My review of ALCATRAZ, the series (Episode #1)

Scott's blog

I am a fancy-pants big-wig. I am horribly important and terribly busy. My wallet is too small for my $20s and my diamond shoes are too tight. People like me get to see shows before anyone else, because the opinion of our kind moves mountains. These are the reasons I have already seen the first episode of JJ Abram’s new series ALCATRAZ.

That, or they showed the first episode to everyone on a recent flight. One of those two.
Let’s get opinion out of the way — I saw the first episode of ALCATRAZ, and I loved it. The premise is the stuff of long-form storytelling perfection. In real life, Alcatraz closed on March 21, 1963. The prisoners were transferred to other facilities, the guards moved on to new work. In the show’s context, however, all of those prisoners and guards just up and vanished. Now, 50 years later, the prisoners are coming back — exactly the same age they were when they vanished.
Coming back … to do eeee-vil!
There is a nefarious purpose behind this phenomenon, but we do not know what it is. This is another “big mystery” series, similar to the LOST formula which was unsuccessfully copied so many times in the last few years. The advantage to ALCATRAZ, however, lies in its episodic nature. Each episode will (probably) feature a prisoner coming back and doing the bidding of the Unknown Big Bad. The Bad-Ass-But-Still-Hawt-Woman-Cop Rebecca Madsen (Sara Jones from SONS OF ANARCHY) chases these bad guys down with the help of historian Diego Soto (fuck yes, it’s Jorge Garcia, who was Hurley from LOST) and Emerson Hauser, the Mysterious Benefactor From A Super-Secret Black-Ops Agency That Know More Then He Lets On (double-fuck-yes, Sam Neil from JURASSIC PARK). So Alcatraz has the promise of making each episode an enjoyable hour’s worth of watching with a logical, satisfying ending, yet stringing these episodes together into a long-form story that could last three to five full seasons.
The acting is solid, the mood is modern and cool, and the setting of Alcatraz comes complete with its own overwhelming sense of sinister. It’s a clever concept, it plays on real history, and — dangit — it just seems to work. I’m definitely in for at least five episodes based on the strength of the pilot alone.
One can only hope Abrams has learned from LOST, i.e., he already knows how ALCATRAZ will end. Ah-whaaaat? I dare to transgress on the holiest of holies known as LOST? Yes, I dare. The producers of that show told us over and over again that they had it all planned out, that the characters weren’t in purgatory, that it was “scientific” and not paranormal, and on and on and on, and yet we all know how that ending turned out.
So it is my deepest hope that Abrams has brought the house this time, that he knows the full story and how it will end if they get the ratings needed to go four or five seasons.
My review of Alcatraz? I’m in.

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  1. huntoonc

    I love this show.  I agree with the thought that if it were on FX, it would be quite a bit edgier…but love the show anyway.  I like the idea of having someone with real issues as the “expert”…he became the expert out of love and curiosity, which is something you don’t see on TV much.

  2. stricnin

    He’s not a convict but one of the top dogs pulling the strings. Please pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!!!

  3. Combat_Cook

    The question I have is when are they going to have the FDO as one of the convicts…I mean he is the FDO!!!  Scarface Capone ain’t got nothin on Sigler!!!

  4. Gmork

    I ahven’t caught up on the latest episode of ALCATRAZ but I did watch the third episode and while the pilot and second episode were good, this third episode was FANTASTIC! Particularly because the actor playing the child abuductor was so creepy and believable.  There were multiple moments where I the suspense had my heart racing.

    If every episode is like this one from here on out, I am sold on this show!

  5. stricnin

    I agree with stephen. But I’ve already made a comment on FOX and it’s
    handling of sci fi progams. Millennium is one of many. I would say that
    FOX has not stood behind any real sci fi shows sense its predecessor The
    X-Files. Can’t think of any off the top of my head that have lasted
    more then three seasons. Not counting Lost anyway.

  6. steffiebaby140

    Finally finished the premiere…very good, very intriguing, but somehow oddly familiar.  Am I the only one who felt like they’ve seen a show like this before?  Except in this instance at least one character seems to know the answers, so that’s a definite plus…if he knows then hopefully one of the writers knows too lol.

  7. Gmork

    Like avinjer, I too had the chance to watch the first two episodes and I *loved* them.  I love that I can’t tell if Sam Neil’s character is good or bad or just plain ruthless. Great cast vibe as well.

  8. avinjer

    Just got done watching both episodes and yes, I believe it is going to be a good series. Therefore the powers that be are almost guaranteed to cancel it. I’ll miss this show too. 

  9. Sgtjusticeofthe52ndsuckitdivision

    Ive been to Alcatraz also. But it was a long time ago, but for some reason my mom still complains about it smelling like bird crap. I dont know why, it wasn’t that bad and it was atleast 9 years ago.

  10. steffiebaby140

    Having been to Alcatraz and being totally enthralled with the teasers I had to record this.  I am slightly apprehensive about it being from the same people as Lost….let’s put it this way, I got fed up with Lost in season 2 and stopped watching.  However, on the eve of the 1st episode of Lost I turned to my mom and said, “Ya know, the only way they could screw this up is if everything is dead or in Purgatory of something.”  And then…….ta da, that’s exactly how it ended!!

    So I am hoping for so much better this time.  If this is another Lost fiasco then I will find JJ Abrams and throw him in the San Francisco Bay…and don’t think i can’t do it! 

  11. floridagirl99k

    Well, thanks to your suggestion I took the time to check it out.  And yes, Mr. Smartypants, it was really good.  Thanks for the heads up…good lookin’ out.

  12. Sgtjusticeofthe52ndsuckitdivision

    Also Sara Jones is hot. That is all. What more could you possibly need as a reason to watch Alcatraz. I mean seriously, cause if you need more you are a fucking moron, damn lazy bastards, can come up their own reasons to watch a fuckin awesome show with a hot girl in it, gotta make me do it for them. I hope your happy with yourselves and with all the hard work you’ve made me do. Well are you? Huh are you!?!? Yah that’s what I thought. Punk.

  13. Sgtjusticeofthe52ndsuckitdivision

    I just finished watching the first episode on it’s first television broadcast, and I fuckin loved it. This shit is going to he just as addicting as lost. If it is that addicting on it’s own, imagine how shuking amazing it will be if the FDO helped write it. Total gory, mystery, action, mindfucking awesomeness.

  14. sigler-stalker

    Wow, I just visited San Francisco and I was right there, now I HAVE to see this, it looks so fantastic 🙂 !

    And I love Sam Neil, not just because he was in Jurassic Park but because he is Australian! well New Zealand/Australian, but i don’t hold that against him
  15. stricnin

    Fox doesn’t really give sci fi shows a fear chance. I really look
    forward to this but I expect Fox will cancel it before a possible