90 of 96 people found the following review helpful
With a plot that sounds like it might have come from an Alfred Hitchcock or Brian De Palma movie "Prison Break" seemed the least likely candidate for buzz and a large following on Fox. I expected the show despite the high quality writing, top notch pilot episode directed by theatrical director Brett Ratner ("X-Men: The Last Stand" and "Red Dragon") to tank with audiences.
Boy was I wrong and happy about it. The suspenseful series got the right promotional push from Fox and luckily audiences were ready for another ground breaking series using a season long story arc much like "24" and "Lost". I would have expected a show like "Prison Break" to be on HBO or Showtime (as their answer to "OZ" another ground breaking prison drama that focused less on the gimmicks of this show) not on Fox's network. Reportedly the producers planned a shelf life of "Prison Break" for two seasons recognizing the issues they had with shows such as "The X-Files". I suspect that if the show continues to be popular this will morph into something akin to "The Fugitive". The show also was clearly inspired by "The Shawshank Redemption" and the TV show "OZ" but has its own unique flavor making it much more than a simple copycat. Between top notch writing, directing and acting the show has become the only breakthrough hit from last season worth following.
If you know what this show is about skip this paragraph and go to the extras. The story for those that haven't followed the show is quite simple; Michael Scofield's brother Lincoln has been sentenced to die in the electric chair for a crime he didn't commit. Michael will do anything to get him out of prison. As the clock is ticking and its clear that legal options are limited he obtains the prison blueprints to get his brother out. How can he get them to his brother so he can use them? Simple Michael has them tattooed on his back. He then stages a bank robbery to get himself thrown into the same prison as his brother. His plans are to break out with his brother and eventually disappear. While their lawyer tries to get Lincoln out legally Michael must move forward with his plan and also negotiate a complex peace with inmate John Abruzzi (the marvelous Peter Stormare best known for "Fargo" and "Constantine") who controls many of the inmates inside the prison to achieve his goal.
"Prison Break" is presented in its original widescreen presentation and looks quite good here. There were occasional compression artifacts and edge enhancement but nothing too distracting. Overall colors are accurate with nice clarity and definition to the images. The surround tracks are used quite effectively as well evoking the atmospheric surroundings of the prison.
For those interested in the extras included with this set they are quite extensive. We get multiple commentary tracks on the pilot episode by Paul Scheuring & Dominic Purcell with a second one by director Brett Ratner & Mark Helfrich. Similarly we get multiple commentary tracks on the following episodes:
Cute Poison Commentary #1 by: Paul Scheuring, Dominic Purcell & Wade Williams
Cute Poison Commentary #2 by: Matt Olmstead and Silas Weir Mitchell
Riots, Drills and the Devil (Part 1) Commentary #1 by: Paul Scheuring, Dominic Purcell, Robert Knepper, Sarah Wayne Callies, Amaury Nolasco & Wade Williams
Riots, Drills and the Devil (Part 1) Commentary #2 by: Nick Santora & Bob Mandel. Part two of "Riots, Drills and the Devil" has a single commentary track by Paul Scheuring, Dominic Purcell, Wade Williams, Amaury Nolasco & actor Peter Stormare
We also get commentaries for Odd Man Out Commentary by: Garry Brown & Karyn Usher & Bobby Roth, Brother's Keeper Commentary by Paul Scheuring, Robert Knepper, Sarah Wayne Callies, Amaury Nolasco & Wade Williams with an alternate commentary track by Greg Yaitenes & Zach Estrin. Extras also include 2 Alternate Scenes for Cute Poison as well as three featurettes. The first "If These Walls Could Speak: Profile of the Joliet Correctional Center" takes you inside the correctional facility. "Beyond the Ink: Tattoo Featurette" focuses on the extensive "map" that plays a key role in the series tattooed on the back of Michael Scofield and one of Fox's routine " Inside Look" previews. All in all an exceptional package of extras considering the price for the series that will definitely make this set worthwhile for both new fans and ones that have been following it on the Fox network since its premiere last year. This set arrives just in time for the premiere of the second season as well.
A terrific, comprehensive set from fox "Prison Break" has been packed with commentary tracks and has three featurettes two of which vary from exceptional to very good with one so-so one recycled for this set. Overall this is a great value and is highly recommended. I suspect that the creators of the series weren't sure if the show would last more than one season and, as a result, structured the series so that it could be easily wrapped up if necessary but also allowing an out for a second story arc recognizing that fans would be frustrated if they remained within prison walls beyond the first season of the series.
157 of 179 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2006
Most men would do anything to get out of Fox River Penitentiary, but Michael Scofield will do anything to get in. His brother Lincoln has been sentenced to die for a crime he did not commit, and the only way to save him is from the inside out. Armed with prison blueprints and an impossibly intricate escape plan, Michael gets himself incarcerated, and the race against time is on. Now, he'll need all of the cunning, daring, and luck he can muster... along with the assistance of some of the prison's most vile and dangerous felons.
Finally, the premiere season of television's greatest pleasure (IMO next to 24) is being released in a six-disc package filled with all 22 episodes and tons of extras!
* Pilot Commentary #1 by: Paul Scheuring & Dominic Purcell
* Pilot Commentary #2 by: Brett Ratner & Mark Helfrich
* Cute Poison Commentary #1 by: Paul Scheuring, Dominic Purcell & Wade Williams
* Cute Poison Commentary #2 by: Matt Olmstead and Silas Weir Mitchell
* Riots, Drills and the Devil (Part 1) Commentary #1 by: Paul Scheuring, Dominic Purcell, Robert Knepper, Sarah Wayne Callies, Amaury Nolasco & Wade Williams
* Riots, Drills and the Devil (Part 1) Commentary #2 by: Nick Santora & Bob Mandel
* Riots, Drills and the Devil (Part 2) Commentary by: Paul Scheuring, Dominic Purcell, Wade Williams, Amaury Nolasco & Peter Stormare
* Odd Man Out Commentary by: Garry Brown & Karyn Usher & Bobby Roth
* Brother's Keeper Commentary #1 by: Paul Scheuring, Robert Knepper, Sarah Wayne Callies, Amaury Nolasco & Wade Williams
* Brother's Keeper Commentary #2 by: Greg Yaitenes & Zach Estrin
* 2 Alternate Scenes for Cute Poison
* "If These Walls Could Speak: Profile of the Joliet Correctional Center"
* "Beyond the Ink: Tattoo Featurette"
* Inside Look
3. Cell Test
4. Cute Poison
5. English, Fitz or Percy
6. Riots, Drills and the Devil (Part 1)
7. Riots, Drills and the Devil (Part 2)
8. The Old Head
10. Sleight of Hand
11. And Then There Were Seven
12. Odd Man Out
13. End of the Tunnel
14. The Rat
15. By The Skin & The Teeth
16. Brother's Keeper
19. The Key
Pick up this set, you will not be disappointed!
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
Prison break is one of my favorite shows on TV. I loved the show on first viewing, it was so raw, visceral, and so entertaining. I could not see how the show could be as good as it is for 22 episodes, or how they could go forward with multiple seasons (the characters are amazing, and while watching the show, you just want more) but luckily for me, and everyone else, the show does go on, and gets even better in the subsequent seasons. They are even planning a spin-off called Prison Break: Cherry Hill.
If you never watched this show, it is structured similarly to 24, Lost, and Heroes. Meaning, each episode is not self contained, but rather, continues on each episode, offering multiple storylines throughout the season. Every episode ends with a cliffhanger, making it downright impossible to wait another week. You will tear through this series in 2-3 days. I really hope Fox will release season 2 on blu-ray soon, and announce their plans for 24 (it was supposed to be released around the same time as season 1 of prison break).
Now on to the Blu-Ray particulars.
The show was shot, and aired in high def. I managed to watch these in high def (when the show aired, cable, nor sat offered HD locals, so we had to move the antenna all over the place to pick up fox, and move the antenna back, to watch cbs or some other station!). With that said, these blu-ray dvds, look even better than I remember (Fox airs in 720p, or did back during this season). The show looks very good, movie quality good. It is presented in widescreen (not full screen, as the listing states). Each disc contains 4 episodes, the last disc has 2. You will notice no pixelation, nor any bad spots on the release. This is one of the best looking blu-ray discs I own. Blacks are black, contrast is high, there are no faults to be found in this blu-ray release.
The sound is presented in DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 Surround track (48kHz/24-bit). The soundtrack is fantastic, you can hear everything. The sound effects are fantastic, you get a nice sense of depth, and it seems as though you can hear everything that is going on inside the prison.
The only negative I can think of is season 2 has yet to be announced on blu-ray. So now I have to buy season 2 on dvd, because I must watch season 2 again. The show is really that good.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2006
Prison Break is guilty pleasure TV wrapped in a an intelligent and creative package. But within the first twenty minutes when we find that Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) purposely robs a bank (firing his weapon inside the building to guarantee sentencing at a State Penitentiary) and then conveniently getting incarcerated at the same prison his brother is in, we can pretty much tell this show is going to be full of improbable scenarios that will become reality.
In getting sent to the prison of his choice, Michael finds out quickly where his brother is and starts laying his groundwork from day one. He makes contacts with those who can help him move once they are on the other side of the wall. Time is short and Michael's brother, Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) is on death row soon to be executed for the murder of the Vice presidents brother. Although Lincoln was a petty criminal at times, Michael doesn't believe his brother murdered anyone and has exhausted his resources and considerable intelligence to find a way out of the prison. He even goes so far as to have the plans tattooed on his body (sounds ridiculous, although once you see it, you understand that it's the schematics hidden in a complex design).
Lincoln is being framed for killing the Vice President's brother. Lucky for him there are people outside the prison trying to exonerate him, including his ex-girlfriend. People are also dying outside the prison as well. The death of the VP's brother is attached to a conspiracy that goes very high up, so as people start looking into the details they start dropping one by one.
This show if FULL and I do mean `FULL' of manufactured drama. About 12 episodes into the series you'll be throwing your popcorn at the TV and screaming, `Oh, C'mon, that's ridiculous!' This action will be followed by putting in the next DVD to find out what happens after the last cliffhanger. By the time you stop buying the plot as anywhere NEAR realistic or relatable, you're caught up in the digital crack-pipe of addiction that moves this series along. One thing that seems out of place in this show though is the level of character complexity. This cast of misfits, and I'm including the people who are supposed to be normal, are endearing and pretty three-dimensional. I suppose you have to be in order to like people who are mobsters and a thieves. The jury is still out on liking the child killer, but at least he's a great character.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
The title says it all.
This 22 episode drama series was the best FOX or anyone else on the Network had to offer this season in Drama. I will say House, 24, Lost, Monk, Dead Zone, Smallville (all up coming box sets in the next few months) were all very good this year, but Prison Break kept you interested, kept you entertained and twisted your interests weekly. And it beat all the CSIs and Law & Orders hands down!
The producers say that this show (Prison Break) is a story will be told in 44 episodes (That is two TV seasons for you and I)(TV Guide April 2006)..All I can say is I hope not.
This show was just as gritty as the prison drama OZ , just as tension filled twists as this season of 24, Just as character driven as ER or Smallville and with a great adventure story to boot...It also owes a tip of the fidora to the movie the Wrong Man. So FOX, when is the fall season coming-so i can see new episodes of Break?
The box set is worth it for the extras alone-action and production audio comments, promos, features,etc--This is what a GREAT box set is about!
If you didnt get the 24 advance disk which came out earlier this year with the first episode of Prison Break and a feature about the show attached ...TOO BAD-however all those interviews are on this box set
All I can say is GO GET IT NOW!
Bennet Pomerantz, AUDIOWORLD
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2007
I have to admit. When I first caught a glance or two of Prison Break on TV, it didn't look like something that would make me want to go out and purchase the complete first season when it was released on DVD. No, I didn't sit down and watch a full episode. No I didn't know anything about the characters, and no I didn't expect this Blu-Ray set to be as incredible as it truly is. Having said that I will honestly recommend this Blu-Ray set to anyone that is able to watch Blu-Ray discs.
I saw the set on sale at a local store and decided to give it a try even though I wasn't a fan of the show. I had heard great things about the picture quality of the show on Blu-Ray so I went for it. I was not disappointed in the least. Each and every one of the 22 episodes in the set has a almost flawless picture and fantastic audio. Given the dark nature of the theme of the show don't expect a lot of happy and bright colors but do expect a lot of detail. The flyovers of the prison and Chicago are incredible looking as is the detailed close-ups of the actors faces.
Like the initial reviewer said in his review, the only bad thing I can probably say is there currently isn't a season two on Blu-Ray just yet. I am honestly stunned at how addicting this show is to watch. Each character has a way of pulling you into the show to make sure you watch every episode. The writing is superb as is the acting. At first I thought I would watch one episode maybe every few days or so but I ended up finishing the entire set in under a week as I couldn't wait to see what happens next. That would explain why the show is a hit. In a way I am glad I didn't watch any of the seasons on TV as I think I would have gone mad trying to guess what happens next where with the beauty of this set is I can just press play and watch all seasons in a row and don't have to wait a week.......that is....until they run out.
Bring on Season 2!!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2006
The opening of the Prison Break television show is something right out of a Sam Fuller movie. A non-descript man gets an extensive tattoo on his body and then proceeds to rob a bank with the sole purpose of getting arrested. He pleads no contest and is sent to Fox River State Penitentiary for five years. Why? It turns out to be part of an elaborate plan devised by Michael Scofield (Miller) so that he can hook up with his brother Lincoln (Purcell) who is in the same prison, sentenced to die for a crime he did not commit: killing the Vice-President's brother.
There is a lot more going on in Prison Break than just its intriguing premise. The show cuts between Michael and Lincoln's exploits in prison and the elaborate conspiracy that exists in the outside world that may have resulted in Lincoln's unjust incarceration. There is a sparseness, an economy to the prison dialogue that is refreshing and gives it a B-movie feel with its loads of tough guy speak. The series has the same kind of edgy, pulpy feel but with a polished sheen reminiscent of 24 and Lost and it should be interesting to see if it can maintain the same level of quality and tension in the second season.
There are ten audio commentaries for several episodes.
The first disc features an audio commentary on the "Pilot" episode by creator Paul Scheuring and actor Dominic Purcell. . Scheuring talks about the challenge of casting the roles of Michael and Lincoln but tends to start most comments with "This is the guy..." or "In this scene..." which gets tiresome pretty fast.
The second commentary for this episode is by its director Brett Ratner and editor Mark Helfrich. Ratner agreed to shoot the episode only if he could use his crew that works on his movies. The director is surprisingly engaging and informative: everything that the first one with Scheuring should have been.
There is a commentary on "Cute Poison" by Scheuring and cast members Purcell and Wade Williams. Scheuring continues his self-congratulatory comments while Purcell cracks jokes and Williams is barely there.
The second commentary on this track is by its writer Matt Olmstead and actor Silas Weir Mitchell. They provide plenty of interesting and amusing anecdotes filming this episode.
The second disc features a commentary on "Riots, Drills and The Devil (Part I)" by Scheuring and cast members Purcell, Amaury Nolasco, Williams, Robert Knepper and Sarah Wayne Callies. Scheuring talks about some of the censorship he faced. For example, the studio made him change a tattoo of Jesus on Michael's arm to the Devil so they wouldn't offend religious folks.
The second commentary for this episode is with its director Robert Mandell and writer Nick Santora who talks about the various script changes and addresses the tattoo controversy. Both are well-spoken and provide good observations on this episode.
Also included is a commentary for "Riots, Drills and The Devil (Part II)" by Scheuring and cast members Purcell, Nolasco, Williams and Peter Stormare who talks about growing his hair for the role and not playing his character like a traditional Italian mob boss. One wishes that he spoke up more as his comments, including a story about John Heard, are very entertaining.
The third disc includes a commentary on "Odd Man Out" by producer Garry Brown, director Bobby Roth and writer Karyn Usher. They talk about the challenges of incorporating the tattoos into the story and using them as a device to provide clues to Michael's plan.
The fourth disc has a commentary on "Brother's Keeper" by Scheuring and cast members Purcell, Nolasco, Williams, Knepper and Callies. This was a flashback episode to show the dramatic arc of the relationship between Michael and his brother. The actors talk about the cold weather they had to endure while shooting this episode.
There is a second commentary by director Greg Yaitanes and writer Zack Estrin. This was a nice change of pace for the actors because it got them out of the prison. Estrin talks about some of the script changes and they both end up discussing character development in some detail.
The sixth disc contains the rest of the extras, including "Making of Prison Break" with Scheuring and Ratner talking about the origins of the show. The director was impressed by how well plotted it was and with Scheuring's vision. However, a lot of their comments are repeated in the various commentary tracks while key cast members talk about the arcs of their characters in this so-so extra.
"If These Walls Could Speak: Profile of the Joliet Correctional Center" profiles the prison they shoot the show in. A lot of infamous criminals were incarcerated there - including Al Capone and John Wayne Gacy. This extra also provides a history of the place, takes a tour of key locations and examines life in prison.
"Beyond the Ink" examines Michael's elaborate tattoo and how integral it is to the show. Tattoo artist Tom Berg talks about designing the tattoos and shows off some of his preliminary sketches.
"Fox Movie Channel Presents: Making a Scene - Prison Break" takes a look at a scene between Michael and his new cellmate Haywire (Silas Weir Mitchell) in his cell and the challenge of shooting in such small, confined spaces. It goes into various aspects, including screenplay and cinematography and how these all fit together in the final product.
Finally, there is a promo for season two and six T.V. spots.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2008
The actors, set and camera work is good, but the writers got lazy after a while and things deteriorated badly. The basic plot is a man gets himself sent to prison so he can break out his brother, who was improperly convicted. The man, Scofield, is a structural engineer, and has access to the prison blueprints - knowing what he knows, he thinks he can mastermind an escape.
I want to see difficulties overcome by ingenuity, courage and hard work - qualities in which I can believe, but by the third DVD of the set the series has degenerated into a series of problems and solutions that might have been arranged by some whimsical deity - for example, Scofield is sentenced to 90 days in the hole - his brother will have been dead for months before he can get out. How can he fix this ? He doesn't - the script does. The warden needs him to help with the warden's popsicle stick Taj Mahal. Another time, the bad guys are going to have him transfered to another prison. How can he fix this ? He can't - The warden has a change of heart. It works both ways. The bad guys are everywhere, know everything, and can find anybody. They are absolutly deadly to any number of bit-players. They are prevented from carrying out thier evil plans only by the writers, who cause them to not be able to catch a barefooted teenager, even though they know where he is from his cell phone, or kill a 100 lb female lawyer, even though they can abduct another frightened and careful larger woman from the same building in downtown Chicago. If you are younger than 14 or so you might not notice the longer and longer string of improbabilities, and unbelievable behaviors, but it will get harder and harder for adults.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2006
What a great show! All the episodes have the suspense, drama, and cliffhangers that any show needs! Go out and buy Season One because you will regret it if you don't. Wentworth Miller is such a great actor and I can not wait for Season Two starting on 8/21! Best Show Ever!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2006
Who thought that a show about breaking out of prison would be the best thing to come to tv since 24 and Lost. Dominic Purcell plays Lincoln Burrows who was wrongfully accused of a big murder. He's sentenced to death. Wentworth Miller plays his brother Michael who gets himself put in the same prison by staging a bank robbery. There he plans on breaking him out before he can be executed. He has the whole way out planned through a tattoo of the prison that he has all over his body.
While Robin Tunney plays a lawyer close to both brothers who plans on getting Lincoln out legally by proving his innocence. Peter Stormare is excellent as John Abruzzi who has power inside the prison and who Michael who will have to work with if he wants to get his brother out. He figures his strong influence in the prison will be a help. Wade Williams is also really good as the Captain of the prison guards. You can easily see why no one there would want to mess with him.
While Robert Knepper as a slimy inmate nicknamed T-Bag probably deserves some sort of nomination for his work this season. He's the kind of guy you love to hate yet you're interested to see what he'll do next. Michael doesn't want to bring him with them but T-Bag always finds a way to make sure he's part of them breaking out.
NBC had big plans for Surface and they canceled that and ABC canceled Invasion which was supposed to be their new big hit as well. So that shows that Prison Break is no doubt the best new show. There were too many other shows that tried to follow Lost's success and be like it and failed. Prison Break succeeds due to being it's own show with it's own clever ideas. Although there is one episode where it has Lost type flashbacks of each character I admit. That was a good episode and one of the best though since we learn things about the characters that we didn't know already. Like for instance who expected the hot Dr. Sara that has a thing for Michael to of had a big drug problem ?