Get Me Off This Rock

Pilots are often not the best indicator of how a new television show is going to shake out, so I like to give them a few episodes to find their legs. Well, we are now at episode four of JJ Abrams' Alcatraz, so I don't have to feel guilty about dropping it like a bag of wet cement.

I can see where they're trying to go with this. There are already too many cop procedurals on the air, so you have to set yourself apart from the crowd to avoid being overlooked. So why not add some of Abrams' patented long-arc mythology to spice things up? In this case, a batch of violent criminals vanished from Alcatraz in the 1963, and are now reappearing in modern-day San Francisco to wreak havoc anew. Sam Neill is the mysterious expert who rounds up the errant inmates with his team, which consists of Jorge Garcia as a shy, nerdy Alcatraz expert and Sarah Jones, a hard-nosed cop that REFUSES TO PLAY BY THE RULES. Sigh.

You know, I'm going to go ahead and just leave out the part where the good guys could just wait around the island and pick up the miscreants as they appear, instead of tracking these people down after they start murdering citizens. And the part where these people who last walked the streets in the 1950s pop into modern existence with absolutely no sense of culture shock. Cell phones? No problem! Weaponry? Nah, that hasn't changed in 60 years! Computers? Of course they'd know exactly how those operate! I'm leaving those ridiculous things aside, because who knows? They may figure into whatever shadowy background story is causing this event in the first place.

The problem is that shadowy background story takes up the last forty seconds of every episode. The remainder is just another paint-by-numbers, bland cop procedural. And frankly, not a very good one. Maybe they're building to something awesome. Maybe the story will become more intricate. And hey, if it does, I can always come back and fill in the blanks. But for now, Alcatraz, you have been found guilty of the ultimate television sin: Being Boring. I'm afraid that carries the death penalty.

Alcatraz: C-


Niki said...

I love cop shows and enjoy most of JJA's stuff. I had to give this a try. I made it about 4 or 5 eps and just gave up. I did the same thing with Lost and eventually went back and watched it and really enjoyed it. I think I'll do the same with this one. And I agree, why do they not catch them there? Especially since their main hub/office/bunker/whatever is ON the island??? Not to mention that having it there is completely not practical. I have never been to that area but it makes no sense that in the middle of tracking someone down and being so close they are ferrying back and forth to that island.

Limecrete said...

I don't dislike Abrams, but I do think he's overrated in general. I agree, this may be one of those shows to wait until it's over, and then shotgun all the episodes in one fell swoop. Honestly, I'm not sure I'm interested in even doing that, based on what I saw.

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