Monday, October 3, 2011

Television Review: Prison Break, Season 1

It surprises me that this series, Prison Break, made it through four seasons. I was originally under the impression that each season had a new cast of characters and featured a new prison break. But I've since been disabused of that idea. I'm curious to see how the subsequent seasons maintain the theme of prison breaking. The main actor, Dominic Purcell, seems to do a lot of his acting by squinting his eyebrows, but then opening his eyes as wide as possible.[1] Leann and I couldn't help but make the comparison with Robert Pattinson of the Twilight movies. (We've never seen any of those movies, but we like to characterize Robert Pattinson's acting as consisting entirely of moving his unusually bushy eyebrows around for dramatic effect.[2])

My verdict: This series was violent enough that Leann decided to stop watching it after only two or three episodes. And she made it through seasons 3–8 of 24 and seasons 2–4 of the new Battlestar Galactica. So if either of those were too violent for you, then you should avoid this one. Some of the plot developments were clever and well-handled. They were definitely good at creating and maintaining tension. However, a few times the sequence of events were a little too convenient. For example, the prison management just happens to decide to re-sod the part of the grounds that the escaping prisoners will have to cross over at just the right time for Michael to plant a tape recorder so he can figure out how often the guards pass by there on their rounds so they know how much time they have when they make their escape. On the other hand, some things go terribly wrong and you wonder, How can they possibly get out of this one? And in most cases the answer to that question isn't disappointing (e.g. like V [3] or Heroes).


[1] Perhaps he draws his inspiration from Zoolander (a movie I deeply regret watching)? "Blue Steel" anyone?

[2] 30-second Bunny Theater seems to concur.

[3] See my review of the second (and final) season of V here.

Image attribution:

Prison bars is by Jelle Vancoppenolle, available at 


  1. We are trying to get through the final season of Prison Break, but it's taking us a long time since Mike doesn't have much time to watch anymore. I had a hard time with Season 1 of 24 and never watched any more of it, but I've watched quite a bit of Prison Break when Mike has it on. To be honest, though, I probably wouldn't have continued if I were watching it on my own, just because of the violence and utter disregard for human life. Still, though, 24 bothered me a lot more.

  2. Odd that my comment posted three times.

  3. Fixed. Some of the later seasons of 24 were more mellow. But it got pretty bad again at the end. I think Prison Break was too much for Leann when they cut off two of Michael's toes. And she thought the white supremacist/rapist/murderer character (T-Baggs) was scary.

  4. I didn't know they cut off Michael's toes. I didn't see the first few episodes of the first season. But there is plenty later on that was probably as bad (torture, etc). T-Baggs is involved in a lot of it. He's so horrible you want him to die, but you know because he's so despicable they'll keep him around.