During its initial four-season run on FOX from 2005-09, Prison Break amassed a loyal fan following that was devoted to seeing the series’ main characters, Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) and Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), as they worked to prove Lincoln’s innocence and expose the conspiracy that got him sent to death row in the first place. Though the series ended its run after 81 episodes, fan interest has apparently never waned and, in fact, FOX partly credited the series’ longevity on streaming platforms like Netflix for its upcoming revival as a limited event series, much like The X-Files‘ recent six-episode stint on the same network.
When you think about it, Prison Break is actually tailor-made for an event series. FOX reportedly initially passed on the show over concerns regarding its long-term prospects as an ongoing television show. After all, when you have a program titled Prison Break, it stands to reason that the plot is pretty much to break out of prison. So what happens when your characters inevitably make their way out their unlawful incarceration? That question may have ultimately played a part in the series concluding in ’09.
But all of those issues stand to be resolved with the upcoming revival/season 5/event series. As you can see in the above trailer, it’s now Lincoln’s turn to break his brother out of prison, and he has just nine episodes to do it. This presents and interesting challenge for the series as it leaves the story with fewer than half the number of episodes a typical season of Prison Break had. But at the same time, it promises to (hopefully) follow that story all the way through from beginning to end.
The prospect of there being a (presumably) finite story waiting to unfold makes this revival a little different than the others it is following. Whereas the likes of Fuller House and the aforementioned X-Files position themselves as continuations or sequels ready to continue on in perpetuity if need be (and the TV gods are kind), the Prison Break revival comes as a very tempting single serving, a show to consume and then move on to the next thing – which is very much in keeping with the where the television landscape seems to be headed. That’s not to say if this event is a hit FOX won’t somehow figure out a way for Michael and Lincoln to escape from yet another prison down the road, but for now it seems the series is in a position to elevate its storytelling by moving from point A to point B in nine episodes.
With the core cast of Purcell, Miller and Sarah Wayne Callies, along with Rockmond Dunbar and Robert Knepper as Theodore ‘T-Bag’ Bagwell set to return, Prison Break stands a good chance of being another hit for the network, and another sign that more series from TV’s past stand a good chance of being revived in the near future.
Prison Break will air on Thursdays @9pm starting sometime in the spring of 2017 on FOX.