Season one of Prison Break
is great television. Here's the set-up. Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) is framed and wrongfully convicted for assassinating the Vice President's brother. Lincoln's brother Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), who just happens to have designed Illinois' Fox River Penitentiary where Lincoln is on death row, hatches an elaborate escape plan. Michael's plan involves getting himself incarcerated in Fox River and smuggling the prison's blueprints by having them hidden in tattoos that cover his entire torso. Once inside, Michael must form alliances with a rogue's gallery of felons with their own sometimes unsavory motives. Meanwhile, on the outside, Lincoln's lawyer and one-time girlfriend Veronica Donovan (Robin Tunney), pursued by Secret Service agents, attempts to unravel the conspiracy that sent her man to the slammer.
Prison Break is anchored by tight, suspenseful writing clearly relished by the largely little-known cast. Standouts include Robert Knepper as the murderer/pedophile T-Bag, who somehow makes such a despicable character likeable. Stacey Keach of Mike Hammer
fame plays the warden-with-a-heart-of-gold, who clashes with Captain Brad Bellick (Wade Williams) over whether to rehabilitate the inmates or makes their lives more miserable. Peter Stormare, famous for his skills with a wood chipper in Fargo, turns in a deliciously menacing performance as mob boss John Abruzzi, while Amaury Nolasco's winsome Fernando Sucre shares a cell and secrets with Miller's Scofield. Watching the show one gets a sense that this is the opening salvo of Wentworth Miller's career, which will doubtless include roles as assassins, detectives, super heroes, and perhaps the champion of staring contests. Midway through the season it's explained that Scofield is a genius with an heightened sensitivity to other peoples' suffering, which sums up what makes the show so great--the mind-bendingly intricate plot is a framework for moments when people make others suffer and cope with the burden of their own suffering.
The six-disc set includes 22 addictive episodes, audio commentary on selected episodes, three featurettes, and alternate and deleted scenes. As with most TV shows on DVD, the "previously on Prison Break
" intros can get tiresome, but that's what the fast forward button is for. --Ryan Boudinot
Beyond Prison Break on DVD Stills from Prison Break - Season One (Click for larger image)
Fox's Breakout Hit of the 2005-2006 Season!
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.