There were times this season when I watched Prison Break and could actually feel the brain cells dribbling out of my left ear. It’s odd that a TV show with such an elaborate, intricate story to tell would have such little faith in its viewers that it felt compelled to accompany every potential plot point with an oh-so-helpful flashback or a dramatic camera push. Does an audience that can keep up with 24′s rapid pace, Lost’s multimedia mythologies, and Veronica Mars’s knotted mysteries really need to have Michael explain each week’s piece of the puzzle as if he’s Mister Wizard?

Even if the producers underestimate their audience’s mental capacity, and even if they made the nigh-unforgivable choice to toss a Shadowy Supragovernmental Cabal (The X-Files much?) into the mix, Prison Break remains one of the most watchable shows on the air. More than most shows, it understands that when it comes to plot, quantity beats quality every time (high production values don’t hurt, either). Even though every episode ends with the team only inches closer to escape, so much stuff happens in the intervening time that you can’t help but be swept up in its wake, with no time to contemplate the show’s many plot holes. It helps that the show is willing to do just about anything for a plot twist, cutting off limbs and killing off characters with reckless abandon. It’s almost like watching a reality show: Who will advance to the next round, and who will get a shiv to the gut?

Besides, if soapy twists and thick plots aren’t enough, there are always other attractions, like Wentworth Miller’s tattooed torso and Sarah Wayne Callies’s glowing skin. Plot is important, but prettiness never hurt a show either.