Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2005-09-23 Entry: "New Season - Prison Break"

Yes, my laptop crashed and wiped out a week of synopses, and I didn't feel like rewriting them, so I kind of lost interest. I do have synopses for most of the time since, but they're very patchy, so I'll use them when I have nothing else to cover.

But first, the 2005-06 TV season has started, and I'm on early death watch. So lets take them as they appeared on screen. Which means starting with Prison Break.

Smart move one - it's only 13 episodes, and looks to be pretty tightly plotted, so we can expect the escape from the prison to play out by the end of the season.

Smart move two - who on earth are these people anyway? No pretty people here - even Robin Tunney is looking fairly dowdy. The hero is a fine upstanding man who'll do anything for his older brother, who they keep in the background enough that his previous perfomances as John Doe and Dracula don't harm his performance. The other prisoners are a motley crew of evil, sadistic, stupid, and downtrodden. And mysterious government agents are always a useful addition when they're willing to go to any lengths to cover stuff up.

Smart move three - the tension reveals. That tattoo scene in the pilot was fantastic, and the cutting toes off with garden shears was suitably nasty that we know things aren't going to be smooth.

Bad move one - if they escape by the end of the season, where does the show go? Can we really run for several seasons with bad guy secret service agents covering up a crime and escaped convicts on the run trying to prove their innocence?

Bad move two - is the wayward son of John Doe really necessary? It's tired, it doesn't appear to be going anywhere, and gah, it's boring.

Bad move three - only thirteen episodes? And they use two for the opening night, and they'll probably use two for the finale night, so we're only getting 11 weeks of show. Is that enough for people to come back in a year's time?

Now, it's getting great viewing figures, so I think we can safely conclude it'll survive to the end of the season, and it's lush enough that they'll want to recoup some money, so there'll be a reasonably swift DVD release. My guess though is it'll die swiftly next season as it loses its way completely.

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