Alcatraz: Is the FOX TV Series Worth Watching?

Alcatraz TV seriesJ.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.”

TV show supportUSA 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?

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89 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Robert says

    The show has lost me it started ok but has
    gone off the plot. The female cop is the wrong actor for the part.
    I will not give the show to long on air!

  2. Jean Beccu says

    It’s about time Sam Neill is on a weekly t.v. show! Just as with “Lost”,I enjoy the intrique each episode! ‘Needed SOMEthing to replace “Lost” & “24” & thankfully,now I have “Alcatratraz” AND “Touch”!

  3. Loyd says

    I like the show as long as it don’t get Lost as Lost did i lost interest in lost after 1 year i had no idea what was going on. But please keep showing Alcatraz i think itr has posiblites.

  4. Nes Espiritu says

    In episode 2 a guard was talking to the sniper prisoner and he was saying 24/7. I don’t think this lingo was used in the 60’s. Maybe the script writer should be careful about these things.

  5. SUSIE says



  6. Tasha says

    I think so far Alcatraz has me watching. I will give this one a chance, I agree witht the above that alot of people only watch two episodes and are done with. I guess I have a little more patience when I comes to series.

  7. wr says

    I don’t think it would have been possible to squeeze one more trope or cliche into this pastiche of stolen moments from much better shows. Even worse, it was just plain dumb. I’d rather watch a show where the characters are ahead of me rather than lagging so terrible far behind.

  8. Thomas K. Cole-Vienna, ILL. says

    I enjoy this type of show. Got a neat game plan with a little imagination. Still have need to figure out missing parts. Is creating a mystery in my mind with lots of possibilities. Missed TV show and watched it on internet which is more timely for me without a lot of the commercials. Even though I like the actors types, at times behavior a little lacking in substance (which may be more of a production problem than an acting one). Kinda hungry for more of the series.

  9. Thierry says

    Will I follow? Maybe. But only if the mythos of what happened in 1963 starts playing a much bigger role than what I have seen until now. Otherwise it’s just yet another cop-chases-killer with a twist…

    • Jean says

      I said the same thing – I like it so it will get cancelled ala Vee and Flashpoint. Was so disappointed when they got cancelled.

    • ronald kleopfer says

      I know, I loved the show. Abrams is a genius. I liked Lost, and really like Fringe, but it looks like that is going to be cancelled.

  10. ,.,., says

    As much as the show is appealing I am sick to death of procedural television. I mean seriously, how many cop, medical, villain/mystery of the week shows are on tv? The truth is prime time television died in 2010, after shows like Lost, 24 and Prison Break ended.

    No wonder the best shows are now on cable like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.

  11. steve stoic says

    I thought it was a great begining. It had flow, I wanted to know more right away. Sam Neill was a douche, but it would be great to know why. And the Indian doctor bad or good, was it her mother in the flashback scene? Dr diego or “Hurley” don’t you just want to hug him? He’s great, smart but funny. I’m not sold on Lucy yet, I find her the weakest character so far. But overall two thumbs up, can’t wait for episode three.

  12. Jim says

    I can’t understand why people give up on shows after only a couple episodes. It actually angers me because that is the reason why good shows get cancelled early (especially on FOX).

    Shows need time to introduce characters and develop their back story (lay the foundation for the entire show). This show has a lot of potential. I think of it as a cross between The 4400 and Brimstone (two shows cancelled too early).

    It is obvious this show has a huge story arc and so it won’t just be catching bad guys from the past (it will be finding out why they were taken in the first place and why they are coming back now).

    If people aren’t going to even give a show a fair chance to succeed, then they have no right posting here to complain about how the shows they like get cancelled.

    • Jean says

      I’ll give it another chance or even more, just to see if the “plot thickens” I have to agree with other’s though that the characters are lacking in dimension. I like a good psychological thriller….one with twists and turns and has your mind in a whirl wind, this just does not have the depth I was hoping for.

  13. Why says

    This show didn’t leave me wanting more. It was lacking. I’ll give it another week, but if it turns into just catching bad guys from the past, I won’t. It needs more of a catch than they disappeared.

  14. Shelby T Mitchell says

    It is ok but one dimensional in the leads. Really the woman who plays the so-called “cocky and heartless” cop wasn’t like that at all. Sam Neil is a great actor. But think his character was harsh and a jerk. Either you weren’t meant to like him, or he is a bad guy. Wished that the woman cop would had hauled off and hit him, and threw the picture back and says, “Here is your picture back!” After he was punched.

    Only the supporting players of Dr Diego and Lucy were the interesting ones. As both seem to have chemistry a spark of it. And seemed to be a little bit known. Those two carried it great or this show would had been a disaster. Hopefully it will grow and the characters too.

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