This week on Why It’s Worth a Watch, Tiffany and I get to discuss some brand new dramas, The Finder and Alcatraz.
When we set about scheduling new shows for 2012, I jumped at the chance to take on Alcatraz. You see, I can’t really recall a project that J.J. Abrams has been involved in that I didn’t enjoy. Unfamiliar with Abrams’ body of work? He was involved in the creation of Felicity, Alias, Lost, and Fringe, produced Person of Interest, and directed Star Trek (the new movie) and Super 8.
Not too shabby, eh?
I find that every J.J. Abrams project I’ve watched seems to do one thing really well – characters.
And we all know how much I love my characters. But first, the story.
In 1963, Alcatraz was shut down and the prisoners were transferred due to unsafe conditions. Or at least, that is what the government told everyone. In reality, the prisoners and guards disappeared. Not escaped. Just, *poof*, gone.
Fast forward to present day to find something even stranger taking place. They are reappearing exactly as they were in 1963. Dr. Hauser (Sam Neil, Jurassic Park) is the FBI agent running a secret task force to find these inmates and guards, referred to as 63s, with his own connections to what happened that day.
He enlists the help of Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones), a homicide detective for the SFPD who has grown up believing her grandfather was a guard at Alcatraz. She brings with the expertise of Dr. Soto (Jorge Garcia, Lost), a writer who is a bit of an expert on Alcatraz, as well as a comic book store owner.
I love the casting choices here, as well as the characters themselves. Sam Neil is authoritative, mysterious, and leaves you wondering if he is a good guy, bad guy, or something in between. Jorge Garcia is charming, adorable, and awkward. If you were a fan of Hurley on Lost, you’ll enjoy Dr. Soto here. Sarah Jones, a relative unknown from just down the road from me, conveys strength without being a one-dimensional character. I love the small details of her character, like her love of eating Dim Sum all the time or the green ’68 Fastback she drives, that make her seem like a real person.
The writers not only present us with interesting characters, but give us pieces of back story to explain who they are. Why would a successful PhD spend so much time with comic books? Why would a young homicide cop agree to work for this secret government organization? Questions like these get answers.
Of course, you’ll have a lot more questions that haven’t been answered yet. But that’s a good thing.
It’s still too soon to tell how successful the show will be, or how excited I will continue to be for the next episode. For now, it receives a solid MacTV rating. If you’ve enjoyed any of the Abrams’ catalog, give this one a try.
Are you watching Alcatraz? What do you think? Who is your favorite character? Remember, no spoilers in the comments! Feel free to discuss details with me on Twitter using the #watchwed hashtag, though. This is the type of show you may want to talk about.
Now head over to Tiffany’s and see what she thinks of The Finder.
Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.
A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:
GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech