Sam Neill in ALCATRAZ - Season 1 - "Pilot" | ©2012 Fox/James Dittiger

Sam Neill in ALCATRAZ - Season 1 - "Pilot" | ©2012 Fox/James Dittiger

Cast: Sarah Jones, Jorge Garcia, Sam Neill, Parminder Nagra
Writers: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Jack Bender
Directors: Danny Cannon, Steven Lilen, Bryan Wynbrandt
Network: Fox, Airs Mondays at 9 p.m.
Original Telecast: January 16, 2012

Whenever I see something about Alcatraz, I can’t help but think of THE ROCK. Just because it was sooo Michael Bay at his explosive finest and sooo over-the-top Sean Connery (and his quotes about doing the prom queen and generous use of expletives) that it makes for a great watch – not to mention batsh** crazy Nicolas Cage.

So throughout the two hour season premiere for ALCATRAZ I kept hoping that Connery would pop up at some point and quote some dead historian or curse out Alex Trebek or something. Sadly, it never happened.

ALCATRAZ is a bit like what happened when THE AVENGERS in comics became the THE NEW AVENGERS. A whole of host bad guys break out of a maximum security prison and the superhero group is tasked with tracking them all down one-by-one in order to protect the world. Of course, someone had to break them out or give them the means to do so and they did it for a reason … that being the main mythology to the overall storyline.

This show is nearly a carbon copy of that but with prisoners. When ALCATRAZ was getting set for closure, the inmates were to be rounded up and shipped to different prisons. That didn’t happen. Instead, they mysterious disappeared and are now re-appearing in the current timeline to carry out some sort of devilish deed for an even more mysterious “they.”

In the “Pilot” episode it sets the stage of what I described above with the first inmate re-appearing in modern time not having aged a day. Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) and Alcatraz historian Diego Soto (LOST’s Jorge Garcia) get wrapped up in a secret organization helmed by former Alcatraz guard that was on duty the day the inmates disappeared in Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill), who has set up shop in Alcatraz in order to hunt down the returning inmates in order to lock them up once again in his New (and improved) Alcatraz.

Much of what we get in the “Pilot” is unknown mostly because as a supernatural series giving away all the goodies at the beginning would ruin any future watching and make no one want to tune in for the payoff. And it definitely has the feel of LOST – where there are more questions than answers – not surprisingly given that Elizabeth Sarnoff is one of the creators and lead writers and produced 90 episodes of LOST and wrote nearly 20 episodes. Hell, they even brought in famed LOST director Jack Bender for the second episode “Earnest Cobb.”

There is also ample amounts of flashbacks – again very LOST-like – that actually really help tell the story in the first two episodes. I liked this as it not only harkened back to LOST but it also was a good way of explaining a bit more of the motivations of the inmates and why they may doing what they are doing.

Obviously, we don’t know how or why all the inmates from the 1960s disappeared or why they are re-appearing some 50 years later and killing people that this mysterious “they” have told them to kill. Or why Hauser has stuck around “a very, very long time” waiting for this whole chain of events to begin. But again, that’s at the heart of the mythology they are building and it is fine for now given this is just the start of the series.

One thing is for sure. They aren’t pulling any punches in the collateral damage as shown in “Earnest Cobb” – a sniper that was imprisoned in Alcatraz and one of the disappearing inmates now returned and taking out a host of random people in a series of sniper shootings. Brings a bit of realism to the show that supposedly is dealing with the worst of the worst coming back to the modern world to do damage.

Of course, the real question we get from “Earnest Cobb” comes at the end – SPOILERS! Stop reading if you haven’t watched – when we see that Lucy (Parminder Nagra) who has been the main assistant to Hauser in the first two episodes in helping to find out why this is happening is also someone that was in Alcatraz in the 1960s as a psychologist. So a non-inmate that was in Alcatraz also has re-appeared in the current time having not aged a day as well.

Now, this just gives more credence to the idea that Hauser knows a lot more than he is telling – although it certainly appears he does not know who is behind the disappearances and re-appearances. But he isn’t as clueless as Madsen he is giving off, much to what Madsen already believes.

Overall, the opening two episodes of ALCATRAZ were highly enjoyable. It is not your typical cop show nor is it an A-typical supernatural show where there are monsters and creatures coming out of the woodwork and some crack team tracking them down or whatever. Obviously, we’ll have the inmate of the week happening for some time in the coming episodes but as long as they continue to play up the overall mythology of the show it should be a fun ride.

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Click on Link: TV Review – ALCATRAZ – Season 1 – “Kit Nelson”

Article Source: Assignment X 
Article: TV Review – ALCATRAZ – Season 1 – “Pilot”/”Earnest Cobb” – Season Premiere

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Comments:

  1. I wanted to love the show, but it failed to hold my interest. It fails as a procedural — it takes all of 15 seconds for Madsen to figure out why Cobb is shooting people; the part about her helping her detective dad solve crimes when she was just a kid (he gave her his case files and she’d read them before she went to bed, and she solved a few cases for him that way) was laughable. (SF cops may be bad, but they’re not THAT bad that a 10-yr-old could solve their cases – and what cop would hand his kid the case files?)

    And it fails as sci-fi. When Lucy shows up in 1963, I bid the series adieu. It would have been unthinkable for an Indian woman to work for the prison system in 1963, especially with a 2012 hairdo. And Sam Neill is about ten years too young for his role.

    Ultimately, it lacked the smart writing and plot twists that make me yearn for every Thursday night so that I can watch Person of Interest. I’ll be turning the TV off at the end of House every Monday night.

    Skeezix
  2. How old is Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill) now? Best guess is 64. If he was a “young” Alcatraz guard in early 1963 (49 years ago), that would make him 15 years old at that time? Is that credible? More likely, he was 20 in 1963, which would make hime 69 years old now? And Lucy is even more of a mystery. She is Indian but speaks with a British accent. Hasn’t aged a day in 49 years!

    Alan
    • In a recent Alcatraz episode, the young Hauser appears as a prison guard in 1960. Assuming he was at least 21 yrs old then, he’d be 73 years old today!

      Alan
  3. Pingback: TV Review: ALCATRAZ – Season 1 – “Pilot”/“Earnest Cobb” – Series Premiere – Assignment X | Sean Connery

  4. The more I think about last Monday’s 2 hr pilot, the more holes & inconsistancies I find.
    For example, a new underground “new Alcatraz” prison staffed by two guards, but no prisoners until Jack Sylvane shows up there. Why is Jack now a ruthless & merciless killer, when his previous crime was to rob food from a store that sold US Postage stamps? And how could records indicate he died in 1978 if he disappeared with no trace in 1963? Could go on and on but will stop here.,

    The show seems to be incongruous, inconsistent and illogical!

    Alan
  5. Pingback: Alcatraz: Is the FOX TV Series Worth Watching? – TV Series Finale » Soft Black Bag

  6. Pingback: TV Review: ALCATRAZ – Season 1 – “Johnny McKee” | Find Video Links

  7. I think I only read the name, but didn’t read about the concept (or watch the trlaeir for that matter!)I’m really going to check this out. I wonder if Garcia is going to make a silly remark about the island’ I think it will be hard not to Curious to see if he can shake Lost. Reply

    Sanya

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