Pin It
Favorite

Breakout Kings 

Breakout Kings tries for the mad lunacy of Prison Break, but ends up with a saggy NCIS clone.

click to enlarge Why so sad, zany caricature?
  • Why so sad, zany caricature?

Five years ago, Prison Break mastered the Con Air formula (assign scenery-chewing character actors insane roles) for thrilling popcorn television. It took a half-dozen prison archetypes — the wrongly convicted lug, the bug-eyed schizophrenic, the loquacious redneck, the softie Latino — and crammed in as many cliffhangers and plot-twists as one season could handle.

Prison Break, unfortunately, quickly fell prey to death-byserialization. The payoff of each plot twist diminished, and its laser-sight focus on an end goal became increasingly dim.

Breakout Kings hands the team behind Prison Break a chance to show what they could do with a more episodic show. Here, the premise is both ludicrous and, unfortunately, well-worn. Two federal marshals (one played by Domenick Lombardozzi — Herc from The Wire) hire imprisoned convicts to help catch fugitives.

Their team is your usual mix of one-last-heist archetypes: a genius former psych professor who says obnoxious things (Jimmi Simpson — Liam McPoyle on It’s Always Sunny), a gang member who’s both shifty and brooding, and a con artist whose cons mostly consist of acting all sexy.

Where The Silence of the Lambs and White Collar actually established why the talents of hardened criminals were needed, Breakout Kings never bothers. That’s the least of its problems. Only Simpson is a broad enough character actor to make his role memorable, and he’s saddled with too many unfunny, needlessly racist quips. The rest of the dialogue, meanwhile, is painfully on the nose. (“Everyone’s running from something,” one marshal says.)

Breakout Kings struggles mightily with tone. It’s best as a light guilty pleasure. Murder, as odd as it sounds, is a light-hearted crime within fiction. It has long been used as the catalyst for wacky farces and cheesy detective stories. But rape is not a light-hearted crime. And neither is sexual assaulting a little girl. Here, the characters are so silly and the premise so ludicrous that the grossness of the crimes seems all the more inappropriate.

Which brings us to the show’s biggest problem: The most thrilling, most light-heartedly entertaining part — the titular breakout from prison — is over within the first five minutes of each episode, and it’s perpetuated by the guy we’re supposed to be rooting against. A criminal chase — that’s tired ground. But audiences still crave a good prison break.

Breakout Kings, A&E, Sundays, 10 pm


TIVO-WORTHY

America’s Next Great Restaurant
Everybody, deep down, has an idea for a high-concept restaurant. A sushi place with waiters dressed as porpoises! An ice cream parlor with treadmills, where patrons burn off calories as they eat! America’s Next Great Restaurant combines venture capitalist shows (Shark Tank) with competition shows (Top Chef) to give a few would-be restaurateurs a shot. The execution is clumsy; the enthusiasm is adorable. (Sundays, 8 pm, NBC)

Secret Millionaire
ABC commissioned a few millionaires to spend a few weeks playing paupers among the populace, then bestow ample funds on deserving community organizations. Their reward? The satisfaction of helping others and having millions of people across America witness their generosity on television. It’s dripping with the sentiment of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. (Sundays, 8 pm, ABC)

The Real World: Las Vegas
This people-hanging-out reality show starts its 25th season this week. That’s right. That means the show has been around since before many of its high school-age viewers have been alive. Does that make it more or less hip and relevant? (Wednesdays, 10 pm, MTV)

Tags: , ,

  • Pin It

Speaking of Tv, television

Latest in Film

  • Happily Ever After?
  • Happily Ever After?

    Tomorrowland's fantastical vision of the future may leave you wanting more — or less
    • May 20, 2015
  • Wiiging Out
  • Wiiging Out

    Kristen Wiig's performance in Welcome to Me is funny, but squeamishly so
    • May 13, 2015
  • Desert Rage
  • Desert Rage

    Mad Max: Fury Road will restore your faith in action movies
    • May 13, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Ava Luna, Cathedral pearls

Ava Luna, Cathedral pearls @ The Big Dipper

Mon., May 25, 7:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

Most Commented On

  • Band to Watch 2015: LOOMER

    How two children of the nineties embraced the decade
    • May 20, 2015
  • Desert Rage

    Mad Max: Fury Road will restore your faith in action movies
    • May 13, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation