anyone who likes this genre, It is 'rated' mature for a very good reason: lots of nudity, violence, rape, foul language. But those elements are also what makes OZ so realistic regarding prison life. Just a fantastic television experience.
  • You don't wanna miss it!

    7.0
    OK, it's violent and bloody and vicious and cruel. It's also wildly creative, beautifully filmed, brilliantly acted (with very few exceptions) and has a great framing device. The stories are both filled with detail and minutiae, and also have overarching moral tales and "big picture" flow. At the end of almost every episode you'll probably find yourself muttering "This is SUCH a good show!"

    Although it is ostensibly the story of a prison and its many prisoners, 'Oz' can be viewed as primarily the story of one man, Tobias Beecher. Beecher has committed vehicular manslaughter while driving drunk. Because Beecher is a lawyer, the court decides to make an example of him and sends him to maximum security at Oswald Penitentiary. His journey through Oz is basically the rest of the series, and it's certainly no yellow brick road he follows. Everything that you could imagine happening in a prison setting happens, and probably a lot you wouldn't imagine. He gets assigned to "Em" City (Emerald City), an experimental unit in Oz; the goal of Em City is to try a different living environment, one that might give the prisoners a chance at changing their lives and possibly rehabilitate them. Managed by a true prison reform zealot, Tim McManus, Em City is for many prisoners the only hope in their lives. The inmates of Em City are some of the most brutal offenders in the entire penitentiary - McManus insists that these are the prisoners to try to reach. McManus also picks newer prisoners, ones that don't have life sentences, to add to the mix and to give them a shot at rehabilitation. Every episode has a storyteller - most of the time the storyteller is Augustus Hill, shot while killing a cop and now confined to a wheelchair. Because he is unable to be physically brutal anymore, because he is more imprisoned than even his fellow prisoners, Augustus is very insightful and is used to heighten and clarify themes for the audience.

    The other inmates in Em City all have their own character development and story arcs - some are impressively vibrant but brief, others last for the whole series - but ultimately the writers always return to Beecher and his story. His friends (few), his enemies (many), his family, and his relationships with the prison staff.

    Amid the worst that prison can dish out, the inmates struggle with the meaning of religion, with definitions of family, with the corruption of politics, with friendship, betrayal, and ultimately, survival. There are moments of sheer wanton destruction, unspeakable violence, shocking cruelty, and pure evil. It's prison! There is nothing glorified here; inmates do drugs to escape the horror of their realities, gangs murder each other over trivialities, inmates and guards commit rape just because they can. But how they manage to survive - and IF they manage to survive - keeps you watching.

    Some key performances: The always perfect J.K. Simmons as Schillinger, the leader of the Aryans; Chris Meloni as Chris Keller (quite a different part than his character on L&O: SVU!); Lee Tergesen as Beecher; Eamonn Walker as Said, the leader of the Muslims; Dean and Scott Winters (real-life brothers) as Ryan and Cyril O'Reilly; and Kirk Acevedo as Miguel Alvarez, a member of the Latinos. But honestly, the whole cast is excellent. Even most of the "guest starring" roles - new inmates who practically have an expiration date stamped on them - are good, and at least are pretty interesting.

    It's coming out on DVD in dribs and drabs - rent it, borrow it, steal it, whatever. But watch it!
  • Pretty Strong

    8.0
    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.
  • A show that had it all but not for the faint hearted

    8.2
    OZ is unlike any other tv series I have seen.

    I found it extremely addictive, and quite frankly if this show doesn't convince you to stay out of prison, then nothing will.

    A great cast, starring Christopher Meloni, Ernie Hudson, Rita Moreno, Eamonn Walker

    Violence, sex, coarse language - OZ had it all and plenty of it.

  • Great prison drama

    8.8
    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.
  • An Unrelentingly Bleak Meditation on the Violence and Dysphoria Permeating the American Prison System

    9.0
    Welcome to Oz (The Oswald State Correctional Facility), a terrifyingly corrupt Prison set in upstate New York where the burdens of the state are pooled together with the very worst being brought to "Em City" a cell block oriented around rehabilitation and education led by the originally naive Tim McManus. "Em City" brings many members of diverse groups (Neo-Nazis, Muslims, Gangbangers, Junkies and Psychopaths) into a melting pot where there are no secrets. There are no solid walls, with all of the cells being glass prisms forcing the guards to watch in helpless horror (and even take part in the cruelty themselves) as prisoners Rape, Kill and sell/use massive amounts of Drugs all in the pursuit of power and any equivalent of freedom they can get their hands on. Over the course of Six Seasons each consisting of Eight hour-long episodes we learn more than we could ever want to know about the crimes, passions, relationships and vices of the inmates and guards. The Acting across the board is stellar- striding a fine line between Bold Art (the show is narrated from the rotating prismatic perspective of a wheelchair bound prisoner floating above the chaos of Oz like Glenda the Good Witch in her bubble) and eerie naturalism. Beyond this however most viewers will probably be put off by the EXTREMELY BRUTAL violence and full frontal male nudity (often within the context of Rape). Oz is a grueling experience but ultimately finds redemption in its humanization and not glorification of Prison Life. This is not The Shawshank Redemption. Instead we get an intimate look at the horrors of the Prison System and the corruption that sews the seeds of discontent often ending in the deaths of human beings. For those who can stomach the default nastiness and cynicism Oz will prove to be a rewarding and highly engaging exercise in sustained tension.



    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
  • Now, this is what you call a show.

    9.1
    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.

    I love this show.
  • 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.

    9.1
    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.

    9.1
    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.
  • If you like Prison Break, i guarantee that you would love this show!

    9.3
    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.
  • Oz details the daily life (and death) of the inmates at Oswald Penitentiary. Different cliques and alliances make for interesting pod-mates, and internal power struggles and vendettas affect not only the inmates but everyone who enters the world of Oz.

    9.3
    The first episode of Oz I saw was the one where Beecher uses his fingernails to murder the Nazi guard who had allowed the skinhead inmates to break Beecher's arms and legs. There was a lot of other stuff going on in that episode, but I will never forget the scene of Beecher calmly clipping his blood-soaked fingernails into the toilet and flushing the murder weapon/evidence away.

    And the show only continued to get better from there! Even though each character has a despicable side (which Tom Fontana pulled no punches in showing), they also have a oddly likeable side, which pulls you into the stories and makes the show as addicting as the drugs that play a prominent role in many of the storylines.

    Towards the end of the series, it seemed that the writers were running out of ideas, so the show became "who can we kill off this episode." It became tedious then, and it seemed that ending the series was the best idea. The final season, however, may have been the best one, with the execution of Cyril O'Reilly being one of the most heartbreaking stories I've ever seen. I loved the storyline about producing the play "Macbeth" and the way it played out for the lives of the characters.

    The show is raw, bloody, graphic and defintely NOT for everyone. But if you like that sort of thing, it's definitely for you!
  • Well get yourself ready for one of the most exciting prison reality shows you have ever experienced.

    9.4
    This has to be the best prison drama that has every been made. I have never been to prison but this show is so real you feel like your sitting in the ceil next to a convicted felon. It will blow you away and keep you glued to you plasma"s. Enjoy.
  • Oz: The name on the streets for Oswald Correctional Facility.

    9.5
    Oz was unbelievably gritty, and a joy to watch.

    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.
  • This show is great! Why cant there be more episodes. We need an Oz Channel sending the series 24/7

    9.6
    This show must be one of the most violent and hard edge shows ever shown on tv.
    It has a damn good plot and many interested points presented by Augustus Hill, the lovable narrator.

    If u havent seen this show yet, find a channel that shows them (TV3 and ZTV for norway, sweden and denmark)
    Or buy the dvds
  • 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

    9.8
    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.
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  • Love it!

    10
    Oz is a completely awesome show! The characters are great, and their stories make you love them, even if you completely hate them! Oz is completely great and I would make everyone watch it if I could! The way the charaters are portrayed is amazing! I love the show more then life itself! No, not really, but I do love it! The writers and directors were qenius'! The show was a definite hit! Oz just completely rocks, and everyone should be made to think so! I sound like the Oz nazi...no, maybe not because that's Shillinger, but I think I'm pretty close!
  • Unique and utterly original. Fantastic writing and acting. So different from the usual banal tv fare, and tragically under-rated.

    10
    Unique and utterly original. Fantastic writing and acting. So different from the usual banal tv fare, and tragically under-rated. I've watched it over and over again, and there's always something new, missed beforehand because it's so well written and the acting is first rate. It's such a shame that the show wasn't given more recognition, perhaps because of the sex, violence and language, while other, much blander and less thought provoking television was lauded. Without the groundbreaking Oz, I doubt they would ever have made the decision to risk investing in the more popular The Sopranos. I hope it gets rediscovered and fully appreciated at some point in the future.
  • Oz

    10
    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.
  • Another masterpiece from HBO

    10
    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 rules.

    10
    Best TV series I\'ve ever seen. It\'s original and educational to watch. Every episode has a great screenplay pulled off together with good acting.

    You could say that Oz is unqique. Think of it as good as Pulp Fiction, but in prison. It has this typical Tarantino-style screenplay. Oz is TV at its finest.
  • One of the best and probably most realistic shows on tv.

    10
    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.
  • Pile on the gay sex, mateys!

    10
    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.
  • 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.

    10
    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.
  • I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...OOPS!! I dropped the soap!

    10
    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!!
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