‘Orange Is the New Black’ Season 3 Early Release Sparks Social Media Frenzy

Netflix begins streaming the Emmy-winning series six hours early, Twitter erupts

“Orange is the New Black” fans got a welcome surprise on Thursday when Netflix began streaming Season 3 of the prison-based comedy-drama six hours early.

The good news was delivered via a tweet from the streaming service just after 6 p.m. PT that announced “Attention inmates! Orange Is the New Black season 3 is out on early release.”

Viewers had not expected to be reunited with the women of the Litchfield Correctional Institution until midnight — and some compared it to Christmas coming early. Many dropped all their plans, whether it was watching the NBA Finals, sleeping, eating, studying or attending a graduation (thank God for the Netflix mobile app).

TV’s hottest inmates — including Piper Chapman (played by Taylor Schilling), Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), Galina “Red” Reznikov (Kate Mulgrew), Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne), Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren (Uzo Aduba) and Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson (Danielle Brooks) — had already gotten their sentences extended after Netflix announced in April that the Emmy-winning show will return for a fourth season in 2016.

The Television Academy ruled earlier this year that “Orange Is the New Black” must enter the Emmy Awards race as a drama going forward, due to a previously reported change in rules. The one-hour dramedy previously competed in the comedy category.

See the tweets below.