This show is, if I put it bluntly, an over-hyped knockoff of Shawshank Redemption with a hint of Escape from Alcatraz. It started off with so much momentum, but by the end, that momentum was long gone.
Let's break it down season by season.
This season was smart. The character development was good. The story line was easy to follow; Michael Scofield committed a crime that he knew would send him to prison--the same prison that his brother was awaiting the death penalty in. The problem was that Lincoln Burrows ("the sink" a nickname that never caught on), Scofield's brother, never committed the crime he was sentenced to die for. Michael got his body tattooed with the prisons blue prints and steps to his escape plan. This season is somewhat believable and definitely bingeable.
Some notable parallels to Shawshank Redemtion:
-Michael Scofield is a genius. (like Andy)
-Michael is selected by the Warden to help him with a project that later becomes part of his escape plan.
-Michael and his prison break crew drop the access rubble from their digging in the yard.
This season was the aftermath of the prior season and the execution of the second half of Michael's plan. Season 2 was the manhunt that followed the Fox River 8's escape. Alex Mahone was the FBI agent who was always just one step behind Michael. He understood that Scofield's tats were clues into his next moves. Mahone worked for "The Company." Surprise, surprise the huge government conspiracy that was responsible for Lincoln Burrows' death penalty was none too happy about the escape or the fact that Burrows was still breathing. Mahone killed mob-boss Abruzzi, Apolskis "Tweener," Haywire, and struck a deal with C-Note. Even having taken down half of the escapees, the brothers, Sucre, and T-Bag were still at large. After this season, it all goes down hill. Scofield and the other three manage to escape and avoid seemingly unavoidable problems at every turn by unbelievable flukes.
Scofield's back in prison, but this time, in Panama, without tattoos, blueprints, or a plan. Michael is confronted with a challenge after LJ and Sarah are taken hostage; he must escape prison, again, with some Aussie named Whistler. The company has got a new line-up and Mahone, Bullock, T-Bag, and Michael are all in Sona together--the savage prison. There was a Se7en-like "WHAT'S IN THE BOX!?" moment when Linc gets a lil present from the new players in the company. Sarah dies...
April fools! The head in the box wasn't Sarah's! Duh! It was some other bitches. Don't worry, there is no explanation regarding who's head was in the box and why Linc didn't know it wasn't Sarah's. Watch her work through some bullshit PTSD from her brutal torture with the Company. Michael Scofield gets frequent nose-bleeds, so obviously we find out that his mother had a brain condition that killed her at age 31--Michael's current age. Except, we later find out that Michael's mom was alive this whole time, obviously, and is basically the frontrunner in the company. Sooo, Michael's illness isn't genetic anymore...? This season was a chore to watch. At a certain point, I only watched the beginnings to catch the episode recaps. In the end, Linc, Sarah, and Sucre are free, T-Bag is still in prison, and Michael is...dead? I've learned, with this show, if you don't see the character die, they're not really dead. Considering they're making a new season for the show, I can only assume that there is some plot twist to reinstall the protagonist.
This show, while a good binge, is not one that I would recommend. The first two seasons are the only ones worth watching.
Catch Season 5 in this upcoming spring!