Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bring 'OZ' Back

"OZ, that's the name on the street for the Oswald Maximum Security Penitentiary. OZ is retro, OZ is retribution. You wanna punish a man? Separate him from his family, separate him from himself, cage him up with his own kind." ~ Augustus Hill

So my girlfriend and I just finished watching the full series of OZ and I realize I miss the hell out of it. I have seen the whole series a number of times, but she was an OZ virgin. Like so many prisoners in Oswald State Correctional Facility (Level 4), she was gripped by the gritty, prison drama and beaten into submission. It did not take long for her to become an OZ fan.

I have been a fan of many shows that have received a stay of execution at the zero hour. I love Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place (even without the pizza place). Roswell was the best show about high school aliens ever.  I still hope that somebody will see the awesomeness in Jericho and finally give us some answers. And now we have shows like Family Guy and Futurama that get cancelled and come back for round two.

That all got me thinking – Why not my OZ? The shows I mentioned were cool shows, but they are pretty much forgettable. That is not the case with HBO’s OZ. This is one show that really does deserve a second chance. Why was it cancelled, you ask?

As far as I can tell, the show was too gritty and pushed the envelope too far for a mainstream audience by 2003. Plus, the stars were all moving on to higher paid and better gigs. Finally throw in The Sopranos really getting big, and there was just too much stacked against OZ.

The fans want OZ back, though. That is why I started an online petition to bring OZ back on the air. To kick off the launching of this petition, and the launching of this site, I am going to do a five part series showing how awesome it would be for everyone to bring this great show back to the masses.

Today I just want to familiarize everyone with the basic story of OZ. Stay tuned for posts talking about other aspects of the show; including writing, cast, style, and even my suggestion for new season storylines. Make sure you sign the Bring OZ Back petition and tell your friends, family, and pets.

OZ told the stories of the inmates and workers of the fictional Oswald State Correctional Facility. Inside this maximum security prison was an experimental unit nicknamed ‘Emerald City’. This special unit of OZ was meant to concentrate more heavily on the rehabilitation of the prisoners. It did this by allowing them more freedoms than the general population; but it also had a much tighter control over many aspects of the prisoners’ daily lives.

In charge of Em City was Tim McManus, a dreamy-eyed man who really wanted to help the inmates of the prison. His philosophy was that every man, no matter how violent his crime, can be returned to the public a better person. It was this blind optimism that really kept the Em City project from being shut down.

Warden Leo Glynn butted heads with McManus a lot, but usually gave in to most demands. The warden was a good man, but he was hardened from busting his ass all the way up from a correctional officer. He also had a boss that he had to deal with, and that boss was a real douchebag.

Governor Devlin is the poster-boy for corrupt and evil politicians. Every decision this creepy, little man makes is for his own benefit. Em City, and Oswald State Facility in general, is always a thorn in his side. There are only two people in this series that you do not end up rooting for at some point, and Devlin is one of them.

The inmates of Oswald are just trying to survive. Most of them fall into certain groups within the prison walls, generally centered on race. Each group is battling for the drug trade, money, power, or just simply waving their junk around to show whose is bigger. This is where a lot of the drama in OZ comes from.

While you are waiting for part two of my Bring OZ Back series, please head on over and sign the petition and tell HBO what we really want.

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