Wentworth Miller of 'Prison Break'
Fox’s Prison Break was a frankly plot-heavy melodrama, and a very good one of its kind, S. T. Karnick writes.

The Fox Network TV series Prison Break, now in its fourth season, had a good run, but it’s good that the series is concluding with tonight’s two-part installment beginning at 8 EDT. The series provided great enjoyment for those who appreciate a good, twisty story (a group in which I am a longstanding member).

Telling the story of Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), an engineering genius who gets himself sent to prison so that he can break out his brother, Linc (Dominic Purcell), who was wrongly convicted of murder, the program reveled in the jolly fun of putting Michael and Linc in the most harrowing of situations and allowing them to escape at the beginning of the next episode.

In that regard it was like the old movie serials of the 1930s and ’40s, and quite welcome because of it. Those who like a whacking great story were never let down, although those obsessed with realism and plausibility were not so lucky. The former, however, were the ones the show intended to reach, and it did well enough to last four years.

Of course, finding a new peril from which to rescue Pauline every week eventually becomes exceedingly difficult, and sure enough the second half of this season has been rather uninspired. In particular, the use of the big-corporation-suppressing-technological-improvements-that-threaten-profitability story element is so cliched as to be unendurable.

Nonetheless, despite these manifestations of dramatic senility, the show remained watchable throughout this final season, if only to see how the producers would resolve the story, and in the hope that justice will be found for Michael, Linc, Sara, Mahone, and of course the various villains. Kudos to Fox for allowing the producers to finish the season and resolve the show’s story lines for its loyal audience.

In addition, the values the show suggested were quite positive, including a sympathetic treatment of Christianity. For more on Prison Break, the value of popular fiction, and the values the show displayed, see the following articles:

"A Defense of Pop Fiction"

" ‘Prison Break’ Shows What’s Really Important in TV Dramas"

"Religion in ‘Prison Break’ "

S. T. Karnick