After the breakout success of Lost in 2004, the following year saw three big-budget attempts at science fiction series with dense continuity. Unfortunately, it also saw those three series ultimately fail to hang on to their viewers, through internal problems or network mismanagement, and fans were left with three frustrating cliffhangers.
While they were allowed to complete more episodes than many series that followed them, I suspect this trinity of cancellations is a big reason current TV viewers are nervous about jumping on board complex shows with intricate continuity and details.
I watched Surface, Threshold and Invasion that season, but always found myself much more involved with the stories and drama unfolding on the latter of the three. Despite Katrina-related sensitivity due to its hurricane-themed opening, Invasion did an amazing job of building tension during a possible alien infiltration. V could learn a thing or two from this show.
(S06E10) "I'm everywhere Lloyd." - Ari
Poor Lloyd - we knew this would happen. If there's one thing that Hollywood's newest agent should have learned, it's that you don't cross Ari Gold. Yes, Ari gave in and told Drama the truth - Lloyd will do a better job representing Drama - but he did it for Drama. Not for Lloyd. He's already cut Lloyd off from Coakley (and presumably NBC as a whole) and it's not crazy to imagine that Ari will continue to erect more walls in his former assistant's way. However, I've got some theories on how this may play out.
(S04E21/S04E22) "I don't want to run anymore." - Michael
I'm happy that Prison Break is over. I've been a fan since the beginning, and even though it tested your threshold for absurd and ridiculous TV moments on more than one occasion, Prison Break was still one helluva ride. While part of me wishes that it had gone out on a creative high after maybe a season or two, I still appreciate what Paul Scheuring, Matt Olmstead, and Co. tried to do in season three and on some level, I even respect what went down here in the final season - arguably the drama's worst. That being said, tonight's two-hour finale offered some solid closure while wrapping up most everyone's story in ways that actually felt believable.
(S04E20) "What kind of loser gets set up for two high profile assassinations within five years?" - Lincoln
That's a question I've been asking myself for some time now, except that my query was a bit more broad - what kind of loser gets messed up in this many conspiracies period? Lincoln Burrows and Michael Scofield (Quick sidebar: different last names. Obviously they weren't brothers.) haven't exactly had it easy, but it's finally starting to look like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel ... at least for Michael anyway.
(S04E19) "Maybe I can meet my grandson one day." - Cristina
With only three original hours left in Prison Break's run (not counting the two hour telepic that may or may not air), it's about time we got some solid answers. Despite her plea saying otherwise, I feel pretty confident now in believing that Cristina ain't one of the good guys. While General Krantz isn't much better, he's starting to look like a saint compared to Michael and Lincoln's mother.
(S04E18) "I warned you not to come Michael." - Lincoln
Eighteen episodes into Prison Break's final season and we finally got some solid explanation as to what exactly The Company has been up to all this time. Answers are a good thing - except when they create more questions. After learning about Scylla's true contents (at least some of it anyway), I'm more confused than ever.
(S04E17) "She used to bake cookies when we came home from school." - Michael
For some reason all I could about during this episode was Cartman whining, "But Mooooommmm." Life sucks when your mother tries to kill you, huh? Prison Break's return saw a lot of action, but like most episodes, a lot of it was filler. It's still unclear as to what the precise end game for Scylla is going to be, but one thing is certain - the addition of Kathleen Quinlan as Lincoln and Michael's mother Christine has added a new layer of tension to the show that had been sorely lacking for the first leg of the final season.
(S04E04) "I was thinking about maybe getting me a career in pictures." - T-Bag
Here we go - get ready for it. The hunt for the remaining Scylla cards continues! Boooooring. I don't feel like there's any challenge to obtaining these cards at this point when Roland's device makes it so simple. Stand next to someone holding the card for two minutes and you're done. Don Self could do this...himself. He doesn't need Scofield and Burrows. As was the case last week, the Scylla plot paled in comparison to what T-Bag is up to. It's the only solid mystery Prison Break has right now.
(S04E03) "Not every geek with a Commodore 64 can hack into NASA." - Roland
I think we're already starting to see how much of this season of Prison Break is going to play out. A constant struggle for Scofield and his team to deliver while pressure from Don and his Homeland Security buddies continues to weigh them down. I doubt very much that this is the last time the threat of being shut down will be used. It wouldn't surprise me if there was a mention of it every week - we are talking about their freedom after all. With that in mind, get ready to hear something that I imagine I'll probably be typing a lot as I review this season: the hunt for the remaining Scylla cards continues!
Don't get me wrong. I like Michael Rappaport. I've seen him in dramatic and comedic roles and he's equally impressive in both, but something just didn't work at all every moment he was on screen in Monday night's season premiere of Prison Break. Maybe it's because everyone from Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell to William Fichtner and even Robert Knepper talks in this sort of subdued menacing whisper. And then here comes Rappaport all filled with bluster and his thick New York accent and that quarter smile that's always on his face.
I don't know what it was, but every time he spoke it pulled me right out of the fiction. I know Prison Break isn't anywhere close to Shakespearean in quality or writing, but one thing it's always had going for it is the quality of the cast and their performances, making you believe all the ridiculous things that happen.
(S04E01/S04E02) "Yeah well, a lot of people that believed in me in the last few months Agent Self... not all of them are alive today." - Scofield
I've always loved Prison Break. I still do. We're four seasons deep now and I've fully accepted the fact that this show is constantly reinventing itself and as a result, the level of ridiculousness that you as a viewer need to be willing to eat is absurd. I'm not sure if I laughed louder when T-Bag adopted a cannibalistic lifestyle or Linc called the new guy Roland a douche. Oh right... and Sara is alive. So don't act surprised by the picture. But we knew that anyway. FOX didn't even try to keep that one a secret for us.
If you don't know what I'm talking about and don't want to know about it, don't read beyond the spoilers warning. I suggest you also stop watching FOX until September 1 at 8 p.m. and that you stay clear from anything Prison Break related. Because, as I've said before, it's clear the network wants you to know and they are not hiding that reveal at all.
Beware: spoilers ahead!
Seriously though, while there were some good elements in their list, and I absolutely agree with their number one choice, there were some real problems and omissions as well. Wonderfalls ranked way too high and Homeboys in Outer Space didn't even make the list? Outrageous! So I've taken it upon myself to make my own list of The Top 10 Sci Fi Short-Lived Sci-Fi Shows That Weren't Pulitzer Worthy But Went Great With Popcorn. And I intentionally didn't include any of the shows on their list, because I'm acting like a spoiled brat and I don't want to play with their toys.
Along with Surface, Invasion was one of my favorite new shows that season, with each episode getting better and better. By the series finale, I was hooked. I'm still miffed that ABC didn't give it more time to flesh out the story and characters.
Incorporating a sci-fi-alien mystery, a government conspiracy, and plenty of family drama, Invasion had a built-in audience because it aired directly after another sci-fi mystery, Lost. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to keep the series on the air.
(S03E13) "You know, you're the first person to ever break out of Sona." - Gretchen
This was a great episode. Really solid and enjoyable. However, you can see why it was originally meant to be the mid-season finale and not a season ender. There are just simply too many questions left hanging and, for lack of a better way to put it, it just doesn't feel right. Fans of Prison Break, you know what I mean. As far as finales go, this wasn't satisfying. While it left me yearning for more, I'm equally annoyed. Plenty of other shows are coming back with four or five new episodes starting in about a month, so why not Prison Break? What really worries me? No word on any sort of renewal from FOX. This very well could be the last we'll see of Michael and Lincoln.
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