What I’m Watching: Alcatraz

I was a LOST junkie for years and, when it went off the air, was left a man without a show. I had a deep love for the way it would tell stories, make me question, and drag me on for the adventure. I thoroughly loved the deep sense of mystery that the show inspired and loved even more the rich sense of story it had to it. Since its departure from the TV landscape, there has been somewhat of a void, a void that is starting to be filled. Shows like Fringe and J.J Abrams newest show Alcatraz seem to be filling.

I have been a fan of Fringe for a while and love watching it for the mystery and the evolution of story it has produced. I’ve just recently gotten into Alcatraz but have become a fast fan of it. The show sets the island prison as a source of much of the mystery. The story goes something like this: In 1963, 302 prisoners and guards up and vanished from the island leaving no trace behind. Fast forward to the present and you have the strange case of these 302 people showing back up, one by one, as if nothing had happened to them. They are the same as they were when they vanished all those years ago.

The main cast, for the time being, consists of Emerson Howser, former guard of the prison and current FBI agent, Detective Madsen, SFPD detective, and Dr. Soto, comic book shop owner and Alcatraz historian. These characters uniquely coexist and find new and interesting ways of cracking the mystery of these prisoners though, Emerson Howser, the task force’s leader does seem to be holding out on us quite a bit.

In addition to Howser holding out on us, it seems that Madsen has a point of interest in her as well. It turns out that her grandfather, Tommy Madsen, was an inmate who presumably returned first and then killed her partner. Through the use of flashback, we often see Tommy having his blood tested in the prison infirmary or being mistreated in some fashion. It is being hinted at that he may have something to do with the disappearances though, it is still unknown.

Overall, this is a good show. It is somewhat repetitive as the formula seems to go, prisoner reappears, Madsen and Soto go looking, flashbacks ensue, and they catch the guy. It was slow to start like Fringe was but I can already see it picking up momentum. It isn’t as complex as Lost was yet but, I can kinda seeing it going the way of Fringe and becoming that over time. I hope it stays around for a while as it is pretty good and seems to tell a story effectively.


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