• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Jul 12, 1997
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Lee Winfrey
    May 15, 2013
    The first new drama series ever produced by Home Box Office, Oz, is a powerhouse. It will probably push the quality standards for television drama as far as HBO's masterful Larry Sanders Show has expanded the parameters of TV comedy series. [9 July 1997, p.C01]
  2. Reviewed by: Gail Pennington
    May 15, 2013
    In a stifling summer of same-old, same-old on the tube, HBO's Oz is a shock of ice water in the face, a kick in the stomach, an exciting, exhausting, horrifying, mesmerizing trip to hell, operating as the Oswald Maximum Security Prison...For adults who choose to go to hell and (not quite) back, Oz is just about as powerful as TV drama gets. [10 July 1997]
  3. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    May 15, 2013
    For the most part, Oz is an awesome achievement - an alternately crude and elegant attempt to expand the boundaries of the one-hour drama. If it can avoid an over reliance on prison movie clichs, stay focused on the redemption theme and give its powerhouse cast more room to breathe, it could be one of the most important works ever aired on American television. [12 July 1997, p.29]
  4. Reviewed by: Lon Grahnke
    May 15, 2013
    During the first hour of Oz, you aren't likely to grin or chuckle at the shocking pain, cruelty, horror and hopelessness in "The Routine" -- unless you appreciate grim irony and twisted gallows humor. [11 July 1997, p.35]
  5. Reviewed by: Terry Kelleher
    Jun 26, 2013
    You won't escape easily from this drama's grip.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 34 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Nov 22, 2013
    There is no doubt, after reading many reviews, that the critics are not as qualified to write them than the fans are. Anyone that gives this show a 60 or below doesn't really understand great television and should resign. Walking Dead Season 2 is also highly underrated on here. To give The Sopranos lower scores than Homeland is downright despicable. You should be thrown in prison. Full Review »
  2. Jan 3, 2013
    Great TV series on the darkest of the human spirit. Went all surreal and to the absurd towards the end of the series. Despite the quality of the acting, the narrative got lost in a spiral of gritty violence and aparent permissiveness/chaos. Disapointing finale. Full Review »
  3. Nov 26, 2012
    Oz is the show that started HBO, and it was a great preface to the television that would come. From the amazing opening theme to the ending credits, I guarantee that Oz will entertain you like no other TV show has. The tension of Breaking Bad, the scope and amazing characters of The Wire, and the smart writing of The Sopranos; and all years before any of those shows were being produced. While the show's influence is difficult to find in modern TV, it is definitely there. Here in the first season, we are introduced to some of the most realistic and best acted characters in TV history. Adebisi, Said, Beecher, Schillinger, Wheelchair Boy; all of these characters have their own outlooks on life, prison, and life in prison. They come together to make an interesting and thought provoking take on prison life and outside life in general. Who are the real criminals: the convicts or the guards? What about the death penalty? Do convicts deserve basic human rights? These are all questions that Oz poses through characters and events both just and unjust, and every minute of it is entertaining. Not to mention the camaraderie and humor among the prisoners and guards. Oz is a show that will leave you thinking and laughing at the same time, all while beating out the funky theme song on your favorite chair, breaking your remote in the process. On to Season 2 for me. Full Review »