Where is Capone…?

When I first heard about Alcatraz I was sold within minutes, partly because JJ Abrams was involved, but mostly because the sci-fi premise was so intriguing.

In 1963 – as the penitentiary is closed – all the prisoners mysteriously disappear from the island, only to show up again in modern-day San Francisco, without having aged, committing those old crimes all over again. Interesting stuff, right?

Well, it should have been…

Sarah Jones plays the main protagonist – a cop who is tasked with tracking down the ’63s’, as they come to be called. She is moderately pretty to look at, and knows how to hold a gun, but she is instantly forgettable. She has a backstory and that great thing called motivation, but there’s no real meat in her role.

Jorge Garcia plays a doctor – a writer – and the leading authority on all things Alcatraz, but unfortunately he usually just comes off as a poor cousin of Hurley – the character he played in Lost. I guess that’s not such a bad thing, but he seems uncomfortable in his new shoes, and by the end of the run, I still don’t really buy him as a doctor.

Sam Neill plays the guy in charge of the operation, and I suppose he lends the production a little gravitas. He is staunch and dependable, but he never does anything he wouldn’t have picked up in Acting 101. Just a meal ticket for him then.

But the primary problem with the show is not the actors, but how formulaic everything is. Every episode follows the same path, and three episodes in… I’m already bored. It’s no wonder the show was cancelled after the initial run of thirteen. Sure, there is an over-arching story about a mysterious door, and some keys, but it’s not all that exciting when we get there, and we don’t really care what’s behind the door anyway. It reminds me of some of the plot dynamics of the initial two seasons of Lost, but done with much less flair.

Not the worst thing on TV lately, but you could do a lot better.

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