Alcatraz : Season 1

  • Network: FOX
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 16, 2012
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 146 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 85 out of 146
  2. Negative: 20 out of 146

Where To Watch

Stream On

Review this tv show

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling

User Reviews

  1. Jan 17, 2012
    5
    This was missing a lot. JJ can do so much better. It almost feels that he isn't even present except for there being a hutch in the jungle and numbers everywhere. I feel that Lost fans will hang on in order to fill that tv show void. Everything is just to convenient for this detective. So far she is a better detective than Batman. She is unrealistically finding evidence and makingThis was missing a lot. JJ can do so much better. It almost feels that he isn't even present except for there being a hutch in the jungle and numbers everywhere. I feel that Lost fans will hang on in order to fill that tv show void. Everything is just to convenient for this detective. So far she is a better detective than Batman. She is unrealistically finding evidence and making assumptions. It's not real enough for me to get connected and root for her. I'm upset to have a mixed review. Expand
  2. Mar 3, 2012
    4
    It's an interesting idea, but there are several issues with the show. Some characters' motivations are not explicitly proportional to their zeal and determination. There is very little character development for the girl and her lines are sometimes so inane they make this viewer cringe. After the second episode, the pattern of the series became clear: 57 minutes about random prisoner X whoIt's an interesting idea, but there are several issues with the show. Some characters' motivations are not explicitly proportional to their zeal and determination. There is very little character development for the girl and her lines are sometimes so inane they make this viewer cringe. After the second episode, the pattern of the series became clear: 57 minutes about random prisoner X who has just come back and the events leading to his capture + 3 minutes of exposition that reveals a tiny bit more about the mystery. After 2-3 more episodes, those 3 minutes were down to 1 minute (or nothing at all, as in the one last week.) We still record it, for now. I tell my husband to let me know when there's 5 minutes left because that's all that's worth watching, if at all. I expect to stop watching it altogether before the end of the season. Life is short, no sense in wasting time on mediocre television. Expand
  3. Jun 7, 2012
    5
    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
    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.
    Expand
  4. Jan 17, 2012
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Ok so according to the show these people disappeared in 63 and have only begun to come back from who know where. How do they come back? Well the only example so far is they come back to where they left from, a prison. I understand it is a tourist destination, I've been, but if these murderious inmates are coming back, shut down the island and lock the doors. Problem solved. The task force is located on "the rock" but allows people they have photographs of to just walk out and catch the next ferry! I hope they fix this and show someone materialize at Starbucks just so they make this huge problem not so easy to fix. Expand
  5. Feb 14, 2012
    5
    JJ Abrams should know from previous experience what we all want. So far he isn't even close. The cast is average , production value is high, this could be a good show except it is not, yet. It is episodic, each episode it practically independent from the others which kills the atmosphere, and like many said before, the way the detectives solve the clues and how they immediately know that aJJ Abrams should know from previous experience what we all want. So far he isn't even close. The cast is average , production value is high, this could be a good show except it is not, yet. It is episodic, each episode it practically independent from the others which kills the atmosphere, and like many said before, the way the detectives solve the clues and how they immediately know that a certain crime was committed by a prisoner is preposterous, as if no crimes were committed except by them. There are a few interesting details in there, a bit of mystery regarding some objects. But until and unless the characters start to become interconnected and all of them are included in the mystery it will stay bland. I keep watching hoping that it will turn into that, however, this system of each episode being about one different character is slowly turning it into a bore. Expand
  6. Jan 18, 2012
    6
    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 canThe 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. Collapse
  7. Jan 18, 2012
    6
    The feels similar to lost. It has the same composer which translates to great music that really helps draw in the audience. I really like all the actors save the lead female character. Her acting seems a bit forced and her character seems more than a bit annoying, almost child like, and brash. While the first episode was spectacular, the second episode really let me down with some poorThe feels similar to lost. It has the same composer which translates to great music that really helps draw in the audience. I really like all the actors save the lead female character. Her acting seems a bit forced and her character seems more than a bit annoying, almost child like, and brash. While the first episode was spectacular, the second episode really let me down with some poor writing. It seemed as if they were rushing through the story and pulling clues out their behinds. I loved lost and I have high hopes for this show. I hope the season improves. Expand
  8. Feb 2, 2012
    6
    I'll watch anything with Jorge Gracia in it and the guy from Jurassic Park although the female lead, Sarah Jones, wouldn't have been my first pick for the show. I really enjoy watching it, seeing what kind of crazy prisoners (and their stories) were locked away in Alcatraz. The only problem I have with the show is as of now it seem as Soto is the most helpful character in the show. What'sI'll watch anything with Jorge Gracia in it and the guy from Jurassic Park although the female lead, Sarah Jones, wouldn't have been my first pick for the show. I really enjoy watching it, seeing what kind of crazy prisoners (and their stories) were locked away in Alcatraz. The only problem I have with the show is as of now it seem as Soto is the most helpful character in the show. What's the point of having Madsen help out with the project besides her grandfather is one of the convicted inmates? I guess only time will tell and I am excited to see how it plays out. Expand
  9. Feb 27, 2012
    6
    Its just started to get good at Episode 4 however I dont see this being a MASSIVE smash. When you compare to other mystery TV shows like The River is just doesnt have longevity I dont think.
  10. Jan 31, 2013
    6
    Solid acting by the cast with a few likeable leads. The story is interesting but doesn't go any where all season. Lack of explaination and the fact that you learn very little each episode (sometimes nothing at all) sort of ruins the show. It had a lot of promise but it simply failed to live up to it's potential.
  11. Mar 6, 2012
    4
    Going no where fast. As another reviewer said "a blonde female cop with a genius." Ho Hum. With JJ producing I thought we might get something interesting. But every week it is "catch the uber bad guy" with no advancement of the overall plot of What happened? Then ad in the over use of the ratcheting "smoke monster" sound, which was creepy when used sparingly. Bad writer's who don'tGoing no where fast. As another reviewer said "a blonde female cop with a genius." Ho Hum. With JJ producing I thought we might get something interesting. But every week it is "catch the uber bad guy" with no advancement of the overall plot of What happened? Then ad in the over use of the ratcheting "smoke monster" sound, which was creepy when used sparingly. Bad writer's who don't care, lame use of Steve McQueen's Bullit mustang. No original ideas so far. I keep hoping, but not getting. Expand
  12. May 22, 2012
    5
    Alcatraz attempts to indulge us with creating a complex and serious storyline based on material that is just impossible to write a sensible script to. They attempt to express characters that haven't aged, and they fail to explain the reasons for this in any way. This leaves a bitter and unsatisfactory conclusion to every episode, which unfortunately is consistent throughout.

    But it isn't
    Alcatraz attempts to indulge us with creating a complex and serious storyline based on material that is just impossible to write a sensible script to. They attempt to express characters that haven't aged, and they fail to explain the reasons for this in any way. This leaves a bitter and unsatisfactory conclusion to every episode, which unfortunately is consistent throughout.

    But it isn't all sour. The series focused on two plots. The present plot and a past plot. It almost feels like two different directors were making two different films and they each have a unique approach. Whatever the problems are with the present plot, it doesn't interfere much with the past plot.

    This gives Alcatraz some logical initiative to its characters, especially the antagonists. The major success, and probably its only one, is the direction these characters are presented with a solid connection between the past and the present plots (at least emotionally). Their emotions and the expressions of their behavior, their reasons, are often plentiful and make enough drama to drag what otherwise would be a desolate sci fi into a shallow, but watchable indulgence. In addition the protagonists carry some interest. Most of them are generic and get confused in the plot, but it's good to see Sam Neill trying his hand at something serious, and he doesn't do a terrible job if it wasn't for the tired aura constantly streaming from his character. Jorge Garcia also gives the show a more lightweight comical approach with his enthusiastic casualness.

    But all this falls apart when it becomes long term. Nothing really progresses. The last episode could pass off as the first, and if it wasn't for the half sighted tension and the concentrated sub character development than this series would have hit a solid dead end. It simply isn't concreting anything other than subtlety.
    Expand
  13. Jun 24, 2014
    5
    The show was interesting at first then this show became a disappointment. It wasn't bad per say, but it wasn't good either. It was okay, but I knew it was going to be cancelled.
  14. Jun 6, 2013
    5
    It started off quite strong interesting idea with good cast! Unfortunately further on it got kinda boring and repetitive! But I hate when broadcasters cancel the show in the middle of it(middle finger to Fox for that)!
Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. 40
    The characters are so TV cute (and in some cases TV pretty) and the storytelling so mechanical, that I couldn't give myself over to it either way.
  2. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Jan 17, 2012
    40
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Jan 17, 2012
    60
    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.