Alcatraz Premiere: “Pilot” and “Ernest Cobb”

FOX has a new series on their network, a supernatural-cop drama called “Alcatraz” starring Sarah Jones, Sam Neill, and Jorge Garcia. With JJ Abrams’ name being flashed around the commercials, I’m sure FOX is trying to bank on his recent success from Lost. The idea is helped out by a Lost alum, Garcia, playing a major role in Alcatraz. So what’s the deal with this show?

The premise is that Alcatraz closed in 1963. The prisoners were supposed to be transferred out of the island, but that never happened. The mystery is, what did? Now, it seems that the disappeared inmates are appearing in present day with a mission. We have Rebecca (Jones), the ambitious detective teaming up with the knowledgeable Alactraz historian Doc (Garcia), working with Emerson Hauser (Neill) to track down each and every Alcatraz prisoner before its too late.

Spoilers below

Alcatraz seems like it’s going to be a very formulaic show, with each episode titled after the inmate they’re trying to track down and eventually lock up in the new Alcatraz prison. There is certainly a good amount of mystery surrounding the story-line to keep its audience coming back week-after-week, but is it engaging enough simply as a cop-drama?

Not for me, or at least thus far. The first two episodes were heavy on plot and the quick-moving investigation to capture the prisoners they were after, but I’m not focused enough on the main characters. I want to know more about Detective Rebecca Madsen. Linking her directly to one of the Alcatraz inmates (her grandfather!) is definitely a great plot-line, but I need more to root for her. I need to know more about her surrogate uncle and the show has to let us in on the secret of who Emerson Hauser is and what’s his deal.

Both episodes ended with a nice “whoa” moment, displaying how Hauser and his assistant Lucy Banerjee both have past lives from the 1960’s Alcatraz timeline, but my curiosity is stronger than my intrigue. Am I really prepared to invest a great deal of time to another supernatural show with multiple story-lines and dozens of questions that will slowly be answered? I think we all had enough of that from Lost, which is why I’ve been keeping myself busy with forward-moving dramas like Game of Thrones and Homeland. But I’m definitely willing to keep watching Alcatraz for now.

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