The show is about a young WASP from NYC who has to spend a year in women's prison for a crime she committed in her younger, wilder years. Piper is plunged into a strange, new world, filled with women who have fascinating, and often heartbreaking, pasts.
I liked the season, and the finale's cliffhanger makes me super impatient for next year's new season. Even Duke is hooked, watching all the episodes when he can. It's the kind of series that would only work on a network like HBO. Between this, House of Cards, and the new season of Arrested Development, Netflix has really redeemed itself in my eyes. There was a time where I felt they were flailing, but their original content does not disappoint.
As for the characters, there are so many that I like! Laura Prepon is fantastic as Alex's ex-girlfriend. Kate Mulgrew, who I used to watch on Star Trek, plays Red, one of my favorite characters. I also love transgender actress Laverne Cox's portrayal of Sophia. There's tons of drama, lots of laughs, and a huge cast that leaves you wanting every backstory. The show does a lot of storytelling via flashbacks, which gives you context for the way each of the women are presented.
The only characters I don't really like? Piper and her fiance Larry. I feel like everyone else is perfectly imperfect, yet these two are over-privileged whiners. Maybe that's how they're supposed to be portrayed. I expected to empathize most with Piper. But in the end I found that I could feel for even the most crazy, larger than life characters more than I could Piper or Larry. I just don't care for them at all.
Also, this may be one of the best quotes ever from the show. You gotta watch it to understand.