No Place Like Home
Fly Me Away
The Girl Who Waited
The Things We Do
The Velvet Curtain
To The Moon
With Prison Break and Orange Is The New Black dominating the crowded prison genre, you’d be forgiven for writing off Wentworth as just another imitation series. Incredibly, Wentworth not only takes the best parts of both shows, at times it surpasses both of them. There’s a consistency in the well written episodes that juggles tension and excitement with a good pacing making this female prison drama a very strong show. With an array of memorable characters, each with their own complex personas and belief systems, and a dangerous prison environment, Wentworth is a drama well worth watching.
The first season begins much like any other prison show, with the main character, in this case Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack) imprisoned for murdering her husband and trying to adjust to life behind bars. Once inside the prison, Bea has to juggle her own inner demons whilst navigating a hostile hierarchical prison system. With two distinct factions brewing between top dog Jacs (Kris McQuade) and spunky, young Franky Doyle (Nicole da Silva), Bea finds herself caught in the middle of this power struggle as she tries to survive prison life. Its a basic set up but the various characters have such great chemistry and coupled with a gripping, well paced plot, its hard not to like the first season of Wentworth.
Most shows of this nature live or die based on the characters inhabiting the world and thankfully Wentworth features a great array of interesting, well fleshed out characters. Where Orange Is The New Black devolves into comedy tropes and cliched personas for its characters, Wentworth defiantly steers away from this with complex characters that all have their own motivations that are explored throughout the 10 episodes. This attention to detail really helps this prison drama stand out and because of this, the show is all the better for it.
Its a shame then that Wentworth has flown under the radar for many people. With an explosive finale and the door left wide open for the inevitable second season, Wentworth is an incredibly tense, absorbing show that’s worth investing the time to watch. It manages to carve out its own place in the crowded prison drama market taking the tense parts of prison break and the array of memorable characters from Orange Is The New Black without ever feeling like an imitation. At its best, there’s no denying that Wentworth surpasses many other dramas out there, full of solid acting and boasting a decent production value. If this first season is anything to go on, the future looks promising for this prison drama that manages to defy expectations and entertain from start to finish.
Verdict - 8/10