I was an early supporter of â€œPrison Breakâ€, which it has been announced will be ceasing production at the end of the current fourth season â€“ a lot of various news outlets immediately dismissed the show due to the involvement of Brett Ratner in the pilot, but I think a lot of those people would have to agree that for the most part, â€œPBâ€ was pretty compelling viewing â€“ for a while.
The first two seasons were actually pretty damn good â€“ the first focusing on the actual break-out had some great characters â€“ Peter Stormare as John Abruzzi; Muse Watson as Charles Westmoreland â€“ and just for the fun of it, they even threw in Holly Valance for me to look at. But the point is â€“ they had the good hour-long scenario set up nicely, every episode finished with enough buzz to get me psyched for the next, and by the time the penultimate episode â€œGoâ€ aired and the actual escape took place, I couldnâ€™t wait to see what was next. The finale, titled â€œFlightâ€ was a very quick paced look at those initial moments after the gang had made it over the wall â€“ and when the original escape plan falls through, the show ended with the guys once again running for their lives.
â€œPrison Breakâ€, alongside â€œLostâ€ & â€œHeroesâ€ generated an enormous amount of Buzz during that first season break â€“ and I was lucky enough to see a few little inside tid-bits about the forthcoming storyline at the time which had me psyched for what was about to happen â€“ there were stories circulating that â€œPBâ€ would become a modern day update of â€œThe Fugitiveâ€ (many of the moments I read based on this concept were later adapted into the current season); That the gang would be captured early on in the piece and placed in a â€œSupermaxâ€ Prison where they would left to come up with a new plan from scratch â€“ and that the second season would be the intended end of the show, with Michael & Lincoln finally finding their conspiracy evidence in the final episodes.
So when the second season started, I was surprised to find that none of those concepts were utilized â€“ and instead it was a straight forward â€œtake the money and runâ€ storyline â€“ but more importantly, it worked well, and again proved to be compelling â€“ the introduction of William Fichtner as Agent Mahone was an important part of the story, becoming that brand new (slightly dirtier) incarnation of â€œThe Fugitiveâ€ pursuer, Philip Gerard. The season flowed well, moving through small town America for the most part, but importantly â€“ the story was supported by some great twists & turns, but when the news came that FOX had renewed the show for a third season, the feeling of dread came in â€“ that feeling that they were really gonna milk the living shit out of this particular cow â€“ and for something that could very easily have finished on a high, with everything resolved, I started to get a little cynical at how the second season was gonna wrap up, and while it wasnâ€™t a horrible ending â€“ I wasnâ€™t looking forward to the next go round.
Turns out the feeling was justified â€“ the (thankfully interrupted by the Writerâ€™s Strike) 3rd Season of â€œPBâ€ was as close to a complete clusterfuck as you can get in a show that showed so much promise. A mess in so many ways, the setting of SONA was a thinly veiled attempt to remake the first season in a new setting, and I started to completely lose interest after the first few episodes â€“and eventually stopped watching altogether. I picked up the box set of season 3, purely to keep up with the collection, and after watching the remaining episodes, I think I was pretty spot on with my initial thoughts â€“ â€œPBâ€ had lost its spark.
To its credit, â€œPBâ€ started to pull back some quality in the current season, the â€œOn the runâ€ pace of season 2 was back, but viewership was way down compared to the glory days, and the execs at FOX made the decision to pull the plug â€“ apparently they have allowed the makers to wrap things up in a satisfactory manner, and there may even be one or two â€œspecialâ€ episodes commissioned to further close the books, but in the end, the old saying of â€œToo much of a good thingâ€ is a fitting reminder of why sometimes itâ€™s a good idea to go out on a high, rather than stretch it out.
But when it was good â€“ you have to admit, it was pretty damn good.
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