This week on the small screen

‘Orange’ goes blue and white, and ‘True Detective’ goes ‘Chinatown.’

‘Orange Is the New Black’ (photo credit: PR)
‘Orange Is the New Black’
(photo credit: PR)
One of the hottest shows on television, HBO’s True Detective, is starting its second season, which you can see on YES Oh on Mondays at 4 a.m.
(the exact time it is aired in the US) and 10 p.m. and on YES VOD.
The first season featured Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as detectives tracking a serial killer in Louisiana. It received rave reviews, top ratings and a slew of awards, but I confess that I had my fill of serial-killer story lines by the mid-1990s, and I just couldn’t get into it.
The new season, however, is completely different. It stars Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams as three detectives in southern California trying to track down a city official who has gone missing, with the help of career criminal Vincent Vaughn. The mood and atmosphere are reminiscent of a contemporary version of Chinatown. Just as in Season One, the characters are laden with baggage and all kinds of psychological issues. McAdams in particular is very appealing. It got me hooked, far more than the first season.
AN UNLIKELY convert to Judaism was one of the most enjoyable story lines on Season 3 of Orange Is the New Black, which was released all at once by Netflix and is available here on HOT Xtra VOD.
After the prison is purchased by a corporation, the new regime gives the inmates virtually inedible prepared meals. Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore), one of the African- American inmates, learns that the kosher meals are delicious and that anyone can ask for them. She starts a trend of inmates keeping kosher, and the suits at the corporation become suspicious. Asked how there can suddenly be so many Jews at the prison, Joe Caputo (one of the acting standouts this season), the warden, replies, “I know. It’s confusing, right? We used to have them wear the Stars of David, but we had to stop doing that after World War II. I don’t remember why.”
A rabbi is sent to root out the gentiles eating kosher. Cindy, determined, learns that she can convert, so she starts studying with one of the Jewish inmates.
The rabbi has no choice but to go and investigate the sincerity of her conversion. Asked why she wants to become a Jew, she gives an answer that is both what he needs to hear and quite touching: “Honestly, I think I found my people. I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell. And if I was good, I’d go to heaven. And if I’d ask Jesus, he’d forgive me, and that was that. And here, y’all are saying there ain’t no hell. Ain’t sure about heaven. And if you do something wrong, you got to figure it out yourself. And as far as God’s concerned, it’s your job to keep asking questions and to keep learning and to keep arguing. It’s like a verb. It’s like … you do God. And that’s a lot of work, but I think I’m in, as least as far as I can see it.”
THE SHOW Royal Pains may be one of the silliest series in the history of television, but it’s oddly enjoyable when you are feeling close to brain dead. It returns for its seventh season on June 30 at 10 p.m. on YES Drama. The show, which is basically real estate porn at its finest, is set in East Hampton but filmed on the beaches of Georgia. It tells the story of Hank (Mark Feuerstein, an appealing character actor in his first lead), a talented surgeon unfairly forced out of his job in a New York hospital, who becomes a “concierge doctor” to the rich and famous in this beach-resort community. His mysterious boss Boris, an Eastern-European billionaire who speaks about 12 languages (including Hebrew), is played by Campbell Scott. The son of George C. Scott and Colleen Dewhurst, Campbell Scott is one of the sexiest actors around but for some reason has never become the star his father was. His presence always stops the show.