Prison Break finally gets Fox’s backing

Fox has finally cottoned on to the fact that Prison Break has been its sleeper hit of 2005. Wisely, it’s chosen to bring the show back in March.

Fox has a history of not spotting sleeper hits. Tru Calling and Firefly were both cancelled before their time and The X-Files nearly bit the dust at the end of the first season. Of course, it also has a history of preserving shows beyond their natural lifespans: witness Married With Children, The Simpsons, Millennium, Melrose Place, The X-Files and a whole heap of other shows that should have been cancelled years before they eventually bit the dust (of course, The Simpsons is still going and it’s on season 15). That might well include 24, given season three and four’s ever-increasing stupidity and offensiveness and the probability that season five is going to go even further into the realms of science-fiction and Republican make-believe.

With the hefty promotion House is getting and the reverse of fortunes of Prison Break, there’s the possibility that Fox is finally learning some quality control. Let us nurture it and enable it to grow.

Incidentally, UK readers, Prison Break will be on Five from January.

Fox now has a battle of the preposterous on its hands

Prison Break turned out to be better than expected, much to Fox’s surprise. Yet, with the juggernaut that is 24 returning in January, it looks like Prison Break is going to be pre-empted from November to May. Quite a wait, one that could get the show cancelled.

Fox isn’t exactly packed with quality programming. While Prison Break isn’t Shakespeare, it does have some nice touches. Joining the honourable ranks of Monk and Touching Evil in pointing out the flipside of mental illness, Prison Break‘s hero turns out to have both low self-esteem and “low latent inhibition” – a disorder that makes him see objects as the sums of their parts, rather than just objects. It’s a handy, escape-plan compatible condition that works well in conjunction with another that lets you get sent to prison so you can rescue your brother. Yes, the mentally ill can be heros and their disorders can be advantages.

So Fox is clearly a little loopy to think that 24 is just so great that everything else should be cleared to make room for it. At the very least, moving Prison Break to one of the prime-time slots used by the deadwood that fills most days except Monday wouldn’t be a bad idea, particularly since it is doing well in the ratings despite baseball, etc.

Screening screeners: Prison Break, Supernatural, Global Frequency

Well, I’ve done my best to track down the new shows set to arrive on US screens this Fall (and UK screens some time in the year 2011, at current network velocities). And now I’ve watched them so you don’t have to. Here’s the ones I’ve tracked down so far:
Prison Break: Man gets himself arrested so he can help break out his death-row-incarcerated brother (the ever-excellent Dominic Purcell from John Doe). Like West Wing, the message is the Ivy League-educated will triumph over the plebs. Kind of interested to see how it goes and why the hero hasn’t been stabbed with a shank yet/turned into someone’s bitch. Fox should run it as a double bill with episodes of Oz.
Global Frequency: Not-very-secret global alliance of mobile phone-using experts unite at short notice to save the world. Always nice to see Michelle Forbes in anything, really, and while it starts reasonably badly, it has the potential to be, ironically enough, the 21st Century’s answer to Century 21’s Thunderbirds.
Supernatural: Two brothers hunt after supernatural things, looking for the ghost that killed their mum when they were younger. Ooh, an actual horror show. Not brilliant, with some hurried plot explanation and crumby dialogue, but it’s nice to have a show where the supernatural is just full of evil things trying to kill us all. I think it could be a credible alternative to LivingTV’s 6ixth Sense with Colin Fry.