20th Century Fox Series •••½Picture/Sound •••• Extras •••½
Sure, the show's title gives it all away, but getting there is the fun (and nerve-racking) part of watching these 22 gritty episodes. The authentic prison interiors and exteriors - all done on location at the now-abandoned Joliet Correctional Center in Illinois, the former "home" of John Wayne Gacy - are shot with a suitable gray/green pallor akin to the patina on a weathered copper penny. The oft-tense and terse dialogue is duly centered, and the surround channels deliver the requisite prison noise - large-room echoes, inmate chatter, clanking bars and keys - as well as the score. (Sound reproduction is critical to one key plot point about an incriminating videotape.) Most of the ten commentaries benefit more from the presence of the series' creators than from that of the actors. Among the four featurettes, Beyond the Ink is the best, chronicling the painstaking creation of the lead character's full-torso tattoo that doubles as the blueprint for the prisoners' eventual escape. [NR] English, Dolby Digital 5.1; letterboxed (1.78:1) and anamorphic widescreen; six dual-layer discs.