Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dispatch from press tour: 'Prison Break' comes to an end

In addition to waxing philosophical on the goings-on at NBC, Fox president Kevin Reilly made a few programming announcements, most notably that the current season of "Prison Break" will be the show's last. "Prison Break" is on hiatus right now, but the remaining episodes -- four are currently in the can, and there's a chance a few more may be filmed -- will begin airing on Friday, April 17.

I gave up on it a long time ago, so I could only nod in agreement when Reilly said that "Prison Break" was "played out."

26 comments:

jim treacher said...

Once it became Prison Broke, it started to go downhill. I actually liked a lot of the fugitive stuff, but I gave up about halfway through the episode where they all landed back in jail in Panama or wherever.

rspad said...

I've kept up with the show through all its nutty ups and downs and have enjoyed the ride. While I'm sad to see it go, it's definitely time. I hope they tie things up in a satisfying way.

Bobman said...

I think I gave up when they chopped off Sarah's head (who apparently wasn't even really Sarah, but turned out to be someone named Deux ex Machina)

Jenny said...

I was never a Prison Break watcher until last year, when I caught up on the series on DVD. The first season had a lot going for it, and the second wasn't terrible -- it had some great stuff, like the wrap-up to Tweener's storyline and, of course, William Fitchner. I actually liked the third season quite a bit -- putting both the prisoners and the offiers of the law in a gritty, unlivable Central American prison and just letting things go from there. (In that case, I think the strike-shortened season helped the quality of show overall.)

However, the fourth season has just been so risibly awful that I've kept watching only to revel in how bad it is. (What can I say? Sometimes I get as much enjoyment out of hating things as I do out of loving them.)

Maybe it would have been better if the show called it quits after the quite good first season or even the second; maybe not. But I'm definitely not sad that this will be the last season.

OK, it definitely would have been better if they called it quits before they brought back a character whose head they showed in a box in the previous season.

dez said...

But Lincoln never looked at the head carefully; he only assumed it was Sarah', heh!

I'm totally behind this season and hope to catch up before the rest of it starts airing in April. I've come this far with it--might as well see it to the end, but it has been rather silly since they all wound up in Sona.

Anonymous said...

First season was good despite plot holes. 2nd Season was terrible. I gave up at the end of the 2nd season.

Kensington said...

Oz ruined me on prison dramas. Anything else seemed too sanitized.

Craig Ranapia said...

I gave up on it a long time ago, so I could only nod in agreement when Reilly said that "Prison Break" was "played out."

Really? [snark off]

I was re-watching the original 'Life on Mars', and was pleasantly impressed that the decision to end the show (which was a serious critical and ratings winner in the UK) was not made by the BBC. None of the writers or producers could think of a way to make a creatively satisfying third series, and decided to walk away on a high note. I wish a lot of other shows would do the same.

'Prison Break' had a limitation to it premise that was right up front in the title. And while it's not unknown that a show can tonally do a 180 degree turn and still work, I don't think they pulled it off here. ITA with Jenny regarding the first two seasons -- not classic, but certainly watchable. I can see why the third has its admirers, but honestly I thought too much of what did work was a rehash of what had been done before (and better), but the last? Oy...

Dan Coyle said...

I think the series recovered nicely this year, but yeah, it's time to wrap it up. All the cards have been put on the table.

Stylist Mick said...

Kevin Reilly seems like my kind of programmer. "Played out"? Nice.

For the record, I gave up right after the Scylla stuff got... for a lack of a better pun... silly.

Cornelius said...

Hi Alan, I've got a question for you!

Do you think that Prison Break would have been a superior show if it had featured musical sequences, with the characters singing?

I know this sounds silly but I think such an unusual feature would have brought the show more notoriety and provided a means of greater creativity. I think it would be bold.

Do you have an opinion on this? Thanks!

Jeff said...

Alan,

Is there any chance that some network will start having a definite end to a series? Something like a 1 or 2 season show where it ends while it is still interesting?

I think that would work well if they started to promote the writer/creator more than they do now. They could have the 2nd series in the works and promote it towards the end of the first series even if the two series are unrelated.

Rick said...

Damn. If they were going to keep going, I could have pulled myself away.

But now, knowing that the end is nigh, I've got to hang on through the end. Six more hours. I can live with that.

Cornelius said...

Sometimes this happens, Jeff! Lost is ending at a definite date, for instance.

I suppose it's more common with cable shows, like The Shield, The Wire, Sopranos, Battlestar Galactica, etc.

As far as going out early, I don't think many US shows do this but Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant did it quite well with The Office and Extras. It's not necessarily a bad idea, but I don't know if US studios are as open to that kind of format.

leor said...

i've held the belief for several years that more shows should be held to limited runs, in the same way of many BBC shows (like the aforementioned Life on Mars).
1) you don't constantly tease audiences and write new twists to keep things going
2) audiences know it won't be around forever and are more interested in investing their time to see what happens
3) a short-run show, like a mini-series, can really be an "event" that people get excited for.

just my 2 cents...

Craig Ranapia said...

i've held the belief for several years that more shows should be held to limited runs, in the same way of many BBC shows (like the aforementioned Life on Mars).

Up to a point. The BBC's flagship drama is 'Doctor Who' -- and, almost by accident, the format is remarkably open-ended, and I can see it marching on long after the two of us are dead and gone. But that show still only does thirteen episodes a year, and a Christmas special.

But I also think part of the problem is demand that a season of network television is (basically) twenty plus episodes every year of a show's life. That's roughly equivalent to eight full-length features a year, and don't tell me anyone churns out that much material without creative fatigue slipping in somewhere.

Jenny said in passing that "the strike-shortened season helped the quality of show overall", and I think she's not only right, but 'Prison Break' isn't the only one.

I'm sure there are plenty of folks that would beg to differ, but I think shorter seasons can be creatively more satisfying because you just don't have the space to fart around. Look at 'Mad Men' -- which I personally think is over-rated, but still solid. One thing I do love about the show is it's deliberate pacing, and while that's satisfying over thirteen episodes I think it would become unwatchable if stretched any further.

Anonymous said...

I can't blame them it is the same thing over and over they have almost got something,and at the end of the season they finally get it.

Anna said...

I, (clearly) for one, am sad to see PB end. While there were lulls, this season has been really good - a lot of "oceans 11" type of cloak and dagger.

I was kind of hoping that after they all got out that they would turn into an A-team.

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire...

dark tyler said...

Is there any chance that some network will start having a definite end to a series? Something like a 1 or 2 season show where it ends while it is still interesting?

CBS is supposedly trying this format this spring with 'Harper's Island'. 13 episodes and out. They're even calling it a mini-series event.

PFJ said...

Got it for Christmas. Flew through Season 1, watched Season 2 slower but still liked it, got through two episodes of Season 3 and can't convince myself to continue. They really should have set Season 2 as the end date early on.

The Cornster said...

I think an excellent plot line would have been if the government blackmailed the main character into going undercover in the most secure prison in North Korea and figuring out to break out along with 5 North Korean high level defectors who are being secretly held there. They do this because they know he is the world greatest prison escapist. Ultimately, not only would he try to escape with the defectors, but he would lead an uprising of the entire prison camp and have a confrontation with the North Korean army. After tense battles he and his followers would escape into South Korea. Instead of going back to America though he will escape one last time, to travel the world in disguise, off the grid. This would be the series finale. Oh, it would be quite charming and exciting, indeed!

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that no one can agree on which seasons (other than the first) were the good ones. I liked the second, and felt it should have ended there (it was obvious that it was originally intended to). I skipped most of season 3, but have mostly enjoyed the current one (though it should have ended after they got Scylla, instead of having all the betrayals and such). Anyway, I think it makes sense to end it soon, and hope there is a good finale.

Pamela Jaye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pamela Jaye said...

moving post to correct thread (now that it's up) :-)

Jesse Perry said...

I get that networks keep shows around too long, in part, because of syndication. However, I wonder if the rise of DVD sales and downloads could cause networks to re-think their philosophy?

Anonymous said...

Please the show jumped the freaking shark and it's horrible when they brought back Sarah Wayne Callies aka Dr.Forehead.What a joke it's not Prison Break anymore is the MiSa dumb show.It's not even good it's a very badly written and badly acted soap opera!