Alcatraz, which premiered Monday on Fox, is the new show from producer J.J. Abrams, the mind behind Lost. As you might expect, there are plenty of plot twists and conspiracy theories, and some metaphysical bends that strain the imagination. And just as Lost was only tangentially about a plane crash and a tropical island, the only corrections-related aspect of Alcatraz is its title. This is no Lockdown.
It is, however, an entertaining procedural with plenty of footage of both the real and an imagined Alcatraz – and several interesting flashbacks that give a feel of what The Rock must have been like when it was still operational. The premise is solidly Abramsiam – the day before Alcatraz closed in 1963, 300 inmates and guards vanished, only to reappear in the San Francisco of the present, not having aged a day. The first of these apparitions is an inmate who was falsely convicted and mistreated while incarcerated, and though he commits some present-day crimes that the show’s protagonists must solve, it’s clear that he’s not a 50-year recidivist.
Alcatraz is entertaining and mind-bending and set in perhaps the country’s highest-profile defunct prison. We’ll be tuning in next week… will you?