To talk TV, if only for a night: Against my better judgment, as if that’s news, I’ve been watching this season’s new thrillfest from Fox: “Prison Break.” It starts out with the premise that a smart young engineer robs a bank so he can get into prison so that he can free his brother who’s about to be executed for killing the vice president’s brother except of course he (the condemned brother) was framed. Right there you have have at least three layers of scriptwriting magic, but that’s only enough to get you through the season’s opening credits.
It would be small-hearted and ridiculous to cry and cavil about implausibility in a prime-time dramatic TV script. Plausibility is an artifact of the “reality-based community.” It’s clearly not needed to run the country or start a war. So, yeah, it’s time to lay off the TV writers and their clumsy attempts at legerdemain.
What “Prison Break” has going for it: Lots of shots of Chicago and nearby locations. The prison depicted in the show, which is supposed to be new, is the old Joliet Correctional Center (which also got a cameo, I think, in “The Blues Brothers”). When a trio of clueless good guys escapes the city, they wind up in New Glarus, Wisconsin, where I had a bike riding adventure this past summer.
That’s on the plus side. On the minus side: Everything else (though I was informed today that the star, Wentworth Miller, is “hot.” Fine).
The season so far, 13 episodes, has been leading up to what the title promises, a prison break. Without going into the plot twists and character cartwheels, Fox built up Monday night’s show as the “fall finale”; I’m sure lots of viewers, especially gulls like me, thought the big breakout was going to happen.
Well, the network’s ploy worked. The show got its top ratings for the season. What the show actually delivered, though, was a feeble effort at an escape — one foiled by a quiet, conscientious and unusually quick-working janitor. The show ended with a “to be continued — in March” tag.
March? Hopefully, I’ll have found some other prime-time diversion to waste time on by then. Oh, yeah — “24,” which I’ve vowed never to watch again, is coming back.