* ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. Today, Netflix.
* JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL. 10 p.m. Saturday, BBC America.
IF THERE'S one problem with Netflix's releasing entire seasons of its streaming originals at once, it's that binge-watching makes the time between seasons of "Orange Is the New Black" only feel even longer.
As Netflix's best series returns today for Season 3, Jenji Kohan's series about inmates at a women's prison is as addictive as ever. Intermittently hilarious, occasionally infuriating and still very much the drama that new Emmy rules have declared it, "Orange" continues to peel back the layers not only of the inmates and guards at Litchfield Correctional but of the system that brought them together.
And, no, that system's not a blonde from Brooklyn with a privileged past.
Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) is not the first TV character to become one of the least interesting people on her own show - hello, "Ally McBeal" - but early parole seems unlikely, given that she's loosely based on Piper Kerman, whose prison memoir inspired the series.
No one by now should need to filter their "OITNB" experience through Piper, whose interactions with Alex (Laura Prepon) didn't add much to the six episodes I've seen. (Your mileage may vary.)
The show belongs to characters like Kate Mulgrew's Red and Uzo Aduba's Suzanne and Jackie Cruz's Flacca - who's ready for her closeup - and Taryn Manning's "Pennsatucky" and to Litchfield Correctional itself, which faces changes in Season 3 that highlight a few more of the oddities of modern prison administrations.
Mary Steenburgen guest-stars as a mother (you'll want to see whose). On another show her presence might represent a sharp increase in dramatic woman-power.
Here? She's just another face in a talented crowd.
Mustiness wars with magic in BBC America's "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell," a miniseries premiering tomorrow that occasionally escapes its period-drama trappings to astonish us with an illusion or two.
Based on the Susanna Clarke best-seller, a fantasy history that may have played better on the page, the seven-episode series stars Bertie Carvel and Eddie Marsan as the title characters, who, we're told, are destined to bring the practice of magic to early 19th century England after a 300-year absence.
If only that didn't involve summoning a certain "gentleman" from the realm of the fairies (Marc Warren), a dreary villain with David Bowie's '80s hair who almost had me longing for Lord Voldemort.
Carvel plays Strange, a man for whom magic may be just one answer to a life that lacks purpose, though the character seems purpose-built to challenge Norrell, whose pupil he becomes.
Marsan ("Ray Donovan") supplies the show's true magic as the fussily enigmatic Mr. Norrell, who longs to make his calling respectable by helping his country in the war against the French. First, though, he needs to make himself useful to a powerful man with a rich, dying fiancee.
Things don't go as planned, either with the fiancee or the war, but unless you, too, have been gone for 300 years, you won't need a crystal ball to see that coming.
On Twitter: @elgray