J.J. Abrams: From the island to The Rock
What would you think if 302 of Alcatraz’s most notorious prisoners and guards disappeared without a trace? What would you do when you found out they are back 50 years later and are on the loose? J.J. Abrams, producer of the famous show Lost, answers these questions and more in his new mysterious crime TV show Alcatraz.
Alcatraz stars daring trio Detective Madsen (Sarah Jones), Dr. Diego Soto (Jorge Garcia) and mysterious Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill). Hauser’s character is in charge of the secret agency that has been waiting for the return of these Alcatraz prisoners. Hauser keeps many secrets, especially about the agency he runs. Audiences do know at this point though that he was one of the cops that first discovered the disappearance at Alcatraz in 1963. Madsen and Dr. Soto partner up with Hauser in their attempt to find and arrest the former Alcatraz prisoners. The mystery here lies in the fact that no one knows why these inmates are returning and why they have not seemed to age in the last 50 years.
As far as crime TV show’s go, the plot of this show is very unrealistic and highly predictable. It starts with the eerie and mysterious disappearance of everyone inside Alcatraz who were, as quoted in the show, “never seen from or heard from again…until now.” I must admit however that the plot of disappearing prisoners is intriguing, but the mystery is, for now, the only thing keeping this show alive. The actors portraying these characters lack in the acting department. They are barely believable as real people you would meet on the street. Their lines sound completely rehearsed, yet their body language does not match what they are saying in the least. The prisoners and police alike show little emotion in the phenomenon of 302 men returning from the dead. Amazingly enough, Madsen and Dr. Soto seem to be able to know exactly how these men think in order to find them, which hardly seems realistic, yet predictable in the fact that good always prevails over evil.
Along with the lack of credibility in the professions of the characters lies a lack of emotion in the dialogue. The monotonous tone of every character seems to hinder their ability to connect with the audience. The only emotion I actually believed was in a scene where Madsen watched one of her partners being shot. After her partner is taken to the hospital, you see Madsen furiously washing the blood off of her hands, neck and chest. She huffs and puffs and pounds on the walls of the bathroom in frustration and fury. The reason this scene stands out in my mind is I actually believed that not only the character of Madsen was feeling the anger, but that actress Sarah Jones felt it as well.
I do have hope that within the upcoming episodes, as more is revealed behind the mystery of Alcatraz, that J.J. Abrams’ show will prevail. However, there is still much to be desired from this show as well as the actors in it. For now, I hope that they improve in their portrayal of emotions for the sake of the characters.