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Is ''Prison Break'' good or bad?

EW’s critics debate the merits of the Fox drama

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Is ”Prison Break” good or bad?

LOVE IT Rare is the TV show that’s willing to blow a main character to smithereens, but that’s what makes Prison Break so mesmerizing in its second season. The producers are on a goretastic killing spree (four bodies over seven episodes), and in the process have rectified the slooooooow end to last season: The characters are more unhinged, the U.S.’s 3,718,777 square miles make for a less claustrophobic setting than a prison, and the plot is no longer headed to an inevitable conclusion (they break out!). Plus, our anti-Heroes are finally being pursued by a compelling opponent — Alex Mahone (the terrific William Fichtner), a pill-popping investigator in need of major anger-management classes. And anyone who thinks that Wentworth Miller’s cool monotone isn’t good acting only needs to YouTube his previous work as a fey, malevolent cheerleader on Popular. — Henry Goldblatt

LOATHE IT Forget how wildly inaccurate the title seems now. This once-intriguing drama has devolved into a mediocre series about a bunch of formerly empathic convicts who now routinely and dispassionately break the law. What made the series so watchable was the conspiracy behind Lincoln’s wrongful incarceration and the crack team of investigators who tried to expose it. Now that mystery has been inexplicably abandoned — due in no small part to the shark-jumping deaths of all who were involved — leaving us with a cheap treasure hunt and soap opera (speaking of which, she ain’t worth it, Sucre). The only real tie to last season’s intrigue is that slimeball Kellerman, and even his wings have been clipped by an evil superior. While I was eager to see our boys break out of the big house, now I just wish they’d go back in so I can throw away the key. — Lynette Rice