I'll be honest and say that I have tried and failed to watch "Prison Break" once before. A few years ago I saw the pilot, thought it was interesting, and then just...never went back. So that doesn't exactly paint the drama's premiere in the best light.
But I went back to it recently; after scrolling through my extensive Netflix queue for the millionth time and complaining that there was "nothing to watch," I decided to give Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows another try. Not least, to be honest, because of the lead actors' recent turn as villains on "The Flash" and heroes on "Legends of Tomorrow."
For those who don't already know, "Prison Break" is exactly what it sounds like--an extended tale of two brothers breaking out of a maximum security prison in Illinois. Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) is a genius engineer who gets himself intentionally incarcerated so he can save his ne'er-do-well brother Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) from the electric chair. Throw in a romance with the troubled prison doc and a healthy dose of hit men and conspiracy, and you've got one hell of a show!
What I liked:
Miller and Purcell were great choices for the parts of brothers Scofield and Burrows--I don't know if I've ever seen two such dangerous-looking guys with such sad puppy-dog eyes before. A weird mixture, but it works. I fully believe in their totally dysfunctional family bond.
Also, the show handles prison really well, hinting at the darker aspects (people do get shanked regularly, and one of the main characters is a well-know rapist) without hitting us over the head with them. "Oz," for example, may be a great show, but it's a little too real for me.
What I didn't like:
The conspiracy. I know it was the writers' attempt to expand the world of the show beyond just the first season (after all, the show's biggest hurdle--and eventual downfall--was how to keep going after the inevitable escape), but it just doesn't work. The thing with crazy conspiracies is that they NEVER turn out well. Expectations are too high for any eventual answer to fulfill them. Plus, watching the Secret Service agents Dead Eyes and Bumble just wasn't that compelling compared to the shit storm brewing at the prison.
I'll give this pilot an 8 out of 10 full-torso tattoos. I honestly don't know why it didn't capture my attention the first time around--I've already binge-watched my way through Season 1 in five days.
If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend at least the first season of "Prison Break." I doubt that the story holds up past Season 2, but that doesn't mean I won't be tuning in for the limited series reboot in 2017!