TV Review: Episode 1 of Alcatraz

Basic Info

In 1963, all the inhabitants of San Francisco’s famous Alcatraz prison disappeared. And now, in 2012, some of America’s most dangerous criminals ever are reappearing, without having aged a day. Sam Neill, Jorge Garcia, and Robert Forster team up with newcomer Sarah Jones to catch the crims, and solve the mystery. This hour-long sci-fi drama airs Mondays on U.S. network Fox, and premiered its first episode this week.

Rhys’ Take

Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful. Lets not beat around the bush, dodge the question, bury the lead. The first episode of Alcatraz is awful. It really is. There I am, sitting in bed, just cringing at almost every line of dialogue, every piece of exposition, every character introduction. “Oh, well he’s written the book on Alcatraz. Several, actually.” He has, has he? I wonder whether he’ll become involved with the plot! Also, he’s fat, looks like Jorge Garcia, and works in a comic shop. Y’know, because he’s geeky!

What, that isn’t someone who looks like Jorge Garcia (Hurley from Lost), but that actually IS Jorge Garcia? No, I don’t believe you. He wouldn’t involve himself with this televisual turd. I also don’t believe you when you say that Robert Forster (great in Jackie Brown, among other things) is in this. Or Parminder Nagra (really great in ER, among other things). And I absolutely don’t believe that Sam Neill is in this. Sam “I’m too good for Jurassic Park 2” Neill. He isn’t in this. He can’t be. Because he WAS too good for Jurassic Park 2, and he’s certainly too good for this.

But I will tell you who I do believe is involved with this wet towel (wet towels serve no purpose, and are generally icky) of a television show. J.J. Abrams. Him who made Lost and Fringe (among countless, countless other TV shows and movies). Because Alcatraz manages to reference those (far superior) shows once every 4.5 seconds. I timed it (not really). The island, the procedural cop stuff, the flashbacks, the time travel, the score, the direction, the aesthetics, the cast. Even the ‘ad break logo swish’ (technical term) is reminiscent of both Lost AND Fringe, simultaneously. The one thing unique to Alcatraz is that the combination of all those ideas is written with the flair and wit of a rancid piece of bread.

Should you watch?

Yes, if

– you’ve never seen Lost or Fringe (because why not, its worth a shot)

– you’ve just been through a painful tonsillectomy, and you’re so drugged up it doesn’t matter

– your father is Sam Neill/Robert Forster/Jorge Garcia

No, if

– you’ve ever even seen an advert for Lost or Fringe

– seriously, even a radio ad

– you’re a fan of The Rock, and don’t want to see that film retroactively seem a lot worse

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2 Comments on “TV Review: Episode 1 of Alcatraz”

  1. adampbellotto January 19, 2012 at 22:26 #

    Great review! I love your mix of humor and TV knowledge/insight.

    And for the record, I thought Alcatraz was awful too.

  2. rhyswilliamson January 21, 2012 at 02:17 #

    Oh thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

    I would say I’m glad the you agreed with me about the show, but that means you’ve seen it too. So I’m sorry for the both of us.

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