Last year I posted an article about the four contenders to replace Breaking Bad as the unequivocal best show on television. There were four main contenders: Parks and Recreation, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and Orange Is The New Black. Since Vince Gilligan’s epic went off the air in the fall of 2013, three of those shows have made strong cases to be the champ. Mad Men ended up being the weakest out of the four, but it has helped define the standard for prestige television and is part of the reason any great non-super hero story isn't shown in movie theaters but rather on the small screen. Game of Thrones is the most watched show out of these four (most likely, since Netflix doesn’t release its viewing numbers) and has transcended the fantasy genre into something incredible, but it’s uneven-ness in storytelling and reliance on its source material ultimately forces the show to play second fiddle. Parks and Recreation is brilliant in every way, but the fact that it’s a sitcom first and foremost lowered its ceiling.
On the other hand, Orange Is The New Black managed to take the best parts of these shows and rise above them to become the best show out there. Orange has the storytelling skills of Mad Men, the grandeur of scope a la Game of Thrones, and the heart of Parks and Recreation while still telling its own stories. There are most certainly faults with the Netflix dramedy, and truthfully it probably has more faults than any of its competitors, but the fact that it’s still so damn good proves why it deserves to be the champion.