• Network: FOX
  • Series Premiere Date: Aug 29, 2005
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 32
  2. Negative: 2 out of 32
  1. Prison Break has the dark social hierarchies of Oz and the clever inventions of Escape From Alcatraz.
  2. 80
    As with "24," the whole enterprise, however action-packed, would fall flat if viewers didn't care about the characters, and "Prison Break" doesn't disappoint.
  3. "Prison Break"... is more intriguing than most of the new network series, and it certainly is one of the most original.
  4. One of the best new TV shows this season.
  5. 80
    If the show can stay as gripping as its premiere... it will be a welcome new prime-time puzzle.
  6. Creator and writer Paul T. Scheuring offers this deal with viewers: Suspend credibility on a few key points and, in return, get a series that keeps you glued to the set for a full hour. My advice is to take the deal.
  7. Within the first 15 minutes, you realize you have jumped onto what could be one hell of a thrill ride.
  8. 75
    The acting here is first rate -- not a bad apple in the whole rotten bunch.
  9. 75
    Prison Break may not hold up as a weekly series; it's much too soon to tell. But by and large it works as a two-hour premiere special, one that grabs your attention from its first scene to its startling cliffhanger ending.
  10. 75
    Like any over-the-top, conspiracy-laced concept, "Prison Break" will only work if viewers are giddily enticed to jump aboard the Willing Suspension of Disbelief Express.
  11. 75
    Like Lost, the show seems predicated on an unsustainable premise, but Prison Break is moving along more briskly.
  12. It's outlandish and contrived with story holes wide enough for a jackknifed 18-wheeler. But the two-hour pilot of Prison Break... is irresistible.
  13. A preposterous premise...only somewhat distracts from an agreeable escapism and first-rate performances by Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell.
  14. 70
    This could be a brisk and bruising weekly fix.
  15. A lot about this series is frankly preposterous, but as pulp logic goes, Miller's bust-out plan is both ingenious and way cool.
  16. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    What Prison Break lacks in plausibility--basically, everything--it makes up for in plotting, pacing and panache.
  17. Forget the preposterousness of the plot -- it's easy enough to do -- and enjoy the suspense, of which there's plenty.
  18. A riveting, suspenseful, briskly paced drama packed with intriguing performances.
  19. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    It's one tasty piece of lunacy.
  20. 70
    The best thing about "Prison Break" is that we've never seen anything like it before.
  21. 63
    An entertaining big-narrative concept. [5 Sep 2005, p.41]
  22. 60
    Unfortunately, Prison Break's dialogue is nowhere near as sharp as its plotting.
  23. It's a comic book, basically, a B-movie, a pulp fiction, and low enough in the cultural reckoning of things to set its own rules with impunity.... Part of the pleasure of the series is that particular pleasure of watching a super-heroic character who can't fail.
  24. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Yet even with the premiere sprinkling enough tantalizing bread crumbs to warrant a return visit, there's insufficient evidence as to how the more muddled aspects will unfold over future installments.
  25. “Prison Break” could be the fall’s breakout hit, but only if other actors can bail out Miller.
  26. Complexity is one thing; making the complexity compelling is another, and "Prison Break" fails there.
  27. Preposterous ideas know no bounds on "Prison Break."
  28. 50
    For every step forward (intricate plotting, Wentworth's engaging lead performance), the show also manages to stumble back (rote subplots, incessant lame dialogue as exposition).
  29. 40
    Viewers hoping for a rousing adventure instead will find a dark, grim and often repellent tale.
  30. The premise, though bold, isn't as revolutionary as the "24" format, and the pilot is seriously lacking in thrills for an alleged thriller.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 485 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 14 out of 205
  1. A.C.
    Nov 20, 2006
    One of the best tv series ever. It has great story and very good actors. I saw first season, and only I can tell you is excellent. The second season will be on TV (in my country) in 2007. I can't wait that long!!! -_- Full Review »
  2. Jun 14, 2012
    Watching this series I laugh when scofield laughs,I cry when he cries and all I wanted was to see those brothers happy.The plans they make and the way they execute keeps you on the edge of the seat. Full Review »
  3. NithiF.
    Oct 29, 2008
    Prison break is the BEST TV SHOW THAT HAS EVER COME OUT. I really really really hope they do NOT cancel it as there are rumors that season 4 is the last one!! Whether they are doing what the title says, or looking for Scylla, it is written very well, has a lot of suspense and a great story unfolding. I think it should stay on TV for a long long long time, until Sara and Michael are grandparents! Full Review »