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Byline: > DAVID KRONKE

Is 'Prison Break' 'Lost'?

It seems that the goal of heavily serialized shows is to simply survive their first season. That accomplished, the writers can sit back, roll a fat one and prepare to insanely spin their narrative wheels in the mudhole that is network prime time for a few years.

Hey, it happened to "Lost." It may happen to "Heroes," now that it looks like they've lost their nerve and are loath to kill off characters (both Adrian Pasdar and Milo Ventimiglia, whose characters apparently died in last season's finale, are returning to the show) while continuing to stockpile new ones, threatening to become very unwieldy.

And it certainly seems to have happened to "Prison Break." This show, which returned Monday, has gone certifiable.

Last season, even though Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) was exonerated in the murder of the vice president's (then president, then ex-president) brother, they're still on the lam. In Panama, of all places. Where Michael (Wentworth Miller), who masterminded the breakout in the first place, has been tossed into yet another clink: SONA, a hell-on-Earth that has been abandoned by its guards, is run by "the worst of the worst" -- murderers, rapists, druglords -- and features fights to the death as afternoon entertainment. My favorite thing about SONA, however, has to be that when the inmates get bored, they take up a game of darts. Just the idea that someone somewhere thought that having darts in a prison atmosphere was a good idea makes me laugh.

Anyway, because TV worlds are very small, Michael's incarcerated with some blasts from his past: Bellick (Wade Williams), the sadistic guard from the Illinois prison who has devoted his life to making Michael's life miserable (Williams must've done something to hack off the writers, because for the bulk of the first two episodes of the new season he's slouching around SONA in some rather unsavory tighty-whiteys and cleaning out filthy toilets and stumbling around in sewers - none of which are images anyone'd really want burned into their retinas); Alex (William Fichtner), the crazed Fed who dedicated his life to making Michael's life miserable; and T-Bag (Robert Knepper), the psychopath who has dedicated his life to making everyone's life miserable.

And so there's a new conspiracy and Michael's at the heart of it, again, forced to break another prisoner out of this rank, fetid and altogether unpleasant place. Which isn't so awful that he can't take a few minutes out from the beatings and murder attempts to pine away for Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies, another victim of humiliating story lines).

Lincoln wants to help Michael escape, but apparently not too zealously 7/8 when important information drops out of a connection on his cell phone, he doesn't ask the caller to repeat anything.

So naturally the new season opened with a scene with an alluring woman in her underthings putting on makeup. Huh?

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Title Annotation:LA.COM
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 19, 2007
Words:489
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