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Oz: Season 1 Review

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Entertaining HBO prison drama.

★★★★

A revelation to anyone who’d ordinarily rate male rape and heroin abuse fairly low on their list of TV wants, HBO’s prison drama combines extreme violence with a disarmingly subtle touch. The brutality of life inside is made unflinchingly clear, yet excellent writing and Harold Perrineau’s guiding voiceover keep it well above prison porn. Star turns from Ernie Hudson, Luis Guzman, Edie Falco (later to make her name in another HBO hit, The Sopranos) and Spider-Man’s J. K. Simmons put the spit on an already impressive shine; one of the best ensembles in recent TV history, this is nigh-on faultless, and relentlessly entertaining.