Alcatraz on Fox… A Quick TV Review That Won’t Show Up 40 Years From Now

by on January 29, 2012

in Entertainment, tv reviews

I finally caught the first 3 episodes of Alcatraz on Fox. I have to say that it is interesting and written well enough to be a wee bit engaging. Even with its flaws.

Alcatraz on Fox

TV Review:

Alcatraz comes to us from Elizabeth Sarnoff (Lost, Deadwood), Steven Lilien (Kyle XY), Bryan Wynbrandt (Kyle XY) and is executive produced by J.J. Abrams.

The cast includes Sarah Jones (Sons of Anarchy), Jorge Garcia (Lost), Jonny Coyne, Parminder Nagra (ER) & Sam Neill.

The premise of Alcatraz is that back on March 20th, 1963, everyone on the island disappeared. Now, here in 2012, the folks who disappeared seem to be returning. And that’s not good.

The interesting thing is that there’s an organization that has already been set up and expecting the inmates to be returning. Their advanced office of equipment is set up under the prison and is run by Emerson Hauser (Neill). Lucy Banerjee (Nagra) is his partner and Jones plays detective Madsen who gets herself recruited to their team. She tags a comic book writer to help her, who also happens to be an expert on Alcatraz history (Garcia).

So each case of the week has them hunting down the newest perp who has reappeared and doing what they do best, is evil stuff. We watch the perp do his deed here in the present, but we also get flashbacks to their lives back in the 60’s. It’s some filler, background material giving us their motivation, if there’s motivation to be understood.

PhotobucketHere’s the gang at Comic-Con 2011, meeting, greeting and signing things fans brought by…

And once they do catch their man, Hauser transports them to a new version of Alcatraz, somewhere off in the woods. This is where they’re putting all the inmates they reclaim.

Of course there’s an added measure of mystery to the entire thing… well, beyond the initial mystery of them disappearing and coming back. It seems that something was going on in the past that seems to lend itself to the event and on a few occassions, the prisoners who came back seemed to have a task to accomplish.

The first hour of the series, a man is found on the prison island tour, looking like he’s sleeping it off in a cell. He’s not… though I have to admit, he adapted very quickly to waking up in his cell, surrounded by modern day 2012. (How’d he get a ferry ticket? Did he steal that coat? I didn’t catch that.)

He heads off, as if he has someplace to be. Which in fact, he did.

For what it’s worth, I think I caught an oops… right before the show logo popped up for the first ad, though he was supposedly facing the prison island, they had the wrong bridge in the background. We should have seen the Bay Bridge, not Golden Gate.


Sam Neill in Alcatraz

Alcatraz is interesting to follow with multiple layers of mystery… It’s a cross of Cold Case meets Lost (Sorry, but it has that vibe for me) with a little bit of X-Files / Fringe in there. (You know what I mean if you were a fan of Cold Case. That was a great little series that was executed rather well.) But I like Neill in this role, he seems to fit into it nicely.

So who or how did they get pulled out of ’63? Who’s sending them back now and why? And in one teasing scene, how is it that Lucy could be in both time lines?

Yea… the curious and mysterious has been thrown at the viewer pretty fast and sometimes, things are taken for granted, like how the bad guys show up and seem to settle so easily into present day life and little things like that.

So, like Lost, we’re almost drawn in, hoping to learn about the gaps in logic or having our questions answered about the mysteries served on their cold dishes of curiosity. And since the massive, continual world of fictional teasers worked so well for Lost, I have a feeling that Alcatraz may very well be another time twisty hit on Fox. At least that’s what the TV ratings suggest for the first two airings.

(If you want to see something sad & funny, check out piece on the Alcatraz Island Tour… )

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