Originally Posted by dad1153
'Breakout Kings' (A&E)
Another escapist show from 'Prison Break' guys
By Ellen Gray, Philadelphia Daily Newsl - March 3rd, 2011
In four seasons on Fox, you'd think "Prison Break" had exhausted the possibilities of escapist entertainment.
I don't care how gorgeous Wentworth Miller is: How many times can the same characters break out (or into) well-fortified facilities using only items found around your average Big House before viewers' eyes start to roll back in their heads?
Turns out, though, that there are still stories to be told about too-early paroles - and former "Break" writers Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora figured out a way to tell them. All they needed was to be a little less original.
Like "It Takes a Thief" and USA's "White Collar," "Breakout Kings," which premieres Sunday on A&E, is about convicts who work with law enforcement in exchange for a break on their sentences.
The hook? At some point, all have demonstrated enough ability as escape artists that the U.S. marshals have decided they might be useful in tracking fugitives.
If you can make that leap, then you may not be bothered by the disappearance of one of the convicts after the pilot. (Originally made for Fox, which passed on the project, it was ordered to series by A&E.)
Serinda Swan joins the "Kings" in later episodes, and though she and Nicole Steinwedell, the actress in the pilot, look a lot alike, they're playing different characters with entirely different back stories.
Which is too bad, because Steinwedell's character was nicknamed Philly.
A&E assures me all will be explained in the March 13 episode, which wasn't ready in time for screening.
Staying on after tonight: Jimmi Simpson ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") as an imprisoned behavioral expert with a gambling problem and Malcolm Goodwin as Shea Daniels, a high-level gang-banger.
On the supposedly law-abiding side, we have the odd-couple pairing of veteran U.S. marshals Charles Duchamp (Laz Alonso) and Ray Zancanelli ("The Wire's" Domenick Lombardozzi), who are meant to be keeping a close eye on their new partners, lest they, too, escape.
Rounding out the cast: Julianne Simms (Brooke Nevin), who fills the now practically mandatory role of Girl Who Knows How to Work the Laptop.
Your tax dollars at work, folks.
Little of this stands up to close scrutiny, but there's a nice twist at the end of the pilot, and it looks as if every episode will begin with a fiendishly clever prison break by someone viewers might actually hope to see caught.
"You have to have really bad, bad guys or there's just not stakes from the beginning of the episode. At the same time, each week it can't be, you know, the Son of Sam who is breaking out of prison. It will get repetitive," Santora told reporters in January.
After four years of trying to keep Michael Scofield and his not-so-merry band on the run, Olmstead said he'd been attracted to a format that allowed for closed-ended episodes.
Plus, he and Santora "love law-breaking. So we just wanted to kind of have fun on the show and keep on working together."
Prison breaks offer something most traditional procedurals don't, he said, starting with "the momentum of storytelling that you get when you have a fugitive on the run, as opposed to a dead body where there's a little bit more time to find that person because that dead body is not going anywhere."
In "Breakout Kings," "everybody is running from something," he said.
Best reason for "Prison Break" fans to stick with "Kings" for a few weeks, at least?
Robert Knepper, who played the most terrifyingly twisted of Michael Scofield's accomplices (and who recently popped up on Showtime's "Shameless"), will reprise the role of Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell in the March 20 episode.
"T-Bag breaks out of Fox River Prison, and our guys chase him," Santora said.
Now that makes sense.
10 p.m. Sunday, A&E.