Prison Break was one of the first shows I was a fan of during the new golden age of TV, so seeing stars Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller re-team for Legends of Tomorrow is a treat. Now, even better, Fox has announced a limited revival of the Prison Break series, finally making good on a rumor that started last fall. The event series will serve as a “bit of a sequel” said Fox chairman Dana Walden to a gathering of press, and series lead Michael Scofield’s (Miller) death at the end of season 4 will go ignored.
The original series ran from 2005-2009, launching with Scofield’s plan to be incarcerated into the same prison as his brother (Purcell) in order to break him out. A relatively unknown Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead) played a major role, and Robert Knepper as the despicable T-bag joined a list of iconic anti-heroes and broke ground for Norman Reedus. TVLine reports that both are in talks to reprise their roles in the new show.
There are few official trailers for Prison Break, but if you’re not familiar with the premise you could do worse than this fan-made effort. All 4 seasons are available on Netflix.
After the first season’s breakout – engineered by Scofield’s tattoo clues which served as the main conceit – critics wondered how the show would maintain interest. The creators chose to follow eight fugitives outside the prison wall, pitting them against a faceless pursuer called “The Company”, and trailing several to Panama where they were recaptured and placed in a lawless penitentiary.
Those first two seasons each pulled a respectable 9 million viewers for Fox, some of the highest summertime drama numbers since Ally McBeal. But these were competitive days in TV; the same year Prison Break debuted shows like The Office (NBC), Battlestar Galactica (Syfy), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), Supernatural (The WB), Bones (Fox), Everybody Hates Chris (UPN), and even Deadliest Catch (Discovery) hit the airwaves. Seasons 3 and 4 brought syndicate crime and Homeland Security into the mix, weaving together traditional story lines of corporate and government conspiracy; ratings plummeted. Though audiences were rallying back to TV, after a strong start Prison Break fell by the wayside.
Last fall Fox sought to do something with the once-popular series by ordering a script and a show bible from Paul Scheuring, creator of the original series. In the interim they’ve signed on the original producing team and now, with the addition of Miller and Purcell, are taking the announcement public. The network is looking toward nine or ten episodes to begin filming in late March, contingent on the co-stars’ schedule for filming on Legends.