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on 14 March 2008
Firstly I'd like to say that I don't understand why anyone would rave about this which is part watered down OZ part great escape part bad 1980's political thriller. The acting I have to say is rather good and Wentworth Miller leads the series well as Michael a man who is determined to break his brother out of Jail so he robs a bank so he can be arrested and then he has a tattoo of the prison on his back. It's just really stupid with all the excitement of a 99p fire cracker and ends on a cliff hanger every episode which just feels pointless because it just adds to the generic feel of the series. If you want to watch a proper prison series watch OZ but if you want to watch the best tv programme ever made buy the WIRE and watch that because it puts rubbish like this to shame.It almost makes me want to watch 24.
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on 14 October 2013
Okay I'll start by saying that this show is extremely far fetched. Not that I've been to prison, but I can't imagine a super max facility in the US being so laid back about giving their prisoners (one of whom is on death row) access to pick axes, sledgehammers, crowbars and a whole host of other potentially deadly weapons. Fair enough, these guys are part of a very select group who get to do maintenance but still, I just don't see it. Nor do I find it at all believable then when Lincoln is awaiting exection in solitary for attacking a guard, he would be allowed to keep a box of matches so he could strike them and watch them burn down, looking thoughtful while he does so.

I saw the adverts for Prison Break way back when it was first aired and remembered looking at Michael Scofield's tattoos and thinking "how can that be a map?" It's not a map per-se. More his way of remembering his escape plan. Scofield is revealed to have a genius level intellect and the type of mind that can formulate extremely complex ideas which the rest of us wouldn't be able to create, nevermind retain. His tattoos are his gentle reminders and fail safe in case things go wrong. And they do. Every episode.

Scofield deliberately has himself incarcerated at Fox River where his brother is on death row for a murder he swears he did not commit. This show really has two plots running; Michael's attempt to break his brother Lincoln out before his execution and Veronica (Michael's friend and his brother's lawyer) and her attempts to clear Lincoln's name. Veronica is thwarted and pursued by the Secret Service representing an organisation known only as "The Company" who are alleged to have framed Lincoln for the murder of the Vice President's brother.

You know that as soon as you switch the show on that something'll happen to screw up the plan, and it will end on a cliff hanger. I think if you take Prison Break as simply entertainment then you'll enjoy it. There are lots of shows coming out the US at the moment that have a lot more depth than this, but for something to sit down and watch without having to think too much abut it, Prison Break meets the requirements really well.

Scofield cannot escape the prison alone though, and does need to utilise the prison connections to get what he wants. He needs the Chicago mob boss on his side so he can make use of his transport once out of the prison. He needs his cell mate's silence for digging from the cell, he needs the mysterious but elderly trustee's alleged money to make his disappearance after escape... and in this we're introduced to some of the more colourful character in Fox River, usually the characters who are the most notorious in the prison population.

That said, the characters are perhaps a bit on the stereotypical side but I did find them likable despite their backgrounds. T-Bag is probably the most interesting in terms of development. Initially portrayed almost identically to Bloggs from The Shawshank Redemption (a sleezy look at the young lads who come into the jail, taking one 'favourite' for his cellmate) he does change somewhat when he stumbles across Scofield's break out team. T-Bag is actually quite a funny man, charming, intelligent but also ruthless, cold, manipulative and self centred. Not someone you'd turn your back on but for all his faults, he has his uses.

I admit I've enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to and will continue to watch the remaining 3 seasons. It's got more than a few plot holes and is almost completely unbelievable it's so far feteched but for something to watch to pass away the long winter nights, Prison Break does the job nicely.
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on 16 September 2017
This is a silly series indeed. At first it has that classic prison drama feel, the promise of escape, interesting if somewhat cliched criminal stereotypes. Some of the inmates are acted quite well (which is the one thing that kept me watching), then there is the tedious story running parallel on the outside involving Lincoln's ( the condemned man's) ex. girlfriend and his son ( who's mother is conveniently shot so the lawyer and him can end up together, few!).
The lawyer Ex girlfriend gets caught up in a cover-up involving secret service types protecting the vice president of the USA and she has a hunky, cheesy side piece that she doesn't know whether to trust or not, it's hard being a glamorous lawyer!
Personally, I wouldn't trust a man that wears Tom Cruise style chinos circa 1994 and a vest whilst crusading for justice but that's just me) . It's all a bit silly by this stage and every five minutes she is acting stunned and open gobbed as she uncovers some new revelation and escapes a CIA spook at the last minute by whacking him over the head with a branch or a spoon or something.
Meanwhile in prison, Michael with his smouldering model looks and full body 'clever' tattoo is using his extraordinary intellect to plan the ultimate prison break. Unfortunately he always get foiled by something or other at the last second. Like people installing a pipe in a hole he was going to sexily slither through, Doh!
He just happens to need to be in the prison infirmary to carry out his plans and develops a relationship with the glamorous, young, female prison doctor. At around episode 15 everything gets really tedious.
They have been preparing all this time and we get a whole flash back hour of boring back story about characters. we also get about 3 episodes that detail a will they / won't they execute his brother scenario. This is all so long and drawn out and I began to lose interest and stopped watching. All in all it's silly but watchable in parts.
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on 4 December 2014
An astonishingly brilliant series. I have to say when I purchased it I didn't expect such a masterpiece, and I was entirely wrong. I am now into part 2 series 2, and there has not been one single episode that has left me even remotely bored, or even drifting. I am GLUED to the sofa with this one. It has everything. First, a perfect mix of characters, from Lincoln - the strong silent type trying to avoid the electric chair, to his brother Scofield, the more articulate and clean cut of the two, and the brains behind the group of escapees. Then there's the psycho mental patient, whose psychosis enables him to memorise in detail Scofield's elaborate tattoo, which ultimately lands him a ticket out, then there's the best villain on telly in the history of TV villians - Teabag - who is beyond amazing (I think he won some awards for this role, and well earned), able to be charming and even likable whilst at the same time being a complete, violent psycho who will do just about anything without hesitation or conscience. Some of the lines he throws out, with that gentlemanly southern accent, both curdle your blood and make you squirm in delight. Then in Season 1 there is Victoria (played by our favourite little angry minx from the Mentalist, Robin Tunney), who plays Lincoln's ex girlfriend turned solicitor as who is very much like her character on the Mentalist. Then there's a mafia dude with connections to a plane, Then there's Scofield's Puerto Rican cell mate, who is a good bloke only doing a 16 month stint but who wants to break out to be a family with his pregnant girlfriend before his cousin steals her away, Then there's the old boy, who apparently has stashed 5 million dollars somewhere in the event he ever gets out, Then there's the kid (Tweener), the prison grass, Then there's the ex soldier who is lying to his wife and daughter who still think he's fighting away in Afghanistan, and the list goes on. The show brilliantly and effortlessly makes the cons the good guys, and most of the correctional officers ("Bellick" does an amazing job as an oafish, slightly stupid CO who still lives with his mum) and police, the feds (including a pill popping, dirty one with a few rather large skeletons in his closet), and even the president, the bad guys. Apart from the warden who is a good man who seems to empathise with the prisoners. As well as doctor Sarah, Scofield's love interest, a former addict who is actively rebelling against her pro establishment governor dad. And I didn't even recognise Holly Valance at first, as her eastern european accent was very convincing in her role as Scofield's recently immigrated girlfriend on the outside, and she did a good job.

The pace of the show is perfect. And the writing is so clever that just when you think you can predict what's going to happen, the game changes. It seems a very realistic portrayal of life in a maximum security prison, and then, once they break out, a bit of a stretch how they manage to evade the law for so long, but it's all simply delicious. Particularly how Scofield always manages to outwit and make a mockery of the FBI and everyone else they come across.

This is going to be one collection I keep, and watch over. And I can't say that about most DVDs I come across.

Thumbs way up on this one. Absolute gem. If you liked Breaking Bad, you will not be disappointed by Prison Break, as it's at least as good as, if not, a bit better - and I never thought I'd say that.
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on 20 July 2014
Warning : Contains spoilers.

I've not seen a programme break as many basic laws of physics and chemistry as Prison Break does. So much so, it's insulting.

I'm not going to give it one star as there are some genuinely tense moments in the show. It is better than than one star (but not by much). So two stars it is.

The tension that is very nicely built up however is resolved by the most implausible situations and stupid character decisions you will ever witness in a programme. There is only one clever person in the show (and boy, do they love to keep reminding you) which is fair enough, were it not for the complete disregard of science that he employs; instead seemingly using magic as a substitute. They should have called him Merlin rather than Michael.

Three examples (Spoilers):

They use peroxide to bleach their shirts white. Even if that were possible (which it isn't), five minutes later the shirts are dry and in no way need ironing.

They fill a hole in a small room with concrete and put a rug over the top of it. The next morning there is no smell of concrete in the room and there are no bits in the air from the concrete mix. Both of these you may be able to explain away as there is other work going on in the room, however when the rug is removed the next morning you can't see the join in the floor and (and this is the killer) the rug hasn't stuck to the now dry concrete.

He uses a spotlight to project a picture onto a wall in order to know where to drill carefully without the wall falling down. Fair enough.. except that the projection still shows on the wall when he is standing right between it and the spotlight. The dude is that clever, light literally bends round him.

Ignoring the fact he can move a toilet connected to water pipes away from a wall without water pumping out all over the place, I wanted to like Prison Break. There was so much potential. Things like the above really do test my intelligence though and make me want to switch off. Out of respect and in the hopes it would improve I finished the first season but I've heard it gets worse as the next three seasons go on, so I wont be watching any more. Which is a shame as I don't like giving up on something. Trouble is, I couldn't care what happens to any of the characters.

Finally, my science GCSE results would have improved immeasurably had I had Michael Scofield as my science teacher. Not because I knew any more actual science, just that his version of science, where anything goes, would be so much more fun and enjoyable.
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on 13 August 2015
Tattoos are an outward expression of the self. They say to the world that you believe in something strongly enough to have it worn on you for life. In Michael Scofield's case it is the expression of solidarity with his brother Lincoln. Within the psyche we feel that certain ideas, feelings or notions are trapped or misunderstood. These can come to define us as people. In some cases people will die for these things when they become beliefs. Wearing your beliefs is a way to free the idea from the isolation of neural pathways. It creates a connection between them and the outside world. And yet, tattoos are often hidden from view behind clothes. They are revealed in near-sacred moments; moment of revelation and intimacy. People can be embarrassed to reveal the strength of a belief that is that personal to them, it is like bearing your soul. In Michael Scofield's case it is imperative to keep the truth of his belief (and his tattoo) a secret, and only reveals it to people when absolutely necessary. The body becomes a map to release the belief from incarceration.
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on 7 October 2006
I'd seen Prison Break advertised but couldn't believe that they'd be able to make an entire series out of one simple plan....to break out of prison. Then a friend said he'd seen it and raved about it so I took the plunge. Damn am I glad I did. Prison Break is definitely THE best series ever. It knocks spots off Lost and 24 and I see many awards in its future!

The plot centers around Michael Scofield. He is an architect whose brother (Lincoln) has been put on death row for killing the Vice-Presidents brother. Lincoln has always professed his innocence and Michael slowly starts to believe that he's innocent. So Michael hatches a plan......he holds up a bank with the express purpose of getting himself incarcerated at Fox River Penitentiary where Lincoln is being held.....once there he plans to help Lincoln escape.

Meanwhile Lincolns ex-girlfriend takes over as his attorney in a last ditch effort to get a stay of execution. She slowly starts to uncover that Lincolns case was fast-tracked and believes that somebody wants Lincoln dead.....quickly!

The star of this series is definitely Wentworth Miller. He plays the part of Michael to perfection. We see him as a doting brother and fantastic tactician in how he plans everything down to the last detail. And when Dr Sara Tancredi looks into Michaels eyes......all I can say is that I defy any woman in the room not to want to melt into those eyes!

Dominic Purcell plays the part of Lincoln as a man who has accepted his fate and you feel the guy was made for this part. The most disturbing character of all is definitely T-bag played by Robert Knepper. This guy makes my skin crawl and every episode without fail you hope somebody will finish him off. But at the same time you want him in the next episode because he's the guy everyone loves to hate.

How can I possibly rave about Prison Break enough? Impossible. All I can say is that this is my new top series and Lost and 24 are gone and forgotten!
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VINE VOICEon 15 April 2008
Prison Break series 1 is a strange pastiche of dramatic layers; some work so well they positively shine, and others feel rusty and under developed.

First, the positive. The plotting here is first rate. Unlike other comparable series, such as 24 Season 6, the plot has a clear and causistic direction from day one: Michael Scofield's (Wentworth Miller) brother Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) is on death row for the murder of the Vice President's brother. Lincoln claims he was framed, and while his lawyers work on the outside to exhonerate him (as mysterious Secret Service agents attempt to thwart their efforts with lethal force) Michael takes more direct action: tattooing the blue prints for the prison onto his body, he gets himself incarcerated and has 30 days to break his brother out.

The set up is fresh and brilliant for dramatic tension: the clock is perpetually ticking, and as Michael unveils his plan step by step, it inevitably hits a barrage of challenges in the form of vindictive guards, interfering inmates, and of course the (possible) conspirators on the outside which is hell bent on silencing Lincoln for good.

The problem is that the script, at least to begin with, feels rushed and shoddy. Character's talk in cliches, prison sterotypes abound (old timer with a pet? Check. Gangster who quotes 'the Godfather"? Check). On top of this perhaps the three most central actors are probably the weakest - Miller, Purcell and Robin Tunney (as Lincoln's ex-girlfriend) are all slightly wooden at times, although Miller does show real flare in some scenes where the unpredictable violence and (at times) looming despair of his situation seem to knock the wind out of him.

The good news is that these short comings are countered by an incredibly strong supporting cast. Stacy Keach is excellent as the warm hearted warden who believes in rehabilitation rather than punishment; Sarah Wayne Callies as Dr. Sara Tancredi, the prison doctor who signed up to make a difference but gets more than she bargained for; Wade Williams as Bellick, the twisted head of the guards on a power trip. However, most notable of all is Robert Knepper's turn as the villainous T-Bag, a serial murderer and paedophile who sexually preys on other inmates and is down with the white supremacist gang. The surprising thing is that Knepper makes T-Bag not only a highly watchable love-to-hate character, but gradually helps the audience see inflections in his character that hint that he is a victim of sorts himself. As such T-Bag becomes a king of tragic anti-hero rather than a two-dimensional bad guy, and for that both the writers and Knepper should be applauded.

In fact, the supporting cast is so strong that to go on any further (and I could) would labour the point. However, this, combined with excellent plotting, gut churning cliff hangers and a few scenes which for me stand out as almost perfect examples of what a thriller can be when combined with actual emotional weight, comes together to make Prison Break an iconic, layered, and ultimately emotionally compelling drama full of moral dilemmas and even spiritual questions. Make your escape, and watch it now.
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VINE VOICEon 24 May 2007
Prison Break was first broadcast in the UK on Channel Five. I was immediatly hooked, but since Channel Five aired it with the most ludicrous, unpredictable timetable I was never able to keep up with it. I've just recently came across this box set and I've watched every single episode in only 4 days. Prison Break should come with a warning, it's more addictive than crack.

Not since The A-Team has there been such a purely male-oriented show. Girls can just pack their bags and leave, there's nothing for you here. Stick to your cooking and cleaning and pots and pans and frocks and gossip. You've had your share of prime-time TV in this post-feminist world, it's time to give something back. Having said that, Prison Break is pretty much the most far-fetched show you'll ever come across and requires a HUGE suspension of disbelief. If you can manage that, you'll have a great time.

I won't really go into the plot so much since everybody in the world knows it. I'll just say 'innocent man on death row, epic plan to bust him free'. But we've all seen movies like this before, so what has PB got to offer? How about the most sprawling, complex conspiracy you could possibly imagine. Yes, it's contrived and sometimes desperate, but, like a Mack-Daddy Pimp with his prozzies, it'll keep you hooked and wants to be in control of you...or at least just your viewing habits.

Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell (both born in England btw) play brothers, both trapped in the same prison. Micheal Schofield (Miller) has himself deliberately locked-up to free Lincoln Burrows (Purcell), who has been framed by the CIA. But he needs the help of fellow cons if all that is to happen. Such a large cast fill out a range of colorful characters. Cutie-pie Robin Tunney is the desperate lawyer trying to crack the case on the outside, seriously cool Peter Stormare is the sleazy mob boss who helps them all make the escape possible, Stacy Keach as the nice warden, big-chinned and perpetually frowning Amaury Nolasco as the likeable Sucre, Muse Watson as DB Cooper and the unfortunate Lane Garrison (now needing to plan his own Prison Break for real given recent circumstances) as the unpopular Tweener. But it's Robert Knepper who steals the whole show and runs away with it as the inbred, white-trash, murderous pedo Theodore (T-Bag) Bagwell. I've never seen any actor make such an evil, nasty man so damn likeable. I'm with T-Bag all the way...as long as it's not to his cell with a sheet hanging by the door.

What I especially like about Schofield is that, like me, he 'suffers' from a high level of Dopamine buzzing around in his brain and is clinically diagnosed with 'low latent inhibition' which causes him to process higher amounts of visual stimuli and see things differently. Short and sweet, it means that it's hard to switch your brain off. But it's all normal to me and I was thrilled to see it be part of such a popular character.

With the first half of Season 2 already available in the UK, I will be going straight for it tomorrow. I need to know...I need to know. Something that YOU will be saying at the end of every damn episode.

For a show released on SD-DVD Prison Break looks absolutely incredible with a stunningly bright and crisp picture. The Dolby Digital sound is also pretty good and there are some extras included.
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on 18 April 2014
After hearing some raving reviews off friends and peers about the 4 series of Prison Break, i decided to give it ago, by the end of the first episode i was hooked! The unsual and interesting storyline made it oh so more intriguing and so hard to resist watching the next episode, the twists within the plot line were clever but in some cases quite predictable but often kept you on the edge of your seat with your heart racing. I grew quite an attachment to Michael Schofield (Wentworth Miller) as his character was somewhat mysterious but deeply interesting, along with many of the other characters and their reasons for being in the positions they were in, also the way the stoylines of the past of each character was portrayed having a tendancy to grow your feelings towards each character utterly stronger and making you believe your perception of them was correct, except in Theodores case, his discustingly slimey character showed some vunurablity and made me feel somewhat sorry for him but somehow that didn't last! One small thing that irriated me throughout the 4 series was how quickly the characters reciered from their injuries which made it less realistic with numeous, serious wounds being healed within a matter of hours/days this being a slight disapointment t other than that a fantastic series and a must watch to any that haven't seen it!
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