Breakout Kings - 101 - Pilot
My time is becoming increasingly pressured this year so I don't have a huge amount of time to spend on Breakout Kings. But as I was a Prison Break fan and this show is from some of the same team I feel the need to say a few things.
To be fair I have only seen the pilot episode and so the show may change a little as it goes along (including recasting Philly which on this evidence might be a shame). But from what other TV critics are saying and the way the pilot came across this looks very much like a procedural cop drama dressed up as something else.
All I want from my TV shows is a little character development, the possibility of change and clear motivations for characters. I don't need things to be more complicated than that. Breakout Kings looks like a fun caper show, a bit like Prison Break's final season turned out to be. However you need characters to care about and I'm not sure any of those on display will turn into that.
The standout was Lloyd Lowery the child-prodigy psychologist with a gambling addiction. He also seems to be a bit racist, useless around women, tied to his mother's apron and capable of being a good guy. It's that last part that kind of ruins it. Lowery has a lot of fun with the role, supplying plenty of humour and whipping out the old dead-on psychological analysis along the way. But by episodes end he has already displayed the "heart of gold" which will doubtless drive his character to discover how much more fun it is to be nice to people than to think only of himself. If that development had been saved for say episode fifteen rather than a rushed pilot I would be more intrigued.
Similarly the entrepreneur Shea and Ray the cop are both have families they are doing this work to support which is a cliché any Prison Break viewer will be very familiar with. Marshall Charlie showed fairly little personality throughout as the gang pursued the entirely colourless villain.
So my initial impression is that the Prison Break team are a bit like the 24 team. They only understand one form of motivation for characters (family) and they are sticking to it. I will continue watching on the off chance that it turns into a fun episodic show which is certainly possible. However if you don't hear from me again on the subject then you know I don't think the show is good enough to write about.
For those who were wondering that is the reason I haven't written any more about Mad Love, Traffic Light, Perfect Couples or Mr Sunshine. Seriously Matthew Perry? What are you thinking?