Monday, August 21, 2006

Prison Break: Season 2 and the Series Premiere of Vanished

Fox gets the early jump as usual on all of the other networks with their fall T.V. schedule with the 2nd season premiere of "Prison Break" and the unveiling of their new series, 24 II...oh, I mean "Vanished." Most of the networks won't be debuting new and returning shows until early-mid September, some even go into beginning of October, but Fox is trying to beat everyone out of the gate. Next Wendsday, we get the 2nd season premiere of "Bones" and the Series premiere of "Justice."

What boggles my mind is that the UPN/WB joint network, the CW, is waiting until mid-September to start their line-up. You would think if anyone wanted a leg up, it would be the CW, but with only two new shows and the rest returning from one of the old networks, they must figure they have their fan bases intact. I don't see the CW being much of a force anytime soon, but a lot of people said the same thing about Fox until a couple of shows came along, "Married With Children" and "The Simpsons" for instance, and changed people's thinking quickly.

As for our early entries into our new television season...

Prison Break is back with a vengeance and a hell of a season premeire. First off, the introduction of the great William Fichtner to the series, as a FBI agent going after our escaped cons, is a stroke of brilliance. He fits into this show perfectly. In fact, when you first see him, you'll just think, hey, it's William Fichtner, that makes perfect sense. In Fichtner's character they've created an equal to the crafty mind of Michael Scofield, and it adds yet another level to an already engaging show. I would go as far to say that with this hour of Prison Break it has actually reached a level of realism that they couldn't maintain through all of the first season.

I actually thought with them out of prison it wouldn't be near as engaging, but if it stays as good as this first episode, then this will probably be even better than last season. Granted, I mentioned in my recent review of the first season on DVD that the ridiculousness of the show gave it part of it's charm. But I'm not going to be opposed to some more realistic action either; it can only make the show become something more than a lot of fun; it could actually make the show one of the better ones on television.

But don't worry if you enjoy pointing out bullshit and plot holes. You'll get a few here. My favorite being digging up a grave in a cemetary in the middle of the day and not getting caught. I'm just glad the show kept up the high pace it set for itself at the end of it's first season. Maybe it's easier to say that when I just watched the first season a week or so ago, but I am intrigued, and I am looking forward to some William Fichtner/Captain Bellick verbal abuse.

"Vanished," however is another animal all together. This is the first of what I count, at least, three "24" esque shows premiering this season. "Standoff" will debut on Fox as well in a couple of weeks, and NBC has "Kidnapped," which I got an early look at and reviewed a couple of weeks ago on this site.

The pilot for "Vanished" involves a Sentor's wife going missing in the middle of a big fundraiser that was being thrown in her honor. The rest of the episode introduces all of our characters, and of course leaves us with a big twist at the end where we find out this might not be the first time this lady has vanished. Creepy.

Our characters names are easy to forget, so let me just give them to you in their stereotypical classifications. We have the bigwig senator, an FBI specialist in kidnapping cases, who of course has a dark thing in his past he must overcome; he's also very witty and sarcastic and has a bad attitude toward authority, go figure. We also have a reporter (Rebecca Gayheart) who is cutthroat and ambitious, and finds ridiculous ways to get herself in with the FBI so they can be giving her the scoop each week. She also likes to sleep with her cameraman and anyone else I figure who can give her a leg up when she needs it, no pun intended.

I gave "Kidnapped" some praise when I reviewed it a couple of weeks ago, and it has a lot of these stock characters as well. However, where "Kidnapped" makes these types of characters seem fresh and inventive, "Vanished" decides to go with derivative and annoying. Take the Senator, for instance; I didn't believe for one second that this guy would hold any political power in a senior citizen's home, nevertheless in D.C.

"Vanished" instead seems to want us to be intrigued with it's big conspiracy/mystery surrounding the missing Senator's wife. And there are a lot of things thrown at us in the first episode, that I have a feeling they won't be able to answer with any kind of consistency or originality that will make it all worth it.

Still, these types of shows are hard to judge based on one episode, and I'll probably give it a few more to see where it goes. Anything is possible, but my gut tells me this is just not going to hold up to not only "Kidnapped," but we should also throw in the likes of "Desperate Housewives," "Lost," "Veronica Mars," and the grandaddy of all modern complex serial shows, "24." It's just too easy to say, but I have to say it. I think Fox's new mystery will "Vanish" before midseason.


At 8/21/2006 10:14:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Boy, the first episode of "Prison Break" season 2 kicked ass! I love William Fichtner--he's the best part of almost everything he's in, and "Invasion" definitely was one of those.

There were a lot of ridiculous things about that digging up the cemetery thing--not only the digging during the day but the fact that he had clothes for all these people he had no intention of bringing along before the plan was hatched. Also, even though I absolutely loved it, I didn't believe for a second Fichtner would have figured out the names being part of a headstone in a cemetery. But whatever; good stuff.

At 8/22/2006 12:34:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Well, I would have understood if he had clothes in there for Stomare and Charles Westmoreland (Who of course died last season) since he was planning on bring theme along in the first place. But Sucre and William I don't get, and of course everything seemed to fit perfectly, namely the shoes. But we could nitpick "Lost" and "24" to death as well, so it's o.k. to let it go. But it's definately fun to point it out.


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