Help! I can't stop watching Prison Break

[About the first season of Prison Break, with a brief recap of the start of the second season.]

Prison Break is possibly the most exciting new series in years. And I mean exciting in that edge of your seat 24 kind of way. Except I like it a lot more than 24.

I began renting the season one DVD, like, three weeks ago. By the second disk, I was so hooked that I just couldn't believe it; I had to know what happened next. I watched the entire first season in less than a week, downloaded the first few of season two via I-Tunes, and now I'm watching it live.

Prison Break is about a structural engineer named Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller, see photo to your right), who has a brother named Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell). On death row for (of course) a crime that he didn't commit, Linc had lost all of his appeals. In a desperate bid to break Linc out of prison before his execution, Michael had the prison blueprints tattooed on his body, and then committed a bank robbery in order to have himself incarcerated in the same prison as his brother. (This is all told to us in the pilot.)

How do I love Michael Scofield? Let me count the ways. Michael is a very special character, very much the reason I watch. Much of what happens in Prison Break is like a violent chess game, and Michael, a genius in the literal sense, is usually five moves ahead of everyone else. Michael is genuinely good, compelled to rescue people, and absolutely determined to save his brother Linc no matter what it costs him personally.

And it costs him a lot. Nearly everything. How can you not care about someone who would sacrifice so much and go to such incredible extremes to save his brother's life? The writers must know how the audience feels about Michael because they just keep hurting the guy. (I keep shrieking at my TV, no! no! Don't hurt Michael again!)

Michael's tattoos are practically a character in the story all by themselves. Along with the disguised prison blueprints, Michael had letters, numbers, pictures, etc. containing information such as phone numbers and chemical formulae that he would need during the escape also tattooed on his body. It takes the makeup people over four hours to apply the tatts to Wentworth Miller, according to the season one DVD special features. They're really something to see.

Each week, Michael and his compatriots have insurmountable obstacles to overcome. Yes, we have the beautiful prison doctor and the kindly warden and the corrupt prison guard. Yes, we have convicts for supporting characters, some of whom are absolutely despicable... but the actors are so good that you can't help getting into their stories. Characters get hurt. Characters die. It's pretty much nuts.

Prison Break is just outright exciting and fun to watch. It's a roller coaster ride, and I absolutely love it.

So far, I've mentioned very little that you couldn't pick up from the pilot episode of season one or a general synopsis of the series. But now I'm going to mention something that falls in the spoiler range, so if you don't want the end of the first season spoiled, stop reading right now and go out and Netflix this series!

La di da...

La di da...

Spoilery spoilery...

Tra la la...

Okay.

If the first season feels like Shawshank Redemption, then season two of Prison Break has segued into The Fugitive. They've added William Fichtner (late of the failed Invasion) in the Tommy Lee Jones role, and it absolutely works. You can practically hear him saying, "What I want out of each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area.") They even have someone who's sort of in the spirit of the one-armed man.

So if you haven't been watching Prison Break, you might want to give the first season a rent. As with everything else, your mileage may vary. But you just might love it as much as I do.
---
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

15 comments:

SimbiAni said...

I agree, 'cept I didnt see the first season, and only just started watching this one since my other shows in the timeslot hadnt started yet. (It's against How I Met Your Mother, and 7th Heaven) And so far, I really like it, season two anyways- I think it's really good! So I'll definitely be tuning in for it every week now on! Not sure if I'll get around to checking out season one tho, can't afford it, hehe... Think you'll be adding this to your reviews? ^_^

lesley said...

Oh you keep discovering the shows I love! Prison Break is awesome, it's filming in Dallas and I finally found out how to get cast as an extra (now if I can just get cast!)

Anthony said...

Awesome Billie, I am so glad you love the show. I was hooked from the first episode when it came out and it's been my guilty pleasure ever since. I won't spoil anything for those who haven't seen it yet, but you know this season is going to be even better when you consider the pure joy and excitement of the second season opener! The show throws some great surprises and that makes it so suspenseful. I mean you just don't know what will happen, no matter how predictable it may seem.

Gompie said...

OK, you've got me.... I've skipped the part after your spoiler warning and I'm going to watch Prison Break....

redisthenewblack said...

Totally agree.

I too am a latecomer to PB (I watched it long after it was shown here in the UK). I stumbled across a rerun of ep. 3 on a random cable channel and was instantly hooked.

That was only 2 months ago and have since watched all of season 1 and up to ep. 4 of season 2.

I absolutely *adore* it and haven't been this genuinely excited about a show since 24 (and before that the X Files).

Scofield's obvious charms aside, he is one of my favourite TV characters of recent times and this is a refreshingly original and brilliant show.

I *highly* recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it yet.

Miss Red x

Jess said...

Hey Billie,

Glad to see you are on board with Prison Break! I love the show, too. Michael is definitely a compelling character. And some of the supporting baddies, such as T-Bag and Abruzzi, are utterly dispicable, but you can't help wanting to see more of them. T-Bag is quite possibly the skeeziest, most irredeemable character I've ever been "enchanted" with. And for this season, I just love the casting of William Fichtner. He's perfect for the role and should prove a worthy adversary for Michael.

One thing newcomers to the show need to be aware of ... many of the plot devices and twists are completely ridiculous and make absolutely no logical sense. It can be even worse than "24" in that regard. But it is one of those shows where if you just go along for the ride and don't think too hard about it, it is really, really enjoyable. Overlooking the logic problems can be challenging at times, but it is well worth it. Heck, Michael alone makes it all worth it.

Anonymous said...

I really love that show. I discovered it in April and watched it on the Internet and now it is shown in Belgium on KA2.

The Plot is just so intense and you always want to know what will happen next.

The charachters are well played and so charming (especially Sara Tancredi).

And now season 2 is different but just as awesome as the first.

Anonymous said...

You've been distracted, haven't you *mock evil glare* Is this the reason VMars reviews are still at 'Versatile Toppings'? You let yourself get seduced by the oft-shirtless Wentworth Miller? Tut, tut. Good grief, I just said "tut, tut"...there goes my credibility.

I do very much like prison break; it's very cool and fast-moving and, hell, I love a good conspiracy theory. Shame I was born too late to really get into the X-files. I've been considering seeing more by renting the DVD; now that it comes with a Billie recommendation, I'll have to make that rent a certainty.

Billie Doux said...

Tut tut?

You can retract the evil glare; I just put up four more and we're at "I am God." Four Veronicas to go. I could write four reviews in my sleep. But I won't.

Although Wentworth Miller is indeed distracting.

Anonymous said...

I quite enjoyed the first season of Prison Break, and also found it comparable to 24, in a good way. The plot, though quite ridiculous, is nonetheless compelling, and all of the actors are good which keeps the twists and turns interesting.

I am pretty disappointed to hear that you aren't a big 24 fan, though, Billie. I was going to ask if you would ever consider reviewing it. I wouldn't rank it quite up there with the likes of Buffy or Angel, but I do think it's a really strong, exciting show.

I actually came quite late to watching 24, I picked up the first season DVD about a year ago and purchased the following 3 after I had finished that, although I'm currently only about halfway through season 3. But I genuinely think it's a fantastic show.

You've got some fantastic performances from the likes of Kiefer Sutherland and Dennis Haybert, and many memorable characters like Nina Meyers, Sherry Palmer and Tony Almeida. The plots are very compelling if you can suspend disbelief.

I'm just really enjoying watching it, not only for the action scenes and charismatic performances but for the political intrigue and exploration of some very potent real world issues like terrorism and war. There's just something so heavenly about getting stuck into a new season of 24 on DVD, just enjoying such interesting characters and fast moving stories.

- Marc Mulholland

Billie Doux said...

I do like 24. But for some reason, it just doesn't resonate for me strongly enough to compel me to write about it.

I still haven't seen season five, which I've heard is the best so far, and I'm looking forward to it.

My friend Tara Dilullo wrote a book about 24, by the way. I haven't read it yet, but Tara is a terrific writer and I recommend anything she's written.

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

I'm so glad to see that you're a Prison Break fan also. A friend talked me into watching it mid-season last year when FX had a marathon and re-aired a bunch of the earlier episodes. It is soooooo good. And yes, what woman doesn't love Michael Scofield :-)?

Also, I just recently got hooked on Lost and really enjoyed your reviews. You and I were so on the same page when you kept saying "Would everyone quit hurting Sawyer?" I loved it. I am so excited about next week's episode with him & Kate.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Billie!!

I'm Chofi, from Spain.

I sent you an e-mail a while ago, maybe you remember me...

I've recently started to watch Prison Break and... OH MY GOD!!! It's just amazing, one of the most intense and intelligent shows I've ever seen (like Lost on his First Season...).

I just was wondering that it would be nice if you review PB as well, because I think it really deserves it :)

Besotes ;-)

Jessica said...

Hi Billie,

I really enjoy reading your reviews of Lost and would love to see you reviewing Prison Break in the near future. I know you are already doing four shows but maybe you can drop one for Prison Break?
Wishing thinking on my part.

Going back to the show, I have to agree with you Prison Break is one of the most exciting series in years. I was hooked from the 1st show and it doesn't hurt that they have such good looking actors for convicts. Each character is so compelling and even though some are so dispicable they still fascinate me. I hated t-bag at the beginning of the show but now that we know more his character he as growned on me. I mean I still hate that he is a pedophile at all but Robert K. plays him so well that I think he's becoming more of a main character after the brothers. I just hope they don't kill him off. He's so different from the rest of them and he's the guy you love to hate.





Jessica

Eran said...

Hi Billie,
I've been watching Prison Break.
I've also chose "you're fine with what you're doing right now" when you had a poll about doing other series. I only did it because I felt guilty enjoying reading your comments of Lost and BSG so much with no gratitude.
However, every time I watch an episode of Prison Break, I immidiately go to your site (just like I do after every episode of Lost and BSG) just to be reminded you don't cover this show.
All in all, I aggre - it's an awsome show, one of its biggest disadvantages is that you don't cover it.