Top positive review
93 people found this helpful
Great first season of unusual show
on August 13, 2006
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.