'Prison Break': Here's how the show is being revived

Fox is reportedly bringing back the show for 10 episodes. 'Prison' stars Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell and centered on a man trying to help his brother escape from jail.

Si TV/PRNewsFoto
'Prison Break' stars Wentworth Miller (r.) and Amaury Nolasco (l.).

The network Fox is reportedly planning more episodes of its mid-2000s hit “Prison Break.” 

“Prison” starred Wentworth Miller and centered on Michael Scofield (Miller), who commits a crime in order to get sent to prison and be close to his wrongfully accused brother, Lincoln (Dominic Purcell). Michael plans to help his brother escape.

The show ran from 2005 to 2009 and ratings had declined by the program’s final season.

According to Fox, the new installments of “Prison” will last for 10 episodes. “The brothers will be back, and it addresses questions set up at the end of the series,” Fox CEO Dana Walden said.

Miller and Purcell both currently star on the CW series “The Flash” as supervillains and are set to star on the CW program “Legends of Tomorrow,” which is set in the “Flash” story world and is set to debut in 2016. So any “Prison” project will have to work around that. 

“Prison,” the ABC show “Lost,” and the NBC program “Heroes” were the kings of mid-2000s television that had ambitious premises and fast-moving plots. All of them also disappointed some of their fans with their long-term plotting. While “Prison” centered on the brothers Michael and Lincoln, “Lost” told the story of a plane crashing on a mysterious island and “Heroes” was about various people with superpowers. While “Prison” debuted in 2005, “Lost” came on the air in 2004 and “Heroes” appeared in 2006.

While “Prison” was critically well-received for its first two seasons, it declined as it went on and ratings also slipped. “The series… slowly sinks and drowns under the weight of its own shoddy and convoluted plotting,” one reviewer wrote of “Prison” as a whole. Meanwhile, while some fans were satisfied with the ending of “Lost,” others weren’t happy with the finale and complained that some mysteries weren’t resolved. “Heroes” also lost viewers as it went on and reviewers enjoyed the first season but didn’t like the first season finale; the criticism continued from there. One reviewer wrote that the “Heroes” series finale had “resolution via multiple deuxes ex machinas so random, it's almost as if they had no plan at all to begin with… and ideas… [that were] ill-conceived and poorly executed.” 

The recent popularity of anthology TV shows like “American Horror Story” and “True Detective,” which promise some sort of reset at the end of each season, are at least in part a response to this. A program like the TV show “Fargo” won’t have convoluted plotting and complicated conspiracies that go on for ages; mysteries will be solved by the end. 

Therefore, a 10-episode order of “Prison” holds the same promise as another Fox show being revived, “The X-Files.” A six-episode version of the show is set to debut in January. While there’s a fair chance the network will ask for more if either "Prison" or "X-Files" is a hit, having a set number of episodes for the shows at the beginning promises resolution and a plan at the outset. "Heroes" is also being revived for a new series, "Heroes Reborn," which is also currently set for a specific number of episodes: 13.

Expect to see more limited series like this if viewers tune in for shows that are set in worlds they love but have slightly tighter plotting than the first incarnations.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.