• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 16, 2012
  • Season #: 1
Alcatraz Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 132 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: Fifty years after they vanished, some of Alcatraz's most notorious prisoners reappear and start committing crime once again. Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill), Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones), and Diego "Doc" Soto (Jorge Garcia) team up to investigate how this happened.
  • Genre(s): Drama
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Jan 13, 2012
    The show has the makings of great--what else can I say?--escapist entertainment. [23 Jan 2012, p.39]
  2. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Jan 17, 2012
    The pilot looks great, offers an intriguing plot and effortlessly introduces the show's characters and premise.
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Jan 17, 2012
    Alcatraz is easy enough to follow tonight, with twists and surprises that are enjoyable and not enervating.
  4. Reviewed by: Rick Porter
    Jan 17, 2012
    There's enough in the premise and the performances (particularly those of Garcia and Neill) to keep us watching, but to really hook us in Alcatraz needs to decide what kind of show it wants to be.
  5. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Jan 17, 2012
    It's much too generic given Abrams' reputation from "Alias," "Lost," the better years of "Fringe" and the "Star Trek" reboot.
  6. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jan 17, 2012
    The mysteries of the mythology--Where were they for the last half-century? Who's pulling their violent strings?--are more compelling than the plodding mechanics of the weekly manhunt.
  7. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Jan 17, 2012
    Soto helps the mood of the show with his wry attitude and occasional gee-whiz-ardry, and he helps to move the plot along by stating facts that Rebecca would otherwise have to pause and look up.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 41
  2. Negative: 6 out of 41
  1. Mar 8, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Alcatraz was a great show loved it about the 63's but unfortunately FOX Cancelled the show and left us with a cliff hanger did Rebecca live or die? we can hear the time of death but not the full report if she died or lived. Expand
  2. Jan 21, 2012
    I didn't think I would like this show. I'm not a big J.J. Abrams fan. I watched lost. I got hooked on lost. I wasn't really satisfied with lost, I had just invested so much time into the show I had to know how it ended. Fringe's second and third season was great. It's fourth is terrible, so obviously when I heard of a new J.J. Abrams show I had less than high hopes, and wow was I blown away. The acting is fairly good for a TV show, but the story is really getting me somewhat anxious. Whats going on? Why are the inmates coming back? Who is the lady who was shot? How did Sam Neil's character know that the inmates would be returning? So many questions. So few answers so far. All I can ask for is that this is not another show where the answers are few and far between. I want lots of answers that open more questions and many many twists, but this is J.J. Abrams....i'm still upset over lost... Expand
  3. Feb 29, 2012
    Alcatraz is just the most addicting new show on TV right now. Whether it be because of its great actors (Jorge Garcia, Sam Neil), its engrossing story, its interesting characters, or its simply creative idea- it tops every other show currently on. The show tells a great story through episodes that are more like short stories, allowing for people to start watching the show late in the season without missing anything too important. It's gripping and addicting and I just can't have enough of it. As soon this first season comes out on Blu-Ray, I'm buyin' it. Expand
  4. Jan 18, 2012
    The biggest things Alcatraz has going for it are it's interesting premise and Sam Neill's incredible acting. That being said, the first two episodes were not as good as I had hoped. The dialogue left something to be desired, as did the apparent awkwardness between Jones and Garcia. I have high hopes for Alcatraz, so I'll be back for at least a few more episodes. Hopefully they can round this one out. Expand
  5. Jun 7, 2012
    Coming from J.J Abram's stable and set on the mysterious prison island of the same name, Alcatraz had all the ingredients to be a great show. Unfortunately, it was billed as the new Lost and although this surely attracted viewers to the early episodes, this expectation probably did more harm than good as the show falls a long way short of Abram's work.

    I'm sure most viewers did not expect to be tuning in each week to watch a really weak police drama with the occasional scrap of intrigue thrown in relating to the 1963 Alcatraz era. With the exception of the first and final episodes, the episodes are repetitively mechanical and formulaic. Each time we are introduced to a new inmate from 1963 on the loose in modern day San Francisco, each one as clichéd as the last. A sniper, child killer, poisoner, bomber, bank robber are all covered throughout the series. The team then use Dr. Soto's (played by Jorge Garcia) in depth knowledge of the prison along with the inmates personal belongings to track down the escapee within the totally contrived time-frame required.

    In casting Jorge Garcia as one of the main characters, the producers did not help but draw similarities to Lost. Garcia does not help matters as his character may as well be Hurley, with his shyness, wit and cuddly teddy bear personality. Just in case the desire to replicate Lost wasn't totally obvious, the producers hired Lost's composer Michael Giacchino. The results are an almost identical Lost-style string loop piece of music.

    In replicating Lost's penchant for posing more questions than providing answers with the view to a long run, Alcatraz shot itself in the foot as the result is a show not half as good as Lost and it does not do enough to maintain the viewers intrigue throughout the season. The bulk of the episodes tease by mainly dealing with the inmate's recapture rather than shedding any light on the how and why of their reappearance after 40 years. It was early on that we found out that Lucy was a 63'er, we then discovered that the sinister warden was doing something to do the blood of certain inmates with silver and ultimately that he appears to be behind the reappearance of the inmates, tasked with tracking down keys for a room on Alcatraz.

    Sam Neil was the biggest name to sign on for the series but his character was incredibly dislikeable and his cranky and aggressive nature to his colleagues wore me down throughout the season.

    Alcatraz is the latest in a few sci-fi based TV shows to not survive past one season (see FlashForward and Terra Nova). Overall I feel the producers made it difficult for the show to be successful and while the show has some serious flaws, I feel that with the unanswered questions and remaining intrigue it did have the potential to grow into something better and probably deserved a second season.
  6. May 25, 2012
    What a good concept. Not enough SciFi on TV with a touch of criminal action. How much better would it have been if Rebecca was the expert and Diego Soto was the Detective? What you say... a male Detective on a tv show! no way... Expand

See all 41 User Reviews

Related Articles

  1. TV Cancellation Watch: Which Shows Are on the Bubble?

    TV Cancellation Watch: Which Shows Are on the Bubble? Image
    Published: April 12, 2012
    With one month left before the networks announce their fall schedules, we look at which TV shows have already been renewed or canceled, and which remain on the bubble.