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Review: ALCATRAZ 1.1 - Pilot

Friday, 20 January 2012

We have known about Alcatraz for some time now and unless you have been hiding under a rock then your excitement for this show will surely have been growing, not only does it look like a great concept but it's also brought to us by J.J Abrams the creator of Lost, who in turn has decided to bring along the writers from his hit TV show to help him pen this one.

The plot of Alcatraz would seem relatively simple, it is set in modern day San Francisco where Detective Rebecca Marsden becomes involved in a mysterious murder case, the man killed is the former governor of Alcatraz prison and one single fingerprint at the crime scene is the only lead to a suspect.  The fingerprint belongs to Jack Sylvane, wanting to know more Marsden seeks the help of a local Alcatraz historian Dr Diego "Doc" Soto (Lost's Jorge Garcia), he tells her the information at her crime scene can not be right as former Alcatraz inmate Jack Sylvane died over 30 years ago.  They continue to search for answers as more and more people connected to Alcatraz are killed by Sylvane before they finally meet Emmerson Hauser (Sam Neil, Jurassic Park), a man who works in secret from the rock and knows way more than he is letting on.

The show has been billed as the new Lost so we are always going to be making comparisons, first one which was most obvious was the backing track, all the music here seemed to be taken straight from lost, it brought all those jungle scene rushing back.  I wouldn't only compare this to Lost, it also takes a lot of comparisons from J.J Abrams Person of Interest, I think for the first time in a long time I watched this show already trying to second guess what was actually going on, what does this mean? What does that mean?  I have come up with a few little ideas, all of which will probably be wrong but it at least gets a conversation flowing for now (leave your comments remember).

Let's start with the comparison to Lost, a show which was very much about the numbers, it would seem that up to now that's what Alcatraz will focus a little of it's attention on.  Did you catch it?  The prisoner numbers I'm referring to 2024, Jack Sylvane, the man he spoke to in the Alcatraz hospital, prisoner 2002. Rebecca Marsdsen's grandfather who knew something terrible was going to happen.  Numbers are all even up to now, are we going to see all even numbers? Is that how the prisoners where selected?  It is worth thinking about as Lost focused really heavily on the numbers once the hatch was discovered and they played a major part with the rest of the show.

Person of Interest now, like this show it would seem that Alcatraz is going to focus on a different person every week, in this case the Person of Interest will be another prisoner from 1963 Alcatraz back in modern day San Fran to wreak a little havoc and right a few wrongs.  Again, like POI this will form the major part of the story week in week out, but there will also be the lingering back story which has only started to come to a head in POI, in Alcatraz's case that will be where have these people been? And what does Emmerson Hauser know about it already that he is not sharing.

Jack Sylvane came out of solitary after almost a month and was given a blood transfusion, could we be looking at some sort of crazy doc thing here who has created replicas of all the prisoners from back in 1963? DNA cloning? Given that this is a J.J. Abrams show I would think things will turn out a little more complex than that, not that you could get more complex than that, I think maybe it would just be a little far fetched, or would it?

Sam Neil's character Emerson Hauser, extremely large room to grow here, Alcatraz's Ben Linus.  Maybe he knows what's going on, maybe he knows a little of whats going on, either way he knows more than any of us and we are left at the end of the pilot with him returning Jack Sylvane to Alcatraz, is it Alcatraz though? We saw him driving through a forest to get there I don't recall seeing any wooded areas on Alcatraz. Maybe this could turn out something like Fringe, another Abrams show where alternate realities are used, any thoughts?

Jack Sylvane would appear to be the second prisoner to return to the modern day, take yourself to the beginning of this episode when the cop got killed, the person involved was prisoner 2002, Rebecca's grand father, she knows he is responsible for the death of her partner and he is yet to be caught, this works well as it's going to leave the question does he know who she is? And if so, how?  That's Rebecca's character set to grow no doubt, and there is her creepy uncle who owns the bar, he wanted her to leave this case alone so maybe he knows more of what is going on here. Then you have Doc Soto, It would seem he is going to be very similar to Hurly that we all got to know in Lost, you know? Quirky little one liners whilst having the brains to work everything out, he's a funny guy I like it.

I thought Alcatraz enjoyed a pretty impressive pilot episode, it certainly didn't disappoint, there was plenty of action, whilst at the same time plenty of mystery has been built up along with us getting to know who all the main characters are. Weather Alcatraz is the new Lost remains to be seen but it certainly has good grounding and looks as if the story, or stories may movie along a little quicker than they did in Lost.  I'm a fan and I will be back for more next week without doubt.
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