Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 13, 2017)
Back when I was a kid, defunct TV series might return with one-off reunion shows. In the 21st century, though, the trend tends toward “event series”, brief runs of episodes that go longer than a simple two-hour reunion would allow but stop well short of full-length seasons.
In 2016, The X-Files returned via this format, and 2017 brought back Prison Break. That series had ended after four seasons, though it also tossed out a “post-script” movie.
Prison Break: The Event Series spans nine episodes and brings back the crew from the original. This 3-disc Blu-ray set includes all nine shows, and the synopses come from the series’ website.
Ogygia: “Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) and Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies) work together to track down Michael (Wentworth Miller) after certain evidence suggests that he could still be alive, which takes Lincoln over to Yemen.”
Even though I liked Prison Break during its original run, I must admit the series didn’t stick with me. This means I don’t remember much about it – it provided lively action melodrama that didn’t stick to the bones.
“Ogygia” recognizes that it’s been a while since the series ended, so it largely acts as a refresher course. It still manages some new plot points, though, and these push it toward its narrative path in a reasonable manner. It’s not an especially compelling show on its own, though.
Kaniel Outis: “C-Note (Rockmond Dunbar) and Lincoln look for the ‘Sheik of Light’ while Michael and his cellmate (Kunal Sharma) attempt to escape from Ogygia.”
With most of the expository preliminaries out of the way, “Outis” pushes the series on a more active path, though I’m not sure I care yet where it goes. Once we find out the endgame behind Michael’s situation, Break might pick up steam, but right now, it seems to spin its wheels.
The Liar: “When T-Bag (Robert Knepper) runs into Sara, he tries to warn her about two of Poseidon's henchmen who may be following her trail.
Prison Break always stretched the bounds of credulity, but so far, the “Event Series” makes the show’s original run look reality-based. In particular, Michael’s development seems far-fetched, and given that he remains at the core of the narrative, this makes the “Event Series” more and more difficult to swallow.
The Prisoner’s Dilemma: “Michael, Whip (Augustus Prew) and Ja (Rick Yune) make a final effort to escape from Ogygia, but must make an unfavorable deal to do so.”
The more I watch the “event series”, the more it feels like essentially a remake of Season One with some twists. I guess that’s not a terrible thing, but the “event series” needs to make a name for itself, something it hasn’t done so far. Even with lots of action and potential intrigue, I’ve not yet gotten drawn into this batch of shows.
Contingency: “Lincoln becomes frustrated as he tries to understand what really happened to Michael. C-Note has a new escape plan.”
In terms of a story element, the choice to set a vast ISIL army after Michael and company seems either inspired or idiotic – or like much of Prison Break, both inspired and idiotic. While I kind of like that side of things, the rest of “Contingency” feels like a lot of violent energy without much real payoff.
Phaeacia: “Michael, Lincoln and the rest of the Ogygia gang find themselves being pursued by a vengeful Cyclops (Amin El Gamal) as they continue their escape from Yemen.”
One problem with the “event series” comes from the lackluster nature of its new characters. While it can be fun to revisit the old personalities, the ones introduced here tend to feel contrived and annoying. They add to the lackluster nature of the “event series”, factors that continue to impact “Phaeacia”.
Wine-Dark Sea: “Sara grows increasingly concerned regarding her family's safety after she learns the true reason that Michael staged his death.”
“Sea” gives us “backward exposition”, as Michael explains the background for a lot of what we’ve seen so far. While I appreciate these details, they serve to make the series seem even more ludicrous and far-fetched. Still, at least “Sea” gives us a little more emotional charge, absurd as it all may be.
Progeny: “When the safety of Sara and her son (Christian Michael Cooper) is compromised, Michael and Lincoln attempt to enlist Sheba and C-Note's assistance in capturing Poseidon.”
As we lurch into the series’ finale, I continue to hope that we’ll find dramatic redemption. Unfortunately, “Progeny” comes with the same overwrought shenanigans that’ve dragged down the rest of the season. This leads to a lot of melodrama with little real impact, all wrapped up with a ridiculous character revelation.
Behind the Eyes: “Dangerous threats keep Michael and Lincoln fighting to protect Sara and Mike. Meanwhile, Poseidon continues to try and outsmart Michael and his gang.”
As I’ve mentioned, Prison Break always embraced the outrageous, but “Eyes” requires us to swallow so much absurdity that it goes off the rails. The inevitable conclusion doesn’t satisfy, so the “event series” ends on a lackluster note.