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Is there anything compelling about Alcatraz? – Quibbling Siblings

Every week brother and sister team Bob and Debbie take on a new topic. This week, we discuss Monday's premiere of FOX's 'Alcatraz' and whether or not it's worth watching.


One of the big premieres this week was FOX’s Alcatraz. I’ve been looking forward to this show since summertime, and I couldn’t believe I had to wait until midseason to watch. It looked captivating, unique, mysterious and … interesting. Sadly, it is none of those things to me after seeing the 2-hour premiere.

There could be a bit of intrigue around Sam Neil‘s character, and even Lucy, as we now know she was the same age back in 1962. However, the pacing of this show is so godawful slow that I am fidgety in my seat just trying to get through the episode. To make it even worse, I’m rather disgusted by the rest of it. It’s violent, the prisoners are showing no redeeming qualities whatsoever and the inmate-of-the-week storylines are really vile to me. The random sniper was really hard for me to watch. I’m not sure I’m going to tune in again, and that makes me a little sad because I thought the show held so much promise.


I wasn’t terribly impressed. In terms of JJ Abrams shows (though I still wonder how much involvement he has in any of the shows he slaps his name on), it feels more like Fringe than Lost (a show that Abrams didn’t have all that much to do with). I gave up on Fringe after a few episodes because I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters, and much like your complaint about Alcatraz, I found the weekly stories to be overly graphic and non-engaging.

WIth all of that being said, I’m going to give it a little more time. I like a lot of the actors on the show, even if their characters haven’t immediately grabbed me, and there seems to be enough going on besides the goon of the week. If they drag out any sort of compelling overarching story, though, I’ll be gone real quick. I love a slow burn, but not procedurals.

Plus, it’s great hearing Michael Giacchino‘s music again.


I agree about the actors, most specifically Sam Neil. I sort of wish he was still going strong on Happy Town. … Yeah, this show just shouldn’t be a procedural. I really expected it to be more like Lost than Fringe, both of which I gave up on. So why was I excited about this show in the first place?

What aspect of the show do you find the most compelling, if they were to do it right?


I was excited to see Robert Forster¬†on the show. I’m hoping that he is used more than he was in the first two episodes. Of course, it was great to see Jorge Garcia back on TV too, though I think the writers should have just named his character Hurley.

I agree that this show just feels like a crime procedural dressed up like Lost. They need to focus on the compelling aspects. If it turns into a bad guy of the week with a five minute reveal at the end of an episode, I’m just not interested. If they can turn focus to why these people are coming to present day and what they are up to, I could be on board. The problem as I see it is that none of these characters are interesting enough to carry the show over the long term to bear the weight of a mystery. I’ll make a comparison to Grimm where they have a few characters that are fun and engaging and help carry the show through the beast-of-the-week while the larger arc simmers.


Yes, I completely agree about Grimm — the procedural aspect doesn’t bother me in the least.

For Alcatraz, I think I’ll have you watch the next few episodes and then tell me if I should bother. I’m behind on almost every show right now (How good is Sherlock, though? Worth being behind on everything else!), so I just don’t have time to waste on a mediocre and boring (if not offensive) one. You can just write me a report each week … wait! Or I could just read Carla’s reviews. …


Photo Credit: FOX

12 Responses to “Is there anything compelling about Alcatraz? – Quibbling Siblings”

January 19, 2012 at 10:09 AM

I don’t know. When you compare this to Grimm, I’m much more willing to give this a longer leash. I gave up on Grimm after about the third episode — the show didn’t do nearly enough to keep me interested.

I think that Alcatraz is a lot like Fringe, which is another reason why I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. From my perspective, it took Fringe quite a while to get going, using “freak of the week” story lines to really build the world before really getting to “play” in it. So I’m on board, for now.

But, if Sam Neil doesn’t stop overacting soon, I might have to rethink. :)

Oh, and Deb? Watch Sherlock. At this point, you’re only talking about 9 hours of television to get through all 6 episodes produced thus far. It would definitely be worth your while.

January 19, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Oh, I watch Sherlock … I’m halfway through the 6th episode. I meant, “How GOOD is Sherlock!?” not “How good is Sherlock?” :-) One of the best shows I’ve seen in a very long time — love it!

January 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM

My problem is Fringe took too long and I gave up on it during those freak of the week eps.

January 19, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Deb – episode 6 is the best! Hope you have some Kleenex handy because you WILL cry (and this is coming from a fellow INTJ).

Bob, I felt that same way about Fringe, but I kept going and did not regret it. If you make it past the first season, Fringe becomes mind-blowingly awesome. So comparing Alcatraz to Fringe makes me want to see it more (although I would watch it for Sam Neill alone).

January 19, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Dude, trust me. I almost quit several times. But Ruby is right, it was well worth the wait.

She says “if you make it past the first season.” I say just skip the first season, save for the finale. That’s when the show really blew the proverbial hatch.

January 19, 2012 at 12:39 PM

I’ll throw in my two cents on Fringe, although I’m sure it’s not unique: it really picks up in the last 1/4-1/3 of S1, then it takes a small step back in early S2, and then is pretty awesome from then on (though I’m sure people will debate S4). The growing mythology does have some roots in some of the S1&2 cases of the week, which makes those episodes more interesting a second time around.

January 19, 2012 at 2:00 PM

I agree. Season 1 is worth watching because there are so many little details that gain significance later, making the unfolding story that much more satisfying.

January 19, 2012 at 7:35 PM

TBH this show reminds me more of Alias than Lost, and that’s because aside the whole secret task force side of it, wherever you’re bored or excited, once you get to the end it makes you go woah! and you turn in next episode. I found the blonde girl uneasy to watch and Sam Nail way too cartoonish in the first episode, also some of the situations presented were way to “easy.” I mean, files from all the prisoners sitting in some boxes 1 barred door away from anyone who walks by? Really?

However, I did enjoy the end of 1st episode very much and made me turn into the 2nd, which I enjoyed more than the 1st.

January 20, 2012 at 11:30 AM

As pilots go, I was very interested. I think it has the potential to be an excellent show in this category of shows–where you really have to accept some silly out of this normal world experiences. Compared to Lost and Fringe, neither of which kept my interest beyond 3 shows, this one looks like a keeper. However, I agree that Sam Neil’s character is a bit much right now. With shows of this same nature, I like GRIMM, it is not in a top category, but is the only one of this type that I find worth an hour of my time.

March 5, 2012 at 7:58 PM

Reading the above I’m reminded of a quip I made in 1998. A friend showed me a website he frequented for the ADD afflicted. I said, “What is it? A place where no one reads each others postings?”
The above blend of hopeful comments about Alcatraz and a debate of the merits of Fringe is laughable. I got here to commiserate with others who believe Alcatraz sucks. The whole world in the balance, secret protectors, super criminals really has run its course.
I’m filled with despair for the unreasoned enthusiasm for this kiddy comic book nonsense and the talented people wasting time and career on fluff.
Grimm also sucks.
Twin Peaks was a break through. X-Files found the commercial formula. Lost broke out to unprecedented popularity (I gave up after 3 seasons).
Whenever a show Jumps the Shark and any damn thing can happen it loses its universe and becomes a pandering entertainment. Not interested.

March 8, 2012 at 11:51 PM

I had such high hopes for this show. I loved Alias, Lost and Fringe. Alcatraz has as much spark as a wet flannel shirt. Hurley…let’s face it…it is Hurley…is not the man for this role. His partner is not cool enough, hot enough or anything enough to care about. I watched 3 episodes and called it quits. The characters are lame and the plots are…lame. This show will have two seasons at most.

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