Prison Break, the thrilling, edge-of-your-seat drama that ran from 2005-09, is making a comeback. Fox heads Dana Walden and Gary Newman made the announcement at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills this week. It will return to FOX as a 10-episode event series, just as 24 did with Live Another Day back in January. Plot-wise, information is scarce. All we know for now is that Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell are reprising their roles as brothers Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows, and series creator Paul Scheuring is back at the helm.
“I would describe it as a bit of a sequel, it picks up the characters several years after we left them in the last season of the show,” said Walden. “The brothers will be back. Some of the iconic characters from that show will be back. It definitely will address some questions that were set up at the end of the series and for a new audience. It’ll start after where we left the [brothers] in the final season.”
Spoilers follow. If you recall, prison breaker Michael Scofield perished in the series finale, “Killing Your Number.” He inherited a brain tumor that caused nasty nosebleeds from his mother, and despite receiving surgery from Big Bad General Jonathan Krantz (aka Pad Man) on The Company’s dime, the series flashed forward in its concluding sequence to Michael’s grave. Now, if you’re a true Prison Break fan, who know that there’s more to the story here. In the straight-to-DVD special Prison Break: The Final Break, it is revealed that Michael’s tumor was not the cause of his premature death. He actually ends up sacrificing himself (by way of electrocution) when he’s helping his wife Sara Tancredi escape prison.
Side note: If you haven’t watched The Final Break, I highly recommend you check it out. Though “Killing Your Number” did a fine job ending the series, The Final Break (which is two episodes tacked together: “The Old Ball and Chain” and “Free”) smooths some of the rough edges out by filling in many of the blanks left unanswered in the FOX-aired finale. Plus, you get to witness Michael and his merry band of escape artists execute yet another thrilling prison break.
Side note #2: In 2007, there were whispers about a spinoff called Prison Break: Cherry Hill following a character named Molly and bringing the action to a female prison. Though that never came to fruition, producers managed to explore the concept in The Final Break as Sara finds herself in a prison that immediately gives off Litchfield vibes. In fact, Lori Petty of Orange is the New Black guest stars as an intimidating presence in the special. Looking back, it’s sort of eerie, isn’t it? Side notes, concluded.
So! How in the world is Michael Scofield back in the game for the upcoming Prison Break event series if he’s dead? Fox wouldn’t spill the plan, but the network says that Scheuring will figure a way around it.
“I don’t think [Sheuring’s] going to completely ignore what happened in [The Final Break], but what he pitched to us was a very logical and believable explanation in the world of Prison Break for why our characters are alive and still moving around the world,” said Walden. “For Paul, this is an opportunity to tell a story about these characters that he created. I would say to those fans that this is the pure vision of the creator of the show and it’s going to take a detour a little bit from where we left off, but it should feel very satisfying and eventized. I think that fans will be excited about seeing these characters back together again.”
In an interview with TVLine, star Dominic Purcell also reassures fans that all will be explained and make sense. “The thing that I have heard is completely brilliant, so people will be fine.”
In terms of who’s back for the ride outside of the brothers–there is but one that Walden mentions and he’s most definitely a fan favorite. “I’m very excited about T-Bag,” she said. Sounds like Robert Knepper will step back into the slimy shoes of Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell. This marks the second time Knepper is bringing the wickedly fun inmate back to TV outside of Prison Break‘s original run. In 2011, T-Bag appeared in an episode of A&E’s Breakout Kings, a short-lived series executive produced by Prison Break EP Nick Santora. Are you excited for more of the one-handed, conniving slime ball? Hm, Pretty?
If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a massive fan of this series. Prison Break will forever remain a seminal show for me–it was on during the days of 24 and Lost, when serialized stories ruled broadcast primetime and I was clinging onto them and discovering that this was my kind of TV. Though it wasn’t the type of show that won accolades for its vision and ensemble cast, it holds a special place in my heart for sweeping me off my feet and making me fall deep, down into the rabbit hole that is TV land. Its highly serialized nature, pulse-pounding cliffhangers and fun twists and turns hooked me from the start. It had its creative ups and downs (the season one “breakout” finale and the Sona season, respectively), but in the end it cultivated defined and well-rounded characters you cared about and I walked away from the final episode satisfied.
And now there’s more on the way and I couldn’t be more excited. At the Winter TCAs, Newman called it “the perfect event series” and I couldn’t agree more. With a limited 10-episode run, Prison Break can tell one of its classic, exhilarating stories without fluff or pause in the action. With Scheuring in the driver’s seat–who’s currently penning the premiere and plotting the series bible–I am completely confident that Michael and company will return in full form, ready to remind me where my love for TV all began.
[Via EW; Deadline; TVLine]