Wednesday, August 09, 2006

DVD Picks: Breaking Out

My first two DVD picks for this blog are quasi-related, even though they involve series that debuted nearly 40 years apart.

The first season of "Prison Break" has just hit the shelves. If you've heard about this series but didn't catch it the first time around, now is the time to pick up the DVD since Season 2 is starting Aug. 21.

"Prison Break" tells the story of Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), an engineer whose half-brother Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) is framed for the murder of the vice-president's brother. Michael, whose engineering company did renovations to Lincoln's prison, conceives of an elaborate plot to get incarcerated there in order to save Lincoln from the electric chair. Things do not go as planned for Michael, who constantly has to adjust his plan in order for them and a few other prisoners to make good their escape.

Much like Fox's hit, "24," "Prison Break" is heavy on the action and excitement, not to mention conspiracy theories. The series also requires a complete suspension of disbelief, with characters committing almost ludicrous actions in order to advance the plot. "Prison Break" is at its best when focusing on Michael and the other characters in the prison; the surrounding action, centering on Lincoln's lawyer ex-girlfriend Veronica (Robin Tunney), who is trying to free him legally, is where the plot usually suffers.

Despite the flaws, "Prison Break" is worth your time.

The other DVD release actually took place last week. "The Prisoner," a British thriller that ran in the 1960s, was one of the most brilliant, controversial and original series ever conceived. A new boxed set of all 17 episodes (plus an alternate version of one of the episodes, "The Chimes of Big Ben") came out last week. It's a little pricey, but shopping around online might net a bargain, particularly if you want to get your favorite TV critic a gift for the holidays. (hint, hint)

A spy (Patrick McGoohan) angrily quits his job. As he packs his bags to leave London, he is gassed and taken to a strange village that seems to be no place. No one there has a name, only a number. The spy is No. 6; the various men and women who run the Village over the course of the series are No. 2. Who is No. 1? That's one of the mysteries for No. 6 to solve as he constantly tries to escape before the people running the Village can figure out why he tried to resign his position.

"The Prisoner" has held up remarkably well over the decades. The unique fashions and the Village itself don't limit themselves to 1960s styles; with the exception of the computers of the time, it still looks great.

"The Prisoner" isn't for everyone. People who are fans of "Lost" and its ilk, shows where weird things happen and fans debate deeper, hidden meanings in the plot and character actions, will be love "The Prisoner." People who want simple explanations and don't like exercising their minds will not.


Zodin2008 said...

"Prison Break" premieres on Monday night, August 21st, just FYI. The 19th is a Saturday unless FOX has a new strategy we don't know about!

Also, I am intrigued by the brand new show premiering after "Break", "Vanished" starring 'Walt Cummings' (John Allen Nelson) from "24". Looks intriguing and a great fit for the brand established by the FOX Monday night shows.

This Girl said...

Not a fan of Prison Break. I don't know why it didn't speak to me. I would watch 24, but I can't stand missing anything and how hard it is to get caught up. You want to watch it, not hear about it later.

I'm looking forward to Vanished, but that's a whole nother can of worms.