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TV Review: BREAKOUT KINGS - Pilot 1.1

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Breakout Kings is a show that’s a little late getting to the UK audience, it premiered in the US on the A&E Network back in March 2011. Eventually it’s rolled its way over the Atlantic and landed on obscure digital channel Universal HD, the same channel which seems to be buying up a lot of old and new US processed junk TV right now. I didn’t actually know Breakout Kings was premiering and only set it to record by chance as I’d flicked for the first time ever (I think) onto Universal HD to check out Enrico Colantoni’s (Elias from Person of Interest) performance in a slightly more successful show called Flashpoint.

Breakout Kings was quite a highly anticipated show, mostly due to the fact that the writers/creators are Nick Santora and Matt Olmstead, these are the guys who brought us the hugely successful Prison Break for four seasons. Not only that, the show came with a bit of a star casting including The Wire’s Domenick Lombardozzi and Avatar’s Laz Alonso.

The show is based mainly on the two characters above, both of whom work for different sectors of the police, they don’t particularly care for each other but are offered the opportunity to set up a task force which chases escaped convicts. Not wanting to do it alone, they come up with a slogan of “It takes a con to catch a con” and recruit some
prisoners from various prisons around the US in order to help them catch escaped convicts, in return the prisoners are offered a reduced sentence of a month for every escapee they help apprehend, and this time will be served in a minimum security prison.

It’s a slightly different twist on the standard procedural crime police drama, and one which I didn’t think would work to bad. The Pilot was ok, nothing great but it served it’s purpose of introducing us to all the characters, at least on the surface and it delved pretty quickly into the action, I suppose you could liken it to Alcatraz, just without the budget. The released cons consist of a genius gambler (Jimmi Simpson as Lloyd Lowery), a con woman (Nicole Steinwedell as Philly, Pilot only), an ex gang leader (Malcolm Goodwin as Shea Daniles) and briefly a bare knuckle fighter who you don’t really need to know about.

Breakout Kings is set up like Person of Interest and Alcatraz in that there is a different story or prisoner every week, that guarantees you one thing, you will get thorough the story pretty quick but from the Pilot it looks like it will get very boring, basically like Alcatraz someone will escape every week this team will hunt them down and return them
to prison, simple. I think you could basically describe this as popcorn TV, no need to watch intensely and no need to worry if you miss a couple of episodes as it won’t be to hard to catch up.

I don’t think it helps that we are introduced to five leading characters in the Pilot, meaning we only really get to know them on the surface with only really one exception in Lloyd Lowery the gambler who seems to do quite a lot of talking, which for me came across quite hammy. That would go for Lombardozzi to, I can’t say that I was all that impressed, especially given the calibre of TV show he was in before this. Laz Alonso as the boss fared a little better for me, but all in all I think it might be ex gang leader Shea Daniels who turns out to be the star of this show, other than the two cops he is the only one who strikes me as street wise and tough enough to deal with murderous escaped cons.

I will be back for more next week, hoping that maybe we will start to see characters develop beyond face value, I enjoyed it but I’m not so sure that I can come back week on week and review it unless there is something particularly good or bad that I feel should be mentioned. What are your thoughts’s on Breakout Kings? Did you catch this in time
with the US? Or like me have you tuned into Universal HD earlier this week hoping to catch a show which resembled Prison Break?


*A ten part second season to Breakout Kings has just started airing in the US last month*.
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