J.J. Abrams, one of the creative minds behind Lost, is heading to another mysterious island. This time though it’s not remote, it’s San Francisco’s Alcatraz.
Five decades ago, some event caused 302 of the prisoners and guards in the prison to disappear. Now, they’re reappeared and have started committing crimes across the city. Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill), one of the two guards who didn’t vanish, heads up a special task force to investigate and to try to figure out what’s going on.
Lost ran for six seasons and viewers had to really pay attention to understand what was going on. Abrams insists that this new show won’t be as hard to follow. But, will you want to even start? Here’s what the critics are saying:
Washington Post: “There is something to like in Alcatraz’s smooth momentum. The show has a spirit that comes through in spite of the flavorless cheese crumbles piled atop it. As Rebecca, Jones is an intriguing discovery, and Neill classes up the joint. But overall, the script has some of the sparkless blah that has plagued Fox’s other big-name sci-fi show this season, Terra Nova.”
NY Daily News: “Happily, there are reasons to watch Alcatraz, starting with an appealing cast and a premise that really does not require a college degree in the mythology of other worlds.”
Hollywood Reporter: “The writing if flat and expository-laden. The drama – outside of the mystery of how it all happened – is saddled to predictable plots. The exterior shots (and some location shooting) in San Francisco look beautiful. But it might be easier just to buy a postcard and save yourself the time of investing in Alcatraz, another series that can’t seem to do much with what it’s given.”
LA Times: “Undoubtedly Alcatraz is among the best the midseason has to offer, and though it may whip like the TARDIS through the outer reaches of time and believability, Abrams wisely included a procedural element to sustain it; Alcatraz is, after all, built upon a rock.”
TIME: “For now, I’ll put this prison drama on probation. I don’t expect to watch Alcatraz every week, but I’ll check back. later. If it’s not the next Fringe, much less the next Lost, I at least want to know what it will be when it finally becomes Alcatraz.”
USA Today: “And of course, there’s another problem: that inchoate, TV-watcher fear that the show may become too interesting, as Abrams’ shows tend to do. Alcatraz is easy enough to follow tonight, with twists and surprises that are enjoyable and not enervating. But you still may leave it wondering how long it will be before there are eight timelines and six universes. That’s the thing with islands. They can be easier to get on than get off.”
So, what do you think? Will you watch Alcatraz tonight? If you’ve already seen it, will you tune in again next week?
Image courtesy FOX.