(The first must see TV of the fall 2005 season... Fox's "Prison Break"!)
So, about this time last year I was downloading the pilot episode of a little show called Lost. I watched it, was hooked, and began showing it to anyone who would watch it. By the time the season premiere came around, I couldn't wait. Little did I know the show would go on to become a full-time obsession, but it was definitely "my show" of last year.
Actually, thinking back, there has been a new show each of the past few years that won my heart. 24. The OC. Lost. This year, I think it's going to be Prison Break.
For those of you who missed the two hour season premiere, here's the basic premise: white collar engineer (Michael Scofield) gets himself thrown in prison to break out his brother, who's on death row for murder. Seems simple enough? It's not. In the first hour, we learn that in the months before committing a fake bank robbery, Michael studied the life history of every other person in the prison and tatttoed the entire blueprints of the prison onto his body (along with some other clues). By the end of the second hour, he's getting a toe cutoff from a fellow prison rather than give up information about a mafia snitch in hiding who he apparently found before being imprisoned.
Now, this isn't going to be a Lost-type over-analyzing show. It's more like a 24-type action-drama show... which is fine by me. I don't think my brain could handle another Lost show without me forgetting how to drive or type or something.
What's to like about this show?
1. The Production. It's actually shot on-site in a real prison in Illinois. Everything about the show looks real.
2. The Story. Even though we're only two hours in, they've already planted the seeds of a dozen storylines, with the main one being the prison break.
3. The Acting. It's good. It's not over the top, and doesn't come across as stereotypical, which is a big risk for a prison tv show / movie.
What worries me?
1. The Pacing. The first half of the season, maybe the whole first season is obviously going to deal with how Michael is going to break out of prison, which is fascinating. We see his mind working, we see him stealing items and doing things, but we don't know why. Half of the fun is going to see how he uses everything to get out. But then what? While Currin and I have hypothesized how the story would work once he gets out, I think a lot is going to be lost. We'll see.
2. The Story. Already, one or two storylines feel poorly ripped off from Shawshank Redemption and other prison movies. There's enough good and fresh stuff to let me overlook it, but there's really only so much that you can have going on in a prison, isn't there?
All in all, it's a good start to the TV season. The first two hours were very impressive. Here's hoping they can keep it up until 24 takes over after the New Year. At the very least, the episodes leading up to the actual Prison Break should be fantastic.