Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"Break"-Through Hit

Warning: A few Break spoilers ahead. Nothing heavy until the next to last paragraph, then no spoilers post-asterik.

If you read the TVGasm preview I linked to yesterday evening, it stated that the Prison Break pilot tested as well as anything FOX has had in a while. (Go ahead, this a “Make Your Own Joke” opportunity, somehow combining FOX and good shows – Any joke, and you win) It had a tough job, trying to keep two hours interesting while laying the groundwork for an entire season. Add in the fact there was a ton of buzz, and FOX was set to fall on it’s face, Life on a Stick-style.

Luckily for anyone that tuned in last night, the show was a success. It wasn’t a home run, but was at least a stand up triple, maybe even a rounding of third. The pilot wasn’t without flaws, attempting to cram as much stuff as it could into the two hours allotted. If you tuned in even halfway through – I shudder to think what one would think who tries to pick it up with the third episode Monday – you were lost. Sports Guy wrote about it today, saying it was too hard to follow, but I thought they managed to keep everything in some sort of context, but there was certainly a lot of stuff.

(But when you think about it, wouldn’t you rather have some sort of reference to events that will happen throughout the series, as opposed to stuff just randomly popping up? At least nobody will be able to say “Where’d that come from?!” in relation to this show.)

I made the mistake of leaving out a Shawshank reference when I was trying to mix together elements of the show. The lead character, Michael Scofield, certainly has some Andy Dufresne in him. He’s the well-educated, upper-class prisoner who takes a lot of crap from other inmates early. Michael carries a certain cockiness with him that Tim Robbins never displayed until the end of Shawshank, and that’s where the best part of the show was.

Michael comes in completely and totally confident. He’s got the blueprints to the prison, which he helped remodel, tattooed over his entire torso as a gothic scene, with key terms to remember on his arms, Memento-style. He’s got a plan to hook up with some famous ex-criminal with 1.5 million stashed somewhere, and he’s found a way to make himself very important to the resident crime boss with outside mafia connections. He’s not just cool and collected as he prepares to enter the prison, he’s downright cocky. George Clooney in Ocean’s Eleven cocky.

However, for poor Michael, for all of his understanding of the prison, he didn’t really understand prison. In his cell for five minutes, he sees another inmate get stabbed from behind and murdered. Things slowly escalate, as he takes a yard beating, gets caught between rival gangs, becomes involved in a race riot and finally after underestimating the crime boss he was attempting to extort, he gets his toe clipped off to the end the show.

So I’m going to give this my full endorsement, but only under the circumstance you take the time to watch the pilot and follow it from the beginning. If you just tune in at 8:00 next Monday and expect to follow what’s going on, you won’t. You have the option of attempting to download it, watching it on the Tivo or catching it again when it re-airs Thursday night at 7:00 (That’s 8:00 for you still lucky/unlucky enough to be stuck in Eastern time). I think it’s worth your time, though you’re going to have to be able to stomach some blood and some foggy storylines to start. Invest the time with me, as I think you’ll find it worthwhile.

*

I attempted to find a preview of Reunion I liked, because I want to believe it’ll finally be a suitable follow up to The OC on my Thursday nights. Odds are, it’ll fail miserably, but I love the concept of each show being a different year, just for the comedy of how they attempt to make the actors look younger and older. The best I could do on short, way-too-humid-in-my-room notice was FOX’s spiel on it. It’s something, and if anyone can find any more information on this, a thousand blog bonus points.

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Despite the fact the commercial during Prison Break was completely terrible, I'll still love Arrested, and if you didn't before, maybe Charlize Theron joining the cause will spark your interest.

(Kudos to Chad on the cross-room link send.)

*

Sorry to be on a total TV kick, but Entourage was fantastic this week as well. Kudos to Andy MacKrell for being the guy who pointed out this one's excellence/demanded a season pass on Tivo.

Plus, who doesn't love Jeremy Piven?
If him drunkenly singing to "Fame" in his assistant's car doesn't get him an Emmy, what should?

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Just incase you happened to forget:

THE OC IN EIGHT DAYS

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Next Time: We’ll be looking at the Irish game Saturday night, and eventually looking into the NFL season. SI.com has Colts vs. Panthers in the Super Bowl, which will happen as long as the Colts get to play the Broncos in every round of the playoffs. Put away the sunscreen, kiddies, it’s football season.

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