Alcatraz: The Complete Series
DVD | Box Set
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Alcatraz: The Complete Series (DVD)
When San Francisco Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) is assigned to a grisly homicide case, a fingerprint leads her to a shocking suspect: an Alcatraz inmate who died over 30 years ago. Once the enigmatic, knows-everything-but-tells-nothing government agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill) tries to impede her investigation, Madsen turns to Alcatraz expert Dr. Diego “Doc” Soto (Jorge Garcia), to help her piece together the inexplicable sequence of events. By delving into Alcatraz history, government cover-ups and Rebecca’s own heritage, the team will ultimately discover that this reappearance is only a small part of a much larger, more sinister present-day threat. For while he may be the first, it quickly becomes clear that this fugitive won’t be the last to reappear from Alcatraz.]]>
It's still got that mystique, Alcatraz. Where else would you build a TV series premise about the closing of a prison that resulted not in the orderly dissemination of the remaining prisoners and staff but an inexplicable opening in the time-space continuum that caused the vanishing of hundreds of people? Alcatraz closed in 1963, so the present-day characters in Alcatraz have their hands full, and their minds blown, when the missing folks begin to materialize in San Francisco. This means the 2012 show's double-humped concept has investigators solving a case per episode--these escapees are still up to their old criminal tricks--but also pursuing the overall mystery of what the heck happened in '63. The presence of genre maestro and executive producer J.J. Abrams can't lick this awkward setup; for instance, even with an eager suspension of disbelief, it's tough to imagine that nobody in this alternate universe would have questioned the mass disappearance of that many Alcatraz-connected people at the same moment. It would help, of course, if the characters were something other than tiresomely stock. Sarah Jones plays the cop with a personal connection to the case (rather refreshingly without a romantic interest), Lost favorite Jorge Garcia is the Alcatraz expert/comic shop owner who joins the investigative crew, and Sam Neill grimaces as the hard-as-nails boss man. The show's distinguishing factors include some striking set design as well as truly explicit violence--none of which was enough to sustain it beyond 13 episodes, at which point it was cancelled. The show was obviously meant to be spun out over a good long spell, so--spoiler alert--the "Finale" ends with a cliffhanger designed for an exciting follow-up. That won't happen, and it's not difficult to see why the thing didn't catch on. Special features in this three-disc set consist of a short gag reel and a 10-minute look at the filmmakers and cast talking about the allure of the original Alcatraz. --Robert Horton
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Still and all...this could have been MAGNIFICENT in a second season. I detest Fox for pulling it.
My question is, WHY can this story not continue in graphic novel form?? Hey you producers and writers, if you're reading this, FINISH THE STORY! I want more Senator BadA-- (aka Hauser -- as Sarah Jones so perfectly called him), more Doc, more Becca, more Warden! I wanna know how it ENDS! Bring in Joss Whedon, bring in any of the supremely talented writers and artists working in comics today, and let this continue the same way "Firefly/Serenity" has! At least let us find out what the heck happened!
Kudos to all who worked on this show. It did not deserve the treatment Fox gave it.
Alcatraz, arguably America's most famous prison was closed in 1963 with all inmates transferred, but that isn't what happened the opening voiceover informs us. Instead, the prisoners and guards disappeared into the ether and were never seen again. Until 50 years later when the criminals start reappearing, unaged and unchanged and committing the horrendous crimes they were incarcerated for.
A young detective with a family connection to Alcatraz catches the first homicide connected with the mysteriously reappearing prisoners. Of course no one else knows this and she figures it out fairly quickly with the help of an Alcatraz historian, Dr. Soto. The detective and Dr. Soto stumble on a mysterious organization tasked with catching the prisoners as the reappear and finding out what happened in the first place. The viewer is given hints that this organization is not all that it seems and that the prisoners may have been the subject of medical experiments that may or may not be related to the current predicament.
Perfect combination of weekly arcs for new viewers and longer arcs for those who like to follow a mystery. Mr. Abrahms excells at grab you by the throat openings but sometimes has trouble with middle and last acts. Viewers will have to see if Alcatraz follows this pattern or breaks it. Intriguing and worth a look.
The story is told on parallel tracks, as Hauser, Rebecca, and Rebecca's unlikely partner Dr. Diego "Doc" Soto (Jorge Garcia) pursue the criminals in the present, while their backstories are told in flashback. The hulking Doc, a comic book store owner and expert on Alcatraz, forms a surprisingly effective team with the diminutive but spunky Rebecca, tracking the "63's" while trying to figure out what secrets Hauser might be hiding in his underground command center on Alcatraz. Each show dropped fresh clues on how and why the inmates might have disappeared, and suggest a conspiracy at work. Each show also expands on the separate and somewhat conflicting agendas of Hauser and Rebecca. The series makes full use of its excellent San Francisco and Alcatraz filming venues, including a spectacular "Bullit" car chase scene in the season finale.
"Alcatraz" is something different, part dark police procedural, part science fiction mystery, and all fun. The season finale was a fast-paced and terrifying cliff-hanger; here's hoping the series gets a second season. Highly recommended.