A Mid-Season Stunner

We all knew Alcatraz was going to be a phenomenal show before it was aired on Fox mid-season last week.

The story goes like this: Alcatraz was a prison in the San Francisco bay until the 1960’s. Supposedly, the prisoners were said to have transferred to different prisons and Alcatraz was retired from a prison to a heavily frequented tourist attraction. The real story was that everyone on the island disappeared and were never heard of again… until now. Each episode follows the return of one or more prisoners returning to the present day Bay Area, with no signs of aging since their disappearance in the 60’s. Each prisoner has a mission given to them by someone they cannot remember and after it’s completed, they return to their psychopathic killing ways, that is, unless a rag-tag team of detectives can stop them first. Led by the mysterious Detective Hauser (Sam Neil), Detective Madsen (Sarah Jones) and comic book author Diego Soto (Jorge Garcia) join the team to capture each prisoner before they begin their inevitable killing spree.

As compelling as that story line could be, the genius behind this show is the creative team. J.J. Abrams (Super 8, Star Trek, Lost) acts the executive producer and brought the best of his genius to this show. The dark, noir feel to the show is contrasted by Abram’s incredible ability to make audiences laugh hysterically despite the apparent seriousness of the scene (there are no annoying laugh tracks on this show). The very violent storyline is gory without being morbidly so and takes on a more Bourne Identity feel than a CSI. Jorge Garcia’s job as a comic book author brings a comic book element to the story, as if each scene could be split into multiple action frames and each character has a unique secret superhero persona. Sarah Jones’ role as the androgynous detective is a feisty female with little interest in being sexy and more interest on completing her job. Sam Neil, one of the most compelling actors of his time, brings the same intensity from his previous roles in the Jurassic Park movies. And though the storyline could sound dull and predictable… the same “get the guy” every episode premise.. this show has a few tricks up it’s sleeve and dark corners ahead. The basic question: “what happened to these prisoners?” is left unanswered.

If you haven’t seen the 2 hour premiere last from week, I highly encourage you to start this show from the very beginning and immerse yourself into each story and character. Alcatraz airs Monday nights on FOX.

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