Stephen King: Why I love 'Prison Break' |


Stephen King: Why I love 'Prison Break'

EW's pop-culture columnist testifies on behalf of the Wentworth Miller series, the most action-packed fun on TV -- if you can keep up

Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller, ...

(Jeremy Cowart/FOX)

Here’s a truth that should be self-evident: There can be a big difference between what you think is great and what you actually like. When it comes to TV, the finest series currently on offer is — in your Uncle Stevie’s humble opinion — Breaking Bad (not AMC’s other series, Mad Men, which is just soap opera with a great retro feel). But when it comes to what I’d walk over my grandmother not to miss, the answer is Prison Break. Simple as that. I love Prison Break madly, deeply, truly.

Before you rush to catch up on everything you’ve missed, let me warn you: If you picked up the first three seasons on DVD and watched them all at once, your frakkin’ head would explode. I’ve scoped the entire run, and even I have only the dimmest idea of what’s going on. And that doesn’t detract from my pleasure even a little bit. Here’s a rough summary of Our Story So Far, concocted not with help from the usual Internet sources but from my own little Break-obsessed head. EW fact-checkers will try to fix this. I won’t let them.

So okay, there are these two brothers, Lincoln Burrows and Michael Scofield (I don’t remember why they don’t have the same last name). Linc gets convicted of murdering the Evil President’s brother, and is sentenced to death at Fox Mulder Memorial Prison (or maybe it’s Fox River; I know there’s a Fox in there somewhere because the show’s on Fox). Michael commits a robbery so he can also go to prison and bust his brother out. The escape plan is tattooed on Michael’s body. (It gets lasered off in season 4: the whole thing, all at once. Ouch!) Michael befriends the warden, who’s making a Taj Mahal out of Popsicle sticks, and falls in love with the prison nurse, Sara. In season 3, Sara gets her head chopped off, but it’s mistaken identity and she comes back in season 4.

With me so far?

Anyway, Michael and Linc escape with a bunch of assorted fruits and nuts. The most over-the-top is T-Bag, a degenerate Night of the Hunter-type psycho brilliantly played by Robert Knepper. There’s also this one guy who’s a few fries short of a Happy Meal and wants to live in a painting. Of Holland, I think. (He jumps off a water tower.)

NEXT PAGE: ”Here’s the part that kills me: All the survivors except Linc wind up in a Panamanian prison! Yes!