I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, so if you have not watched seasons 1–2 of Wentworth and seasons 1–3 Orange is the New Black (OITNB), you have been warned!. The two main differences between this show is that Wentworth is MUCH darker than Orange. Wentworth takes place in Australia, while Orange is in America. Both are female prison shows, but honestly Orange almost feels like a sit-com version of prison. It does have its more serious moments, but overall it generally is a light-hearted show. It does get into serious prison stuff, such as turf wars and assaults, but overall…it almost feels like a “haha” version to what prison is actually like.
Wentworth is much more of a drama-type show. It focuses on the dark, nitty-gritty reality of what prisoners are really like. It deals with corrupt officers, domestic violence, sexual assault (both in and out of prison), mental health problems (such as self harm), and other very serious that goes on in prison. Now, Orange does do SOME of this, but overall doesn’t really give it the “in-depth” coverage that these topics so-desperately need.
Personally, I prefer Wentworth. It might be because I like myself some darker themed shows, but I also like the character development more. Wentworth has a smaller main character cast, but I think they also turn this into their strength. They really go and explore the histories of these characters and why they are the way they are. I feel like Orange hurts itself in this manner because we hear one or two sentences (or learn very detailed histories about particular characters when honestly, we don’t care too much for said characters). Is it awesome that Orange has a very diverse cast? Yes, but due to time constraints (and similar problems), they simply can not give the required attention to all characters.
Now, with that being said, Wentworth most certainly is not for everyone. Due to its dark nature, it would very likely send many viewers into a full blown panic attack, due to the explicit depictions of suicide, self harm, domestic violence, rape, etc. The show handles the scenes tastefully, but the implication is still most certainly there. Do I love Orange? Yes, I do, but I also love Wentworth and am curious as to why more people are not watching it. If I am in the mood for a laugh, I am going to watch Orange. However, if I want something a little more “true to life” with prison, I am going to watch Wentworth.