Top 15 Most Popular Prison TV Series On Netflix
While jail may not appear to be the ideal location for a tale, it has been the topic of comedies, dramas, and even reality television in a variety of programs. Despite significant variances, the best prison shows to air all include engaging stories and multifaceted characters. Many prison-themed shows are dramas, thus they are not appropriate for viewers looking for light entertainment. That’s because for a series to be set in a jail for an extended period of time, the characters must have dark motives for being incarcerated and may have to engage in violent behavior to maintain their status.
In a unique twist on the prison documentary formula, 60 Days In has volunteers spend two months in jail posing as genuine offenders to gain an understanding of what life is like behind bars. Although certain interesting behind-the-scenes revelations of 60 Days In may detract from some of the show’s drama, there are plenty of reasons to love the six-season series.
‘Orange Is the New Black’ is undoubtedly the best-known series on this list. It follows the story of a young lady sentenced to prison for transporting drugs with her lesbian partner. Being her first time in prison, she gradually learns to adapt to her surroundings and develops relationships that may land her in trouble in the future.
This show’s first few seasons are incredibly intriguing and well-written, and you won’t be able to take your eyes away from it. However, it eventually loses its appeal and becomes a drag. Begin watching this show and keep watching till it entertains you, which it will undoubtedly do at first, and then it is entirely up to you to watch the last few seasons.
Is there anything worse than being imprisoned? Being in a foreign prison. This show’s host, Paul Connelly, takes us on a journey inside these unfriendly foreign prisons, revealing the horrible facts of these locations. If you were appalled by what you witnessed in ‘A Prayer Before Dawn,’ believe me, this is considerably worse. After watching this, you’ll never see the penitentiary the same way again.
Girls Incarcerated offers a realistic look into the lives of young women at Madison Juvenile Center. It highlights their challenges, goals, and personal development in a severe setting.
The docu-series tells the often-overlooked tales of these young women and the efforts to help them improve.
More than just a grim depiction, the series focuses on the bonds they form, making it a valuable addition to Netflix’s documentary library.
For Life, a legal drama based on the true tale of Isaac Wright Jr., who was mistakenly convicted to life in prison before staging his own legal challenge and eventually becoming an attorney, is one of the best prison-themed shows of recent years. Despite not being renewed for a third season, the two that exist do a terrific job of presenting a man on the wrong side of a dysfunctional legal system.
The critically praised Wentworth may be dismissed as an Australian Orange Is the New Black, but don’t be misled. Wentworth provides a considerably darker perspective on prison life. It has also received numerous honors in Australia, including Best TV Drama and Best Lead Actress in a TV Drama. The story centers on Bea Smith, a woman who is awaiting trial for her husband’s attempted murder. Soon, jail life catches up with her, forcing Bea to choose between behavior and survival. The series is simple to follow and interesting enough to inspire your next binge.
READ MORE: How Many Prisons/Prisoners Are There In Georgia – The Most Deadly Prisons
7. Prison Playbook (2017–2018)
‘Prison Playbook’ is a South Korean comedy-drama series about a baseball pitcher who is nearing the pinnacle of his profession but finds himself in prison after attempting to protect his sister from a sexual assault. All of this happens only a few days before he is scheduled to play for the Boston Red Sox. But now, behind bars, he must learn to survive and adapt to the prison atmosphere.
‘Prison Playbook’ depicts prison life in a surprising new way—with a lot of comedy. You will undoubtedly fall in love with the characters in this series and find yourself laughing and sobbing alongside them. After seeing this, you may find it difficult to return to watching US-based TV shows because it raises the bar too high.
This series follows the first few days of incoming convicts and the final days of those released from Georgia’s Gwinnett County Jail. It’s an interesting and emotional look at what might be an inmate’s worst and best day, as well as how being in jail can alter you. The first season is six episodes long.
READ MORE: 4 Simplest Steps to Visit a Prisoners in the U.S (Federal and State Prisons)
Inspired by true events, Black Bird follows the incarceration of a once-promising football star (Taron Egerton) who chose not to accept football scholarships in order to attend college and stay close to home. After turning to crime, he ends up in prison and is asked by law enforcement to use his charm to persuade another prisoner (Paul Walter Hauser) to reveal his suspected background as a serial killer of at least 14 women.
The drama is a six-episode miniseries, and its shorter format works well, keeping the stories concise and focused. Egerton and Hauser both deliver outstanding performances in their respective roles. Both performers received nods for their performances from the Golden Globes, Screen performers Guild, and Primetime Emmys.
Although not necessarily a brutal, realistic depiction of jail life, no show is more connected with incarceration than Fox’s dramatic prison breakout thriller from the 2000s. The first season focuses on Lincoln Burrows, a man unfairly sentenced to death and confined in a state prison, and offers an ambitious scheme to liberate him and numerous other inmates.
Although the ensuing seasons follow various narratives, they all take place in different jail conditions as the main characters find themselves on the wrong side of the law and other nefarious groups. There are dips in quality throughout Prison Break’s five seasons, yet many believe it to be one of the best prison shows available.
Documentaries on prisons may be extremely thought-provoking and difficult in the proper hands. Sometimes it’s just soapy reality TV, like Netflix’s Jailbirds. Jailbirds follows a group of female convicts at the Sacramento County Jail, avoiding introspection in favor of gossip and personal drama. The Daily Dot’s reviewer dubbed it Real World: Sacramento County Jail, which fits. This is easily the most morally problematic inclusion on our list, yet some viewers will find it fascinating.
This Spanish crime thriller follows a young woman who is imprisoned after being duped into an embezzlement scheme by her boyfriend. Locked Up is significantly darker than Orange Is the New Black. It’s nasty, violent, and unexpectedly intense. However, it is equally lauded, with the entire cast receiving an Ondas Award for Best Actress in 2015.
Oz, one of the shows that established HBO as a force to be reckoned with in the field of long-form dramas, was also a suspenseful and absorbing show in and of itself. The show’s title is an abbreviation for Oswald State Correctional Facility, a fictional maximum-security prison that serves as both the show’s setting and the location of a social experiment to control the often unstable inmates.
In contrast to some of the violent and unrepentant offenders in “Emerald City,” the wing of the jail where most of drama takes place, the lead character is incarcerated for a fatal drunk-driving accident, and he provides the ideal perspective to navigate the show’s twists and turns. Despite its cruel and gory nature, Oz is a remarkable series that has won multiple nominations from the GLAAD Media Awards, the NAACP Image Awards, and the ALMA Awards for its diverse and brilliant ensemble. Oz is the best prison show.
A 12 Year Night is a disturbing account of three Uruguayan political prisoners who were held captive for 12 years under the country’s military dictatorship in the 1970s.
Based on historical events, the film offers a riveting examination of the human spirit’s resilience and the lengths that authoritarian regimes would go to shatter it.
The trio’s terrifying experience of solitude, anguish, and sheer resolve to survive gives a bleak picture of the time. Captivating performers and a moving story make it one of Netflix’s best historical dramas.
Netflix’s jail library includes something for everyone, from dramatizing and recording the true tales of women in prison to investigating the criminal justice system’s systemic flaws.
Netflix now has a number of outstanding jail shows, ranging from original documentaries like Making a Murderer to reruns of Breaking Bad. If you’re more interested in what happens after the heist—or how prisons work beyond entertainment—Netflix has plenty of prison video for you.
If you like The Glory, Black Knight and are interested in other popular Korean dramas, consider the following suggestions.
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This is the first series of 2024 to rank #1 on Netflix globally, ‘Money Heist: Berlin’.