Tuesday, August 30, 2005

TV: Prison Break

The first new show of the broadcast networks' Fall season premiered last night, and the most praise I can muster is, it could've been worse. Prison Break is just ridiculous. It's just mind-jarringly, staggeringly ridiculous. But if you can kind of squint and pretend you don't see all the stupid malarkey, it's not that bad.

Lincoln Burrows has been sentenced to death for killing the Vice President's brother. Linc's half-brother, Michael Scofield, believes he's innocent, so he robs a bank and gets thrown in the same prison as Linc -- so that he can bust them both out! Because it just so happens he helped design the prison, and he's got the blueprints hidden in tattoos on his body!! And he smuggled in a helicopter up his ass!!!

Okay, not that last bit, but he might as well have. Everyone Michael meets figures into his plans in some way, whether it's the prison doctor, who happens to be the governor's daughter, or the Mob boss, who can hide them once they escape, or fellow inmate D.B. freakin' Cooper, who has money stashed on the outside they can use. Or then there's the warden, who just happens to be building a scale model of the Taj Mahal for his wife's anniversary present -- which structural engineer Michael just happens to be able to help him with.

It's silly, and it's going to get even sillier, it looks like. Lincoln is scheduled for execution in one month, according to Monday's back-to-back premiere episodes, yet according to the coming attractions, it's already been pushed back to 60 days. How will Lincoln keep getting a stay of execution long enough for Michael to carry out his plan? (Via very silly means, I have to assume.) And what if the show's a success (as I wondered when I first heard about this show)? How tedious will it become, as week after week Lincoln somehow avoids execution, and Michael keeps failing to actually break them out of prison?

And still. I was able to disengage from the plot holes and implausibilities, and enjoy the show -- not a lot, but enough -- for its actors (even the hammy ones), its style, and its mystery: who really killed the V.P.'s brother, and why frame Lincoln? This show benefits greatly from its timeslot, and its early debut. Monday competition is fairly weak for the near future; in fact, it's basically non-existent for another two weeks. That's exactly how many more episodes Prison Break has to convince me to keep watching.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com