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Maybe Should Have Kept This One Locked Up
Alcatraz - Season 1 (DVD)
Member Name: Shellshocker
Alcatraz - Season 1 (DVD)
Advantages: Interesting Story Line,
Disadvantages: Cancelled After First Season
With so many films and TV series coming and going in today's media world, it is quite hard to keep track of your favourite shows sometimes, I find myself dedicated to so many shows at the same time I've got storylines crossed over and sitting on my couch wondering why Friends has moved to a bar and Joey is being called Barney?!
It is quite rare for me to slip away from a TV series that isn't been advertised and reviewed all over the Internet and people praising it on the bus to their friends. So spotting Alcatraz on an On Demand service, I thought I'd give it a quick peak since it had an interesting name and lots of potential having J.J. Abrams associated with it as an Executive producer; it could prove to be as gripping as Lost! Well, considering it got cancelled after the first season, I'd say maybe not, but then again it could be an undiscovered gem.
===Story and Characters===
The storyline of a show called "Alcatraz" will undoubtedly be about the famous High Security Prison which was located 1.5 miles from the San Francisco shore line and the structure of which still remains as a tourist attraction to this day. The reality of the prison is that it closed down in March 21, 1963 due to the prison costing the government too much money to keep it up and running as well as regular instances of poor practise from the staff, the prisoners upon the shutdown of the prison where moved to prisons around the US where they served out the remainder of their sentences. The TV show however takes a different approach on revolving the plot around that the prison wasn't shut down due to upkeep issues but because all the prisoners and staff disappeared and the shutdown was forced, the official story was made up and nothing was said afterwards. However almost 50 years later prisoners begin to appear aged the same as in '63 with a lust for vengeance and to accomplish tasks they were mysteriously assigned. It is then up to a special secret task force consisting of Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones), a police officer from San Francisco who randomly stumbles into a '63 case, Dr. Diego (Jorge Garcia [Hurley from Lost]), who is an expert on Alcatraz and its prisoners, as well as the main agent in the Task Force, Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill), who was a former Alcatraz guard and you find has a lot of deep connections to the place.
Throughout the show, you will be introduced to new prisoners who has reappeared in modern day San Francisco, and they each seem to has a speciality in a specific crime and in each episode you get flash backs to when they were in Alcatraz on their back story. As you watch you being to get to sets of story, in the modern day and in 1963 Alcatraz, and the story slowly beings to merge in the final episodes.
===Thoughts on Story===
When I came into watching a TV show called Alcatraz, I came in with quite strong hopes considering that the Prison has such a strong and interesting history, not only in itself but with the prisoners how were within its walls, containing infamous criminals like Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly as well as criminals who made daring escape attempts and the fact that the prison claimed to have never lost a prisoner to escape to this day. This rich history could produce a fantastic story; sampling from real historic events with slight exaggerations will practically have networks at their feet. So it was to my disappointment to have Alcatraz set with a 'Lost' style story with lots of gaps in the story which leave you wondering and mysteries, which worked fantastically well with Lost, however was a quite a hard pull to do again. Although it was somewhat gripping and I looked forward to each episode, but I always felt a feeling of unforfillment after watching each episode, knowing that it could have been better.
One bit of the show which seemed to un-nerve me in particular is the throwaway attitude to death as in each episode I find people seem to die almost pointlessly with no contribution to the storyline whatsoever. For instance rather than knocking out someone how has walked in on a house robbery, the '63 prisoner will rather stab the witness. It just seems drastic in my opinion.
===Very Disappointing Ending===
Not to spoil anything for anyone still wishing for some reason to see this show, however the ending was extremely disappointing. This was undoubtedly down to the show being cancelled, and a show of its type based of cliff-hangers didn't tie much up during the final episode, leaving us forever wondering.
As I've said numerous times, and have gone on and on about during the review, this show started with high expectations in my mind and I have now been left confused and very disappointed. If the prisoners were based of real prisoners, or at least borrowed some history from the prison, it would have been far more interesting, but it is just a fictional story, based in a non-fictional place. If you liked Lost as I did, this will entertain you as it did me, don't get me wrong, it is a good show, but it should have been much more.
Summary: Not all it was cracked up to be.