Crossing Streams: Breakout Kings

So we at Screensnark are implementing a new article format.  It is called Crossing Streams and the idea goes like this;  A randomizer is used to determine which two people will participate in this week’s edition.  In case you weren’t aware, that’s how we determine the authors of every week’s Some Like it Watched and Switch Hitter. Then I have a numbered list that has every single Netflix show, I use a randomizer and land on a show.  After that the randomizer is used to determine which season and episode each writer will analyze.  If you couldn’t tell by now, a lot of assignments at Screensnark are ruled by chaos.  Randomness and chaos.  Our Editor in chief Joel has an unusual obsession with randomness that he should probably be on pills for.  In this case however I believe it works well to our advantage, as this article should be fun for the writers and readers alike.  We’ll still only do two weekly articles between Crossing Streams, Some Like it Watched and Switch Hitters.  We’ll also use the randomizer to figure out which two articles will be done for the week because fuck it, life is random and Screensark adheres to this code.

For our inaugural Crossing Streams article the show that was landed on is…..Breakout Kings.  A quick google search tells me that this show was an A&E original drama series that revolved around U.S Marshals tracking down escaped convicts and employing the help of currently imprisoned convicts in return for a reduction on their sentence.  I won’t actually be writing about the show, I’m more of the overlord of the process.  I’m Dr. Faulkner trying to keep Squirrel and Stubs within the bounds of the dome.  The two subjects this week will be Rob who will write about episode 4 of season 1, and Shelly who will be writing about episode 5 of season 2. A fun premise and the show sounds like a fun enough premise, if a little unbelievable.  I don’t recognize anybody in the cast except Jimmi Simpson who’s a McPoyle on Always Sunny in Philidelphia.  It says here that he plays a convicted pedophile.  Damn McPoyles.  Anyways, here’s Crossing Streams ladies and gentlemen.


Rob – For the premiere assignment of “Crossing Streams” I drew episode 4 of season 1 of the show “Breakout Kings”. I couldn’t tell you what channel this show airs on if you held a gun to my head; my guess would be TNT? (note: it is on A&E) I wanted to see this show without any biases, so I did not look up any show descriptions or episode synopses until after I watched the episode. I decided to write my review as a stream-of-consciousness.

- The episode begins with a camera crew filming a documentary at a prison. They point to a cordoned-off section of inmates and make a point to let the viewer know that those prisoners are BAD NEWS BEARS. Cut to a scene with one of those inmates fashioning some sort of escape device. Is this guy one of the breakout kings? The guy bent a wire hanger and put a pencil eraser on the end of it and painted it black with a pen.

- The next scene, this guy takes his wire hanger and puts it over his ear. OHHHH, he made a makeshift earpiece and somehow manages to steal a uniform and escapes from the prison in the guise of a camera crew member. Genius! This must be the worst guarded prison in the US.

- Cut to a female in a prison waiting for a visitation that never comes. This is Serinda Swan, according to IMDB. Wow, she is purdy. She looks like a mix between a young Elizabeth Hurley and Debi Mazar. She steals every scene she’s in.

- Cut to a scene with the main cast. Ok, apparently THEY’RE the breakout kings. So what is the point of this show? It seems that these characters are a group of inmates who help out the US Marshals office when it comes to people breaking out of jail. I guess these people are experts at breaking out of prison?

- Jimmi Simpson gets the “…and Jimmi Simpson” credit in the opening credits and he deserves it. He knows exactly the kind of crappy procedural he has signed up for and he takes it to the limit.

- We find out that the guy who escaped from prison is a convicted pedophile. I call bullshit immediately as the guy is way too normal-looking and handsome to be a pedo. /Rob-logic

- The team heads to the school that this guy used to work for as a counselor and lo-and-behold, they find him there as he tries to make contact with one of his victims. What are the chances? He manages to constantly evade the crack team of breakout kings up to the prescribed amount of time per the procedural formula.

- Jimmi Simpson’s character was a psychologist. I would like to know what crime he committed. I will have to google this. But he’s a darn good psychologist, so good that he figured out that this escaped convict does not exhibit the classic signs of a convicted pedophile!

- Cut to a side-story involving the team leader, a US Marshal that just can’t take a vacation because he’s tied to his job. I wonder if he’ll be divorced by the end of the season.

- What do you know, Jimmi Simpson was right. He and an agoraphobic member of the team re-interview the victim that the pedo tried to get in contact with. Turns out she was actually molested by her own father but ended up pinning it on the school counselor. How she managed to divulge this secret to Jimmi Simpson, I have no idea, dude looks creepier than most TV pedophiles.

All in all, I ended up enjoying this show by the end of the episode. It is a classic procedural-type show. This episode felt like a Law & Order: SVU storyline. The premise has a twist with the criminals-catching-criminals angle and feels forced and mostly unrealistic. Perhaps it gets better in season 2? As I don’t watch procedurals, I don’t see myself watching any more of these episodes, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who likes these types of shows. The cast is pretty solid and the storylines are catnip if you like criminal mysteries.


Shelly – Our new feature here at screen Snark is called “Crossing Streams” which was for me, very much like solving a mystery in and of itself. usually SLIW and Switch Hitter assignments I’ve seen a clip of the show in question here or there. Not so with the first Crossing Streams. Breakout Kings was all new to me, I think I saw a commercial on A & E? I’m not even sure what network it was originally on. But it has now found its home on Netflix which I love. Netflix for TV watching folks, is where its at. You can watch at 3 am if you can’t sleep, in your jammies, when you’re sick, wherever you want. And you can binge watch and its safer than binge eater (trust me).

I was given Breakout Kings season 2, episode five; Self Help. The mystery unfolds at the beginning in a “minimum security” prison which reminds me of Orange is the new Black (please season 2 premiere soon!!) We see an inmate get into a scuffle with another inmate but its just a grand ruse for his real purpose. There is a planned false anthrax attack on the prison, and the original inmate has a racial suit delivered and he changes into it in a side utility room. (seems unbelievable but I’m not a stickler for reality in most shows anymore).

Flash to Brooklyn (Brrrrrrroklyn– I can’t say Brooklyn without screaming Brooooooooklyn in my “authentic” Brooklyn accent) We see a team of sorts and I assume these guys and two girls are indeed “The Breakout Kings”. They evidently get tips from all over the country when prisoners breakout and again I’m assuming here, they have skill sets that help figure out how the prisoner broke out and how to retrieve them. I’m not real clear on why the cops aren’t used or FBI or a plethora of of other agencies, but again I’m going with it.

I recognize two from the team but really only one. I thought Brooke Nevin was AJ Langer.. Rayanne Graff from “My So Called Life” , no such luck, although she’s due for a comeback any day. And then there is Jimmi Simpson. You know him, you’ve seen him in a million things, he looks like young less drunk and bloaty James Spader. I first saw him in the Emmy Deserving (lol) mini Series Rose Red. (Side note I don’t really care how bad a Stephen King television movie is, it deserves an Emmy, its Stephen King).

Turns out the prisoner is some huge self Help guru Ronnie Marcum (he’s not Tony Robbins) and likes to brainwash people along the way. He’s a really bad dude and turns to murder during his breakout. Again with some believability  issues, but I accept because most shows are written like this now. I will say the acting is pretty solid and Jimmi Simpson is pretty strong if not teetering on overacting. The writing doesn’t bother me, hell its not a bad show. There are a few things at the end of the episode which make it clear it would be helpful to watch the show in its entirety. I’m confused and lost but that’s the point of Crossing Streams, i can fill in the spaces like mad libs.

Then the show gets wacky because after murdering a few people and kidnapping Ronnie breaks back into jail…. Apparently Ronnie is one step ahead of me and planned this all. No fingerprints anywhere on his excursions and he was furiously looking for “something” which turns out to be a tape of him confessing killing a kid when he was 17. Maybe I didn’t watch close enough but I’m a little confused (as per usual). The Breakout Kings themselves are ex cons trying to shave off time from their sentences. I’m getting it now, its been a slow hour but I’m getting it.

I may have to go back to the beginning and watch this, I’m intrigued but truly don’t have any more love on my TV plate. Maybe I can save Breakout Kings for a rainy Netflix day, which is what Netflix and this show are perfect for.


So there it is, not hated but not loved.  A decent show that you might want to check out if you’re bored one day and can’t seem to find anything else on Netflix.  Until next time, be excellent to each other, and party on dudes. – Cameron