Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Review (First Impression) : Alcatraz
On Fox : First episode aired in Jan 2012
Rating : 4 out of 10 (based on pilot)

I am very selective when it comes to watching long TV series, whether its drama or action. It's a lot of commitment of time. Time, which can be used to watch something else, or just sleep. Very precious. I have a much higher tolerance for movies. If a movie turns out to be not so good, it only wastes a couple of hours.

So generally, I simply choose to not watch a TV series, till I hear a lot of good things about it, and then watch the entire seasons on DVD. It worked well for "Rome", and first seasons of 24. In other instances, I have quit midway in season 1 DVD itself, for "Tudors" and many others.

This year, I decided to try to be current. Alcatraz ads that were getting bombarded during the NFL games, hooked me on. Especially, because the story happens in my neck of woods.

After watching the pilot, I have to give up on this rather quickly. I was OK with the weird Sci-Fi like premise. Before Alcatraz closed, a lot of prisoners simply vanished. Now they are suddenly coming back, and causing mayhem. Some time travel is indicated, as they haven't aged a bit. This could have been interesting. But it isn't.

There are numerous problems. I can handle the unexplained. It's too early for explanations. But the ease at which the characters (the lady cop and the Alcatraz expert) accept the weird happenings makes it unbelievable. There is no shock, no confusion. They just accept it as routine case. Then there is this mysterious special unit whose sole task is to track and capture these bad guys. It's super secret, but our lady cop joins it with little effort. Even the civilian author gets initiated just like that. That one sequence gave me real bad feelings about this. And the guys who come back, have no problem adjusting to the modern times. No future shock. There is complete disrespect for viewer's intelligence.

Overall, this seems to be going the way of "Lost". Mysteries within mysteries, inexplicable events happen in such a way, that not only the viewers are dumbfounded, but even the writers cannot figure out how to get out the hole they dug themselves in. I gave up on "Lost" in just a few episodes of season 1. After reading about how the later seasons frustrated many (except the die-hard fans), I feel happy about not watching Lost.

Alcatraz may be able to handle its own enigmas better. Or maybe it won't. I don't see much point hanging around. And if it does manage to keep itself in check, I can always watch it on DVD. I seriously doubt it though.

Let's see what "Touch" does now.

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