Category: Alcatraz

  • JON HASTINGS WAS RIGHT

    My friend Jon Hastings pointed out a couple weeks back about how unlikely it would be that the SFPD would be the ones to track down a perp in a Colma graveyard, and I went through some heavy mental contortions to try to convince him that of course they have no jurisdiction, but in hot pursuit a case could be made and he begrudgingly agreed. But last night was such a mess of not-even-trying-to-get-it right that from now on I’m not even going to point out the geographical and cultural differences between San Francisco and the “San Francisco” in which this show is set, because they’re not really even trying. And by “from now on” I mean “after this one.”

  • IT’S MY PARTY AND I’LL CRY IF I WANT TO

    I’m just going to assume you saw last night’s episode of Alcatraz, because if you didn’t, why have you clicked through to this? I ask you.

  • IT’S NOT SO MUCH A MATTER OF WHERE WE ARE, BUT WHEN WE ARE

    I really, really want to like Alcatraz, but it’s just not the English major Super Bowl that LOST was. One of the drawbacks of the Alcatraz set-up is that it’s the anti-LOST. The reverse of the LOST premise. Instead of wondering what’s happening to all the pretty people on the mysterious Island, we’re wondering what’s happening with the premise. Instead of cluing in on approachable characters, who the audience roots for to solve the mystery that unfolds in puzzle pieces, in Alcatraz the audience is presented a mystery and then doled out characters who themselves are puzzle pieces in the strange goings-on. If these two shows were desserts, LOST would be a great big cake with a gooey inside, and Alcatraz would be a collection of eggs, flour and sugar on the counter which will be a tasty cake someday with a little application of effort. I’m not saying it’s not a cake; it’s just not a cake yet. Which I suppose is appropriate for a show that hinges on time-travel of some sort.

  • VOTE FOR ME

    One of the easiest ways to get the audience on your side right away is to put a little kid into jeopardy. Parents will freak out and join the story right away for obvious reasons, and everyone else recognizes the drama inherent when there is an innocent in trouble. But it’s a cheat. It’s like Brad Pitt showing up on Friends during sweeps week; it’s like having a 20 year old Dominican pitching your Little League game. It happens, and the that’s how the world works, but folks paying attention find it distasteful nonetheless.

  • THAT’S MORE LIKE IT

    One of the things that most Lost wannabes fell short on was the big splash in the first ten minutes. When the inciting mystery of The Event could be figured out just from the marketing in the months before the show aired, that doesn’t really bode well for mystery fans. Threshold, Surfaceā€¦ there was so much odd stuff happening before I knew anything about the characters it was just hard to see anything in it other than show runners trying to parse why everyone loved Lost so much. It’s the smoke monster and the time travel and onion-layer of the mystery, right? Where those previous shows missed the boat is obvious: they were trying to replicate the commercial success of Lost without understanding why the story resonated with the audience, first.