On the surface, I should hate a show like Prison Break. It’s a ridiculous premise and it’s got the usual over-the-top storylines that FOX is famous for. Somehow, I just got so drawn into this show. The idea might be crazy, but the show does a great job in building and maintaining suspense over several episodes. By the season finale, my knuckles were white and my heart was ready to beat right through my chest.

The aforementioned ridiculous premise starts simple and then gets entirely out of control. After exhausting (just about) every possible aspect of the justice system, Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) gets himself thrown in prison in an effort to save his brother Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) who’s on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. Wait. There’s more. Michael’s firm designed the prison so he had all the plans for the place on the outside. The logical thing to do is to get an elaborate tattoo across his torso so that he could take the map inside with him. He’s developed a finely tuned plan to get his brother out safely. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, the best laid plans of mice and men…OK, I don’t know how the rest of that saying goes. Basically his plan gets fucked up.

Prison Break will most notably be compared to HBO’s Oz. This is mainly due to the fact that it’s the only other show I can think of that takes place in a prison. You’ve got your same basic stereotypical prison characters too. The hard-nosed guard, the Italian mob boss, the fast-talking Latino, the creepy pedophile, the wise and noble old man, the good-at-heart black guy. They’re all here and more. These cookie cutter actors are brought to life in performances that range from mediocre to occasionally well done. They’re mostly mediocre though. This is a FOX show we’re talking about after all.

I think that the real allure of the show comes from the incredibly well-paced episodes and the unbelievable amount of suspense that’s built up throughout each one. I could figure out some of the twists and obstacles that popped up along the way, but it never stopped me from being glued to the screen and wanting desperately to find out what happened next. The suspense alone has me interested enough to look out for the later seasons of the show.

This DVD set includes all 22 episodes from Prison Break‘s freshman season. There are deleted scenes available for some of the episodes as well as a brief featurette on the making of the show that runs about 20 minutes. There’s also a worthless promo for the second season that just featured clips from the last episode of the first season. Nothing special there.

As I mentioned, under normal circumstances, Prison Break wouldn’t be a show that I’d like at all. Somehow, I’m entertained as all hell by it and I’m craving more. Sure, the main character puts on his tough guy voice to talk about his plan and I think that’s ridiculous, but I’m pulled in so much by that point that I don’t care. The show is one of the few where I can forgive it’s faults and just look past them to an incredibly entertaining and suspense-packed hour filled with men avoiding anal rape and running away.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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