This drama focuses on a prison designer who gets himself thrown into one of his own prisons to help his falsely accused brother escape death row. Described as in the vein of The Great Escape (and also compared to “24” due to its compressed time frame and season-length plotline), the series will unfold over 22 episodes, charting the course of a single break – FOX
7 out of 10
If you like shows like 24 and Lost, you’ll like Prison Break. It’s not that it’s like these two shows at all, but it’s edge-of-your-seat excitement with a weekly cliffhanger and a whole bunch of mystery thrown in every week.
Although, the later seasons were not nearly as well-received as the first season, the entire four-season run is pretty good overall. What hurt it overall was that critically acclaimed first season which was so good that it simply didn’t leave the writers with anywhere to go, so for the following three it became a little contrived and very convoluted revolving around government conspiracies and frankly, some really unbelieveable premises. Without a doubt, season one was a 9 to 9.5, though.
Now, is this to say that the show was awful for seasons two through four? No, not at all. Despite all of its flaws, confusion and at times general eye-rolling silliness, the show was very effective for four seasons for two reasons.
First, it did exactly what it was intended to do and that was keep you guessing every week with new mysteries, frenetic action and compelling mysteries and suspense. Second, and this is the most important aspect ot this or any show, the characters were richly developed and wonderfully casted… all of them.
That being said, I think the problem that most folks (audiences and critics alike) had with the show is that it never approached the level of quality that season one was acclaimed for. Often we confuse that for being bad. It was never bad, it just never was as good as that first season.
As a final note, if you decide to go back and give PB a chance, I would highly recommend the direct-to-video 90 minute movie/episode, Prison Break: The Final Break (2009) that was released after the series finale. As a new PB adventure, it’s OK in and of itself, but what’s important about it is that it ties up a lot of loose-ends and gives the series as a whole a sense of closure that was absent in the series finale.
If you’re a Netflix subscriber, you can watch all four seasons of PB for free through the Netflix streaming service and PB:TFB is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD for rental.