Alcatraz: J. J. Abrams Takes Us To Another Mysterious Island, Tries To Make Our Heads Explode

Alcatraz: J. J. Abrams Takes Us To Another Mysterious Island, Tries To Make Our Heads Explode January 20, 2012

It took me a while to get around to watching the first two hours of the new TV show “Alcatraz.” There have been comments that it is trying to be the next LOST (which I think is true, even down to the music) and that Jorge Garcia’s character is trying to be too much like Hurley (which doesn’t seem to me to be the case, at least so far).

When “Doc” (Garcia’s character) learns that prisoners did not get transferred from Alcatraz, but simply disappeared, and are now reappearing not having aged at all, he quips, “Did anyone else’s head just explode?”

LOST, of course, spent a fair amount of time trying to make our heads explode, and frequently failed to then help us pick up the pieces and reassemble them. Fringe also began with mysteries and has done a better job of providing answers that are satisfying and do not simply lead to more questions. Alcatraz seems to be closer to the latter than the former, and indeed further along the spectrum in that direction. Although what exactly happened, how, why, and who is behind it are all still mysteries, we are not simply given people on an island the nature, history and importance of which are all unknown from the outset. Rather we have been presented a rather clear puzzle and a few initial clues.

The premise is interesting, and the delivery so far has kept my interest as well. I plan to keep watching.

My guess, given the brutality and callousness we see in the flashbacks (yes, it has flashbacks) to Alcatraz in 1960, and the few medical scenes so far, is that someone was allowed to do some sort of experiments beneath the prison related to time travel, using the prisoners as guinea pigs. And when something went wrong, everyone was shifted in time. But as with LOST, we’re expected to start formulating theories, and past experience with J. J. Abrams suggests that some or all of them will be wrong.

Have you watched Alcatraz? If so, what did you think of it?

Browse Our Archives