Alcatraz: New FOX Prison Series; Cancel or Keep It?

Alcatraz TV show cancel or keep?The FOX network had great success with their Prison Break series for four years. They’ve now introduced a new TV show that revolves around Alcatraz, the most famous penitentiary in the United States. Will Alcatraz run for years or will it be quickly cancelled instead?

The Alcatraz series begins with the following statement: “On March 21st, 1963, Alcatraz officially closed. All the prisoners were transferred off the island. Only that’s not what happened. Not at all.” It turns out that every prisoner in the facility mysteriously vanished and they start reappearing nearly 50 years later, looking just the same.

FBI Agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill), Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones), and Alcatraz expert “Doc” Soto (Jorge Garcia) work together to capture the felons and try to uncover where they’ve been. Others in the cast include Jonny Coyne, Parminder Nagra, Santiago Cabrera, Jason Butler Harner, and Robert Forster.

Should Alcatraz be cancelled?

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The FOX series debuted last Monday with a pair of episodes that averaged a 3.3 in the all-important 18-49 demographic and 10.05 million total viewers. It was the best series premiere that FOX has had this season. What’s more, there seemed to be very little erosion as the two hours progressed, a good indication that those viewers would return the next week.

And they did. It’s not uncommon to see the numbers slip by 15-20% in the second week but Alcatraz only dropped 9% in the demo and about the same in total viewers. Last night’s episode drew a 3.0 in the demographic with 9.03 million.

TV show supportThe show is currently averaging a 3.2 rating in the demo and 9.71 million total viewers. It’s the sixth highest rated scripted series on the network this season (out of 16) and registers a “B” on our FOX report card. It’s outperforming venerable shows like House and Bones and freshman shows like Terra Nova and The Finder.

Unless the ratings continue to fall, it looks like Alcatraz will be around for awhile — hopefully long enough for the mystery to be solved in a satisfying way.

But, what do you think? Do you like Alcatraz? Is it worth watching week after week? Do you think it should be renewed for a second season or cancelled?

Canceled and renewed TV show

66 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Kat says

    “Captivating,” hah! Anyway, Alcatraz is different from LOST in that it’s starting up its mysteries at the beginning, whereas LOST began with only one (“what’s the black smoke monster?”) and slowly expanded into the others (“who are the Others?” etc.). We’re already wondering a lot about this show, but unlike some other shows out there that seem to thrive on being puzzling just for the hell of it, Alcatraz has just enough mystery to keep it from getting too convoluted off the bat. If they keep it up, Alcatraz can be more accessible for its entire run than LOST was in its later seasons. Not that I, personally, minded LOST being inaccessible to some people (I personally watched every minute of it from beginning to end), but if it remains accessible, we might not have to worry about it the way we have to worry about Fringe (which is a great show everyone should be watching, though it’s like watching a movie from the middle at this point).

  2. MK says

    Those complaining about Alcatraz being too M.O.W. in format forget that that’s how ALL the best genre shows started out. Lest we forget too quickly, go back and watch S1 of Buffy, Supernatural, X Files, Fringe, Warehouse 13, and on and on and on….. MOW allows the folks who don’t like LOST style puzzles to be able to watch a show and get hooked and it allows those of us who long for more mythos to watch it slowly build as we get to know and later love our characters. C’mon….who really loved Olivia in S1 Fringe? But now? See? :)

  3. Leigh ann von Hoelle says

    Love, love, love this show. I can’t wait until the next week to see who is showing up and what they’re going to do. I also like that they show who was captured from previous shows in their cells at the end. Jorge Garcia is awesome, his take on the cases is so real and love the history he brings into the people.

  4. Rzink says

    Very good show. But there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. How did they disappear, and how and where are they re appearing? Although in the first episode they did show one of the prisoners waking up in his cell, but what about all the others. Also will guards re appear? Great show!

  5. Craig says

    I am enjoying the show, and I plan to keep watching. Though I have to admit that Detective Madsen doesn’t seem very interesting, but that might just be because she is playing next to Jorge’s Doc Soto who is pretty awesome.

    • Kat says

      She definitely isn’t interesting — she isn’t even interesting to look at — but I’m hoping she’ll get more interesting as her family backstory is revealed.

  6. Jason says

    I dig. Although I think the J.J. Abrams empire is in the early stages of decline, I can definitely enjoy ‘Alcatraz’ with a few glasses of wine. The 3rd episode had some seriously creepy moments.

    • Kat says

      At least The 4400 had more of an ending than that other USA Network series, The Dead Zone! How they could end it without resolving the main plot (how to stop the attack on Washington) is beyond me, especially after six long seasons with the network. With The 4400, you felt like part of the main plot was ending and a whole new part of the plot could begin, a brand new world (which is not a bad note to leave a series on).

  7. says

    Really enjoyable show. Hard not to compare it to Lost but they’re doing great at setting up so many mysteries right off the bat ie: Lucy, the doctor, Diego etc.

    Also fun note is in ep 3 Diego is drawing a comic book where he saves Lucy.

    Sam Neill is fantastic.

    • Kat says

      Is that what he was doing?? It went by way too quick, so I assumed it was a reinactment of what actually happened, but rewriting events so that they have a happier ending sounds like more of a thing this character would do, so I’m glad they went that way. Looks like I’m going to have to start keeping an eye out for easter eggs on this show, just like LOST! Heh.

  8. Anonymous says

    A little bummed episode 3 was about a child killer… Felt like it went too dark too quick. Really wanted this to be a show my preteen son and I could watch together…

    • Kat says

      At least the kid makes it in the end! I think the dialogue between Diego and the boy at the end helps soften the blow, too.

    • adam says

      I agree that it went a little darker than I wanted. I quit watching Breakout Kings because of the constant scenes of victimization. There’s violence, and then there’s torture. I hope they go back to the tone of the first couple of episodes.

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