It’s become a badge of quality. Whenever Lounge sees the crackle and hiss of the HBO logo, we almost take it for granted that the TV show attached is going to set standards and rock foundations. Brutal prison drama Oz does these things, or rather it did, back in 1997. But so much since has done so much more.
Oz’s popularity as a cult slice of television programming has much to do with the fact that we had yet to witness the family problems of Tony Soprano, and with the programmes that have followed in the past decade it’s a struggle to live and breathe these felons. Furthermore, the over-stylised voiceover segments kick lumps out of the enjoyment.
Oz isn’t bad, it’s not sub-standard, it’s just a little thin and lacking in definition compared to what followed. But it remains a vital step on the HBO ladder to TV supremacy, which makes it a slice of history.
BEST BIT Eric Roberts, as a prisoner in episode four, gives everything a much-needed shake.