English, Fitz or Percy
Riots, Drills and the Devil Part 1
Riots, Drills and the Devil Part 2
The Old Head
Sleight Of Hand
And Then There Were 7
Odd Man Out
End Of The Tunnel
By The Skin and the Teeth
The first season of Prison Break is relentless. Its tense, claustrophobic, action-packed and one of the best opening seasons to any TV show out there. Anchored by Michael Schofield (Wentworth Miller) who’s calm, calculated demeanor and a focused narrative, Prison Break is a non stop thriller that’s perfectly paced and boasts a great cast of characters.
The story focuses heavily on Michael’s bond with his brother Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) who’s wrongfully accused of an assassination and subsequently sent to death row because of this. In order to free his brother who he refuses to believe commited the crime, Michael ends up in the same prison as his brother and launches a scheme to break him out before his sentence is up. Of course, things don’t go according to plan and what ends up as a simple escape, esculates and becomes considerably more complicated.
Its helped too by an intriguing cast of characters that are well fleshed out and given enough screen time to solidify their characters and really make them stand out. There’s some great interactions between the inmates here; snappy bites of dialogue free of large amounts of expository help to move the plot along at a decent pace, even if it isn’t the most intelligently written script. There’s enough nuance to Michael’s character that you empathise with him, helped by bursts of fear and desperation from subtle glances that really help to make his character more believable. The supporting cast that flesh the show out are all distinctive enough to help them stand out. With the focus on breaking out the prison, the plot moves quickly but still leaves enough time for the supporting cast to shine just as much as Michael and Lincoln.
Prison Break manages to cleverly take the cliched plot narrative of breaking out a prison and make it fresh and exciting enough that you never feel like its something you’ve seen a thousand times before. The eccentric cast of characters help of course, but its mainly the cleverly paced plot that’s filled with enough set backs, tension and consequences to give a sense of unease throughout. By the end of the season you’re really not sure whether they’ll make it out or not and its this uneasy tension that really helps to elevate Prison Break.
Overall then, the first season of Prison Break is well worth a watch. It has a great pace to it, despite the 22 episodes that make up the season. The characters are all engaging to watch, anchored by Wentworth Miller’s excellent portrayal of Michael and his drive to save his brother. Although some of the dialogue could have done with a little more sharpness, on the whole Prison Break is an excellent investment of time and manages to make the cliched prison break formula feel fresh and exciting.
Verdict - 9/10