BREAKOUT KINGS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
The producers of the FOX series “Prison Break” get involved with convicts again in the production of the cable series “Breakout Kings.” The premise features U.S. Marshals who enlist the help of convicts to track down and arrest other convicts who break out of prison. In exchange for their help, they get some time shaved off their own sentences for every criminal they bring back.
Like “Prison Break,” “Breakout Kings” mixes a certain degree of comic relief with its harder core subject manner. The levity increases as the series goes on, especially once the actors become comfortable with each other. Unlike “Prison Break,” this series hasn’t gone off the rails yet, but it’s still early in its run.
“Breakout Kings” follows a standard procedural formula, also delivering some season-long arcs, but for the most part the focus is on bringing criminals in. The cast of characters are relatively well-rounded, and none of the convicts get too much attention. The series hasn’t yet tried to give developmental plots to them, which is nice because that can often ruin the archetypal chemistry the cast has.
The downside, at least for my tastes, is the push to be overly badass in the show. The convicts aren’t the problem, which is a bit of a surprise. Instead, the U.S. Marshals featured in the show (in particular Laz Alonso as the lead Marshal and Domenick Lombardozzi as his disgraced partner) spend much of their time puffing out their chests and yelling at other characters. If it weren’t for the humor delivered by Jimmi Simpson’s character (and by his central placement on the DVD cover box, it’s clear he’s the focal star of the show), it’d be too much to take.
Still, the first season of “Breakout Kings” gives a relatively breezy and fun twist on the detective genre, and its presentation makes it ideal to show the slickness that can be achieved in basic cable programming.
Bonus features on this DVD set include audio commentaries on select episodes and a slate of deleted scenes from the season. Three featurettes are also included: “Good Cons, Bad Cons” looks at the inspiration and development of the show, “Bullpen Sessions” tours the bullpen set on the show and “T Bag: Dealt a Bad Hand” looks at the high-profile episode featuring the return of T-Bag from “Prison Break.”