User Reviews (78)

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  • This is a show that shows all the same sort of promise and excitement that Prison Break showed a few years back. Sadly, with the network axing it before we even get a sniff of a conclusion, there is little point in watching this.

    Over zealous American Network bosses doing what they do worst - judging shows on the dollar bills in their pockets. No wonder the USA doesn't have the same cult shows that the UK produces so regularly. It helps to keep up the poor reputation of American Television though.

    If you have nothing better to do, then watch this - but I warn you, you'll be disappointed when the series ends abruptly and leaving you wanting more.
  • Interesting that so many people are comparing this unfavorably to "Lost". I actually hated "Lost"… well, past the third or fourth episode, anyway, when it started collapsing under its own weight and stopped making any kind of sense at all. "Alcatraz", I liked… I already knew it had been canceled and wouldn't have an ending when I started streaming episodes, like with "Carnivale", but it was good enough that I knew I really wanted to see as much of it as was ever going to exist. Generally the supernatural and/or JJ Abrams isn't my cup of tea, but I thought this show was extremely well done. The cast is top-notch and the premise really grips the viewer. I'm sorry they never got a chance to wrap it up.
  • I can't understand why all this hate, this is a great show. Abrahams (as i think it is spelled) gives exactly what he promises, a show with an interesting plot to follow, some good characters and a mysterious conspiracy for which the more you learn the most you want to stick with it until the end I loved lost, I loved its style and that is exactly why i will continue to watch this series, hoping not to stop before it is supposed to. Watch it, give it some time, lost wasn't all that great from the start. I am sure that after 2 or 3 episodes you will be captivated. J.J did it again and i am sure that this sci-fi genius has many aces up to his sleeve. All of you who don't believe, think of lost and fringe, and if you haven't checked them yet, don't waste any time. Stop hating,start watching and i am sure you will be pleased
  • Before the pilot episode aired, there was a lot of hype generated by the degree of marketing the producers of the show invested in, towards its success. Naturally I was excited too, the show possessed that spark of intrigue and mystery that I so desperately craved. However, upon watching the first few episodes, I was disappointed upon discovery, that the show was merely your stereotypical and unoriginal crime thriller. Despite the paranormal twist, the show incorporates similar elements from other crime dramas like 'NCIS' and 'Criminal Minds', where the protagonists piece together puzzle pieces to find themselves a killer and save the day. I can only hope that the storyline loses that boring and unoriginal linearity as it progresses, but the ugly truth is, I've already given up.
  • I got into the show more or less by accident, and because my nature of not wanting to give up on something right away once I've start it, I ended up watching the entire 1st season.

    I know plenty have done so already, but I have to compare it to Lost because of one reason, and it's not the time jumping aspect of it: Lost had me hooked from the opening scene all the way through the first 3 seasons. Right away, from that first stare of Jack's eye, his run through the jungle, the mayhem on the beach, I knew it would be an interesting show to watch. With Alcatraz I never got to a point of really caring what will happen. I never got invested in any of the characters. Another review here said that the show would have been much better had it stayed in the 60's all the time, and I have to agree. The scenes from that era are all great. You're immediately questioning the wardens motives along with his lackeys, and the back stories of the criminals promised much more potential than any of the stories for the present day people. And did I mention the warden? Must say, I think Jonny Coyne does an awesome job with his character.

    In the present day parts of the show, everything is much more cliché. You have the tough female lead, the not so tough but brilliant side kick, a shady boss, the good mentor with a gray story of his own... And then you have the crime of the week which you can be 100% certain will get solved, already simply because the episode names suggest who's turn it is to be processed. Basically, it all plays out like any other crime drama on TV at that point, except you already know who the bad guy is. I don't think it's the fault of the actors really that the show doesn't take off. They're just not given an interesting back story to develop from. Let's be honest, the good cop trying to understand her past and having to chase the black sheep of the family in order to do so is not exactly ground breaking story telling.

    Also, like another review stated, it is somewhat weird how little interest the task force shows in trying to figure out "how and why" the bad guys keep popping up from the past, instead they're always focusing just on catching them and putting them back in their cage. That doesn't feel like a good game plan. It's like always just putting a bucket on the floor when it rains instead of trying to fix the leak in the roof.

    The somewhat strong rating of the show here on IMDb would suggest that it could get a second season, and the last episode does leave enough of the plot unsolved for it to be possible. But I doubt I'll be tuning in for another go at this one.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Alcatraz looks better than it is because its weaknesses are masked by:1) good camera work/cinematography, 2) good production design/costume design, 3) good editing, 4) decent enough music score, 5) many good actors, and 6) Sam Neill. Check him out in The Tudors, My Brilliant Career, and The Piano.

    Will Sam Neill turn out to be the big bad antagonist? Well, he certainly can get the job done...if the writers can do a hell of a lot better. Unfortunately, Sarah Jones can't get even half the job done as the protagonist. Sorry, nothing personal, but she's gotta tumble off a rooftop (in the storyline)--or this series is gonna tank. Jorge Garcia is a good actor but just miscast. Same might prove true for Parminder Nagra. Only time will tell, depending on both her and the writers.

    Makeup department applies foundation and eye makeup with too heavy a hand, especially on Garcia in brightly lit shots. Conspicuous makeup distracts me, just as glitches in the story do.

    The pilot for Alcatraz was mediocre. The pilot for Lost remains one of the best I've seen in recent years. Will tune in for a few more episodes. Thank Sam Neill for that.
  • supermaling311 March 2012
    Hey all..

    I have read some reviews here on the site for this show. And people are giving this 5 stars and has only seen 17 min or the first 2 episodes. Come on guys make and review when you at least have seen 5 or more episodes. Its a slow start but this show is getting more interesting further it goes! Maybe they could have found a better Female cop for this show but overall the acting is good and the story is getting better and better. I will look forward to see where this series is going!

    Sry for the bad grammar but i am from Denmark :-)
  • brandonsullivan9118 January 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    I have to let go of Lost, I know this. I keep getting amped up for the next awesome sci-fi show and I am let down time and time again.

    Alcatraz is OK. I don't have time to watch just "ok" TV. I gave up on Alcatraz 17 minutes into the show.

    Right from the start the show bothered me. The setting is the 60's, two guards land on the island for some kind of prisoner transport. The old wise guard says "hey sonny boy get your gun out this is bad, no one is here to greet us..." (more or less) and the banter continues about how strange this is and finally when they finish their walk through the prison and see that the whole dang place is empty (GASP!) then they finally decide to radio this factoid in. HMMM, in real life I think the second a police procedure breaks protocol they radio it in and go to high alert.

    Flash to present day. One of my favorite gags in the biz is used...a young kid wanders into restricted Alcatraz areas (parents checked out and clueless, zero security in place to stop a child?) and finds a hobo man sleeping. Kid screams and everybody clamors to the kid to see what is going on. Come to find out that this hobo man is really an old fashioned criminal time traveled from the 60's! Cool.

    We then get introduced to the emotionally damaged female lead detective. She follows some clues to Hugo Reyes, er, some new cool person in this show who owns a comic book store. Hugo Reyes wrote a book or something about Alcatraz and detective lady thinks he can help.

    Their conversation is painful, predictable, and not funny. At this point I sigh, glance at my dinner fork and think about poking myself to feel something. Instead I turn off the tube and read.

    I deserve something better, so do you! I would pass on Alcatraz.
  • This is the second Lost-type show to spin up this year and it's not the best. It borrows heavily from cop/buddy movies ("He killed my partner! I want revenge!"), Prison Break, Quantum Leap, and typical present day Vancouver syfy/horror serials for the pre-teen bunch. The characters, especially the escaped criminals, are more like comic book caricatures than real people. It uses the same techniques as Lost and Once Upon a Time to slowly reveal its mysteries. Unfortunately it doesn't have any profound or compelling theme motivating the story, like redemption or the nature of good and evil in people. The acting in the regular cast is good, partially because most of the actors (Neil and Garcia) have already played characters exactly like the ones they're doing here. The main problem with the show is that, like in Prison Break, each new tidbit of the big mystery they reveal makes it seem just that much more cheesy and far-fetched, instead of inspiring or enlightening. It's just not special.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Brought to us from most of the team responsible for the greatest TV show ever...Lost ! Music by giacchino,direction by jack bender and produced by JJ Abrams, throw in some familiar faces Neil and garcia and sure to be a winner right? ...... Wrong! I was so looking forward to seeing this for some time but after 2 episodes I gotta say i'm left disappointed. The plot is yet another time travel thread but woven this time around weak characters which I find as a viewer uninteresting or attached to. There is very little character build up so the show is fairly fast paced but at the same time quite predictable. Unlike Lost, which grabbed and sucked me right in on the first episode Alcatraz did not, but as a big abrams fan I will mush on and continue to watch at least till the end of the first season. Thank the lord we still got Hurley!
  • sagei22 January 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    That's what watching it felt like.

    Lame cop show dolled up with spatiotemporal hocus pocus.

    Problem with hocus pocus is that Lost went and poisoned that well.

    If you could delude yourself with talk of "purgatory" last time, then you should be okay. Otherwise you will cast a decidedly jaundiced eye on this one.

    No, you won't like what you see.

    Sam is suitably sombre.

    'Hugo' is competent straight man.

    Elfin cop is cute but her pants and shoes make her look like an urchin escaped from some Dickens adaptation.

    Music tries desperately to convince that things are oh so mysterious and exciting.


    Villains were laughable.

    As was the plot.

    Guess they are hoping you will swallow the "unexplained" as easily as the leads.

    Elf blindly dives in headfirst because "my grandfather killed my partner".

    This from the alleged hard-boiled cop.

    FBI guy devoted decades to waiting for these guys to reappear but apparently never bothered to examine the files and effects in storage. He had to wait for these two to show up and solve the cases using that information.

    Instead he built a spanking new replica of the prison.

    Not to mention a command centre that looks remarkably fake coming as it did on the heels of shots of the real prison.

    The 'missing' number in the hundreds and include guards and prisoners. Theoretically sews up a lot of episodes. However on current evidence such a life expectancy seems wildly optimistic.

    Abrams needs a makeover. Should distance himself from stuff like this until he finds something that is genuinely compelling and coherent.

    Wish them well.

    Thank you.

  • nasfhs0430 January 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    After watching a few episodes, I think the show is a keeper...for now. When I first heard Fox was developing a story like this, I literally laughed and thought they were crazy. My opinion has changed.

    If you liked X-Files or Cold Case you will like the show. I get that vibe from the show. The show's developing story line brings you back to the 1960's to where it all started. The story starts 3 years before the inmates disappear. You get the feeling there are sinister actions in taking place well before the disappearances occur.

    Sam Neill and Jorge Garcia are great in this. I would even go as far to say Johnny Coyne is great too. Johnny Coyne plays the warden and he puts evilness at another level.

    The show will only get better if Sarah Jones' acting gets better. She is the main detective and you can tell she has that "made for TV" background. Right now the inmates roles are very limited. I hope these inmates get extended action as the series continues. Early criminals dropped off in present day. It will be very predictable. Make them less so.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I tune into this looking forward to a new mystery twist and what a concept i thought all the inmates of Alcatraz disappear and come back 50 years later or so. From the first 10 minutes or so i was groaning ,a kid wanders off to non access area of Alcatraz ,no guard notices no parents notice no one notices as if.Big scary secret guy who has spent 50 years watching and planning for the expected returns spills all to female detective and author in like 1 min no warnings, once i tell you you your in or i kill you ,no sign official secret act to ensure keep what about to tell you secret just blam spill the beans and so it goes on, is this show aimed at 12 year olds there is just so little realism audiences are surely more educated these days by better cops shows reality procedure shows etc etc than to believe this .Shame shame great idea terrible execution .
  • greeniz1818 February 2012
    Well, I'm still disappointed and I've seen the first 4 episodes hoping it would get better. It hasn't. The show has many problems. To name a few....

    1. The female lead. She is not likable AT ALL and how can you fully invest in a show where you don't like the main character? She is unfortunately very miscast.

    2. No chemistry. There is zero chemistry between any of the main characters. Perhaps it's the writing, or just the combination of actors, or the quantity of actors. I don't know, but I'm left not caring at all about what happens to anyone.

    3. The story focus. The trailers reeled us in because they promised a sci-fi and supernatural storyline with a mystery that will slowly unravel through the season(s) about how convicts from '63 showed up in the present. However, what we have gotten so far is a cop show. Each episode focuses on catching a different convict who for some reason just wants to commit a horrible crime right away instead of stepping back and asking themselves why they are suddenly 45 years in the future. That also goes for the protagonists...they don't seem very "freaked out" by any of this.

    I could go on but I think I've made my point. Having said all that, I love Jorge Garcia and Sam Neil, but I'm afraid they are the only quality parts of the show.
  • reeseslightning20 February 2012
    This show is about a group of inmates and guards who disappeared from Alcatraz without a trace in the 60's. After a government cover-up, everyone believes that Alcatraz simply closed and the inmates transferred. Of course, that's not actually what happened. One by one the inmates have started to return and continue their killing ways. It is then left to an "elite" group of terrible characters to round them up.

    The first thing I noticed about this show after numerous episodes is that there is no spark to it. The only thing interesting is the Alcatraz aspect and that's it.

    The casting is good with Jorge Garcia and Sam Neill, but their characters are one dimensional. Neill's character is a flat, second rate knockoff of an "anti hero." He's in charge of the operation and as we learned, has a personal connection with Alcatraz. Of course, he doesn't tell his team this so he acts like a jerk the entire time. He's there for one liners and presence - the latter is great; the former...not so much.

    Garcia plays a comic book guy who supposedly knows Alcatraz and its inmates better than anyone. Naturally, he's part of the team because every team needs a comic book nerd. Garcia's character is mainly there to say who the inmate/guard is and what crime he committed. That's about it.

    Now for the female lead. I don't even remember the actresses' name and frankly, I don't care. Not only is the character unlikable in and of itself, but the actress does nothing to help the situation. The writer's wrote in a pretty, blonde haired blue eyed girl as a cop whose able to play with the big boys until her partner is killed. Then, she's "emotionally damaged." Then she gets recruited into this government branch to deal with the Alcatraz situation. She keeps repeating, "He killed my partner" at this one particular inmate, who just happens to be a big part of the puzzle. Anyway, her character is supposed to be a detective and so she's really clever and sees things: a female knockoff Sherlock Holmes if you will. Only...she isn't. Instead, the character and actress comes off as annoying and irritating. The actress tries to hard to be dramatic and falls flat.

    Actually, the most interesting characters are the inmates. The actors are great and mysterious (as they should be). Often times, I find myself rooting for the inmates than the "heroes." Overall, this show tries far too hard to be a Lost knockoff and it fails. The premise is interesting and honestly, the only reason I stick around is to 1) see the actor who plays Jack Sylvane (an inmate) and 2) to find out what happened with the inmates and guards.

    There is nothing interesting or different about the heroic characters and they fall into a cliché batch of ten million characters that have come before them. Unlike some other shows I watch religiously, this show hasn't gotten better and for the most part, I don't even remember there's a new episode until after its been aired. There's just nothing special to it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Starts off interesting enough. got me watching episode 2.

    However, from the pilot, i couldn't help but notice how mediocre the acting of Sarah Jones (detective Madsen) is. Not at all convincing for her role. She was hardly like-able. If anything, i wished her character in the show would die (and this was by the second episode). The rest of the cast performed as expected of what is suppose to be a hit TV series.

    There were a few tiny loops too. I know it suppose to be fictional (sci- fi?), but still it should still maintain within the boundaries of everyday-life reality. For example, how she knows the answer/reason for a crime within 5 minutes of appearing at the scene of the crime. Or finding the bullet casing in a park after just a minute (when it isn't even positive to be a crime scene)

    I guess the jury is still out for me on this show, but one thing is for sure, detective Madsen must go!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's a typical "one prisoner a week, captured or killed by the end of each episode", like most other crime shows. The three leads don't have memorable performances by a long shot (in fact they're quite mediocre) but every episode ends on an unfinished note, just forcing you to watch it again the next week, making you hooked--and in a good way.

    Produced by J.J. Abrahms' Bad Robot Productions, 'Alcatraz' falls short of other great shows by the same producers, such as 'Lost' and 'Fringe', two cult TV shows. Not to say they don't emit the same sort of vibe. The whole premise of the show is that in 1963, all the Alcatraz prisoners and guards mysteriously disappeared one night and all reappeared in modern-day San Francisco, not having aged one bit. And of course, it's up to three detectives, Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones), Doc Soto (Jorge Garcia) and Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill) to find and recapture them all.

    There are some interesting backstories with the three characters that have great potential but aren't developed too well. Madsen's grandfather was an inmate who recently "killed my parter!!", Soto is (very conveniently) the most well-read person about Alcatraz to ever live and Hauser himself was a guard at Alcatraz all those years ago. Neill is probably the most interesting out of them all and even he isn't that interesting. Garcia seems to be nothing except "awkward comic book guy" and don't even get me started on Sarah Jones. She's boring, has no character and is just a female, more kick-ass version of Sherlock Holmes (though no way as cool).

    Undoubtedly, the series depends on the frequent flashbacks of Alcatraz during the 1960s. These scenes are exciting, well-shot and reveal many plot twists, notably the character of Lucy Banerjee/Lucy Sengupta (Parminder Nagra), who exists both in 1960 and 2012. Other characters who are only seen in flashbacks are Warden Edwin James (John Coyne) and Deputy Warden E.B. Tiller (Jason Butler Harner). The two actors provide chilling performances which I hope will be developed further.

    Like other Bad Robot productions, the show might take a little time to get started and really delve into the action. We just need to give it a little more time.
  • ...not that that's a bad thing.

    Besides the fact that Sam Neill really should give up on any hope of mounting a believable American accent, the premise of the show is intriguing enough -- before Alcatraz ended operation as a prison, all of the inmates and staff vanished, kind of like a Philadelphia experiment on an island gone even more than wrong.

    The execution (ha! funny pun, not), at least in the pilot, perhaps didn't do as much justice to the plot as I would have liked, but at the end of the pilot I was left wanting more, despite Sam Neill's dodgy accent. The rest of the acting was competent, and the entire program seemed a bit reminiscent of previous time-travel sci-fi shows such as 7 Days. It has good pacing and you're unlikely to be bored by it.

    It will be interesting to see where it goes from here.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When I first heard about "Alcatraz," I was intrigued by the notion of mixing a typical procedural with J.J. Abrams' brand of Shyamalan-style crypto-nonsense. It would, I thought, at least keep the new show from becoming the drawn-out exercise in downright silliness that "Lost" became just because it had to keep raising the stakes to create and keep secrets.

    Then the show started. After a few episodes, I started to realize that in addition to plot holes that would have negated the whole series, the show also suffered from just not being that good. At least as a procedural. When I finished the season, I realized that I was right. The big "secret" had been pushed off-screen most of the time to make room for a police drama that just wasn't compelling. Having carried over the mystery to a (presumed) second season, the bulk of the show's running time is given to a big who-cares game of "will they or won't they" with this week's escaped criminal.

    What is eventually revealed about the incidents of this fictitious version of Alcatraz may be fascinating. But so far, the producers have been so free with the chase-the-bad-guy part and so tight-fisted with the rest of it that I no longer really care. I'm not willing to sit through another season of a third-rate cop show just to discover the Big Truth. It just couldn't be worth it.
  • I love the cast it had me watching it without taking my eyes away. I got the storyline but I could see where others may not. It is a first run of the show so therefore you must give it sometime, but I really liked it. The cast was not bad and the direction was great. I don't know if the show will get to 5 seasons but it is a great show. Its very unique from someone like me that only likes Sons of Anarchy, Modern Family. I will be adding this to my list of shows to watch. Many things going on at the same time as the story develops the first time. It has some CSI mixed in with some Castle mixed in with some Law and Order in my opinion at least.
  • mkenyon71928 January 2012
    Love it
    I am definitely addicted to the show. I recorded the first three and watched them back to back. I couldn't get enough. I think they'll have to change the writing up soon to keep people coming back, but so far, it's really good. I think the cast is fantastic. The chick cop is hot, Jorge Garcia is amazing, and Sam Neil is awesome, as usual.

    I found it The Event-esque, so I'm hoping it doesn't plummet after 5 episodes and they keep it fresh. Because Abrams (spelling?) produced it, I have high hopes. I could see this series sticking around for 4 seasons or more. Check it out and give it a chance!

    I found it easy to follow the story line...
  • jason9879828 January 2012
    The show was written by J.J Abrams, who also wrote LOST, my favorite TV show of all time. The show LOST features Jorge Garcia, so seeing as he was acting in Alcatraz, I gave it a go. This is now my new Monday event. The show is cleverly written, and J.J Abrams has not let me down with this show. You definitely should start watching it on Fox's website if you haven't seen the first few episodes, just to get caught up.

    If I gave this show a rating out of 10, I'd give it a 9.8, mainly because the selection of music is wonderful and features great variations of popular Hollywood themes. The music is written by Micheal Giacchino, the same person who wrote music for LOST.

    This show has MANY similarities to LOST, and I hope you enjoy this show as much as I do.
  • selinaltinel5 March 2012
    Mostly I agree with all the critics. But my biggest disappointment is the script. How they solve the problems are ridiculous. I am feeling like the scriptwriters thinks us as stupid.Also I have to disagree with the people who liked Sam Neil in this project. He has constantly the same acting. Sarah Jones costumes are a little bit funny.I had such big hopes about Alcatraz. Sadly I am disappointed. I hope that they will consider all the critics to make it better. Because I have to say the idea is great but handling the subject is not adequate. I know this is a series they have to extend the subject for years but for the first season they should have show other side of the story. Because first season is the time to catch the audiences.
  • Warning: Spoilers

    I gave it 7 because I think there is a decent potential. However, I agree with greeniz18 on most points.

    There is no chemistry between main characters. I do not think it is casting. I think the actors are doing a great job. The series suffers from poor story development and lack of logic.

    1) For several episodes now no one seems to even pay attention to the fact that the series is about time travel. No head scratching and no one seems to be trying to solve the mystery which is the skeleton of the whole show.

    2) Not a single character seems to like the skin they are in. Inmates are a given, but the 3 main characters also feel like they are forced to do what they do.

    3) Anyone who hasn't seen this show yet can literally watch the first episode and then just read synopses for the rest. It basically just reveals one inmate per episode. They appear in 2012, have no idea how they got there and don't even care. They quickly continue doing what they did before they ended up in Alcatraz. At this rate it will probably take them about 2 seasons (or so they hope) to just do that without revealing anything as to what force or thing or person caused them to jump several decades into the future.

    4) I don't know if I should memorize each inmate or not. a) If they all have something unique to do with the plot, then it is a disaster similar to Heroes where they turned a great idea into a national memory test with the number of characters. b) If they are just a part of some over-caffeinated villain's plot to do something naughty to an as yet to be determined geographical area, then the one episode per inmate approach is an epic waste of airtime.

    The series is dead in the water but only because the crew decided to turn off the engines.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    j.j Abrams is a name to reckon with but his tea is not always sweet,this is the impression with which i watched the pilot episode of ALCATRAZ.

    Keeping J.J Abrams aside,the writers of Alcatraz are also credible(the writers of lost,kyle X,deadwood) remember these shows??They were awesome right??

    Now,coming to Alcatraz,the main plot is intriguing ,it brings back the same mysterious atmosphere that once LOST had created.The pace of unfolding of the story is fast,the viewer will not be bored for a second.The writers have successfully sprinkled elements of mysteries,eeriness which tease the viewer from time to time.

    In the end i was left asking for more...that should be enough for any one in two minds about the it have fun.. i'll give it a solid 8 out of 10....lets see where the show takes us from a very promising pilot..
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