Monday, August 21, 2006

Gimme a Break

Like GMMR, I was lucky enough to get a set of the FOX screeners, so I could watch the premiere of Prison Break early. And, like GMMR, I thought it rocked. My brief, non-spoilery reactions below.

In the area of casting, I really enjoy Bill Fichtner in the 'Tommy Lee Jones' role, as my roommate puts it. In just one episode, he's established his character as a layered, deliberate, controlled, intelligent person, a force to be reckoned with. I must say, the chase is only fun to watch if you believe Michael and the escapees might be caught. Will Fichtner prove up to the task? Only time will tell, but I already believe he's a more capable adversary than Bellick.

Also, as I mentioned in an earlier post, Terrence Steadman had to be recast. Happily, one of my favorite bit-part actors, Jeff Perry (who also played Meredith's dad on Grey's Anatomy) has filled the role. I'm unsure how much of him we'll be seeing this season, but I think he brings a sense of weary intrigue to a part that already has a lot of mystery.

As for the plot, it was great seeing how they introduced the escapees and weaved in elements and shots from the first season to bring in new viewers. The tone of the show, the core that caught my interest, is still there. The tattoo is still relevant, the somewhat incredible plot twists are still present -- heck, even the transition-to-commercial music is the same! What's changed is the dynamic between the characters.

Before, they all had one united objective: getting out. Now, there's much more potential for conflict and disagreement, since they all have different destinations and loyalties. Though the circumstances have changed, the characters haven't. Michael is as wily as ever, T-Bag as squirrely as ever, Abruzzi as amoral as ever. What will be really interesting is seeing how all these personalities we've grown familiar with will react to their new environment.

All in all, the first episode was a great, fresh start to a new season, and it was fun getting to see a screener (complete with the time running on the bottom, placeholders for stock shots, and some pretty horrendous voiceovers). I expect big things from Prison Break this season, but let's be honest -- as long as they keep putting Wentworth Miller in suits, I'll keep watching.


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