Alcatraz - 5 Things The Show Needs To Do To Keep Me Watching

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Dear Alcatraz,
It has come to my attention that you intend to be a good show.
Unfortunately, you aren't doing a great of a job of accomplishing that goal. As an individual who appreciates good television, I'd like to see you succeed. It would be a win-win situation for both of us! I'd have something interesting to watch on Mondays that doesn't involve recycled pop songs or a caveman handing out flowers to desperate, self-esteem-challenged ladies. You'd live to see Season 2 and Jorge Garcia wouldn't have to sell jugs of Dharma Ranch Dressing just to make ends meet.

I know I'm no super producer a la J.J. Abrams or a king of television like Fox president Kevin Reilly, but I think I can help you out because I have watched a lot of television in my day and I've also been in jail like five times for heinous crimes. JK on that last part. (I was never caught.)

So in lieu of recapping another mediocre episode of your show, I'm offering you what I think are helpful hints you could implement, in hopes that we can turn this ship around and point it in the right direction. Maybe you'll even be able to incorporate some of these in time for your series season finale! (Gotta think positive here.)


1. Make Rebecca Madsen more than a Barbie RoboCop


I like Sarah Jones. She was absolutely delicious in Sons of Anarchy when she played Polly Zobelle, but on your show, she's just a pretty blonde cop who doesn't know how to have a good time.
If she's a robot, then never mind, you're doing a great job with the character and I should be ignored.
But—and correct me if I'm wrong—isn't she your lead character?
Why do I feel like her only job on the show is to pick up obvious clues and then do something weird (crash her car, shoot a guy in the foot) to catch the crook just as an episode is nearing its end?
Does she have a personal life, or does she just go back to her recharging station and enter sleep mode until she reboots in the morning?
In your original pilot, she had a fiancée. What happened to him? Is she single now? Because I've always wanted a robot for a girlfriend.
'Specially one as awfully perty as her.

2. Stop making the Prisoners of the Week and secondary characters the most interesting people on the show


This kind of ties into item number one, but it's different enough to stand on its own.
Everyone's favorite character right now is Dr. Beauregard, the doc of The Rock.
He's funny, he's sinister, and dammit, he's charming.
He's also something like the twentieth most important person on Alcatraz. Flashback mainstays Tommy Madsen, E.B. Tiller, and Edwin James have also had some pretty **** moments. They're played by great character actors, and even though they're one-note, their notes aren't getting old. Warden James is like totally scary, man!

You also do decent work with your prisoners (and guards) of the week because they have kinky fetishes and some semblance of a backstory.
So, secondary characters and guest stars = pretty good.
You know what's missing? I haven't made one mention of your central trio of characters.
It's obvious you're having more fun in the flashbacks.
So are we.
Watching Soto, Emerson, and Rebecca for an hour each week is like inviting three people I hate over for Hungarian goulash, which I also hate. (Though I have nothing against Hungarians; they're lovely people).

3. Follow up on your damn closing reveals

There's a new super-Alcatraz in the woods?
Let's get a little intel on it!

Dr. Beauregard is alive and well and working in Emerson's new super-Alcatraz?
Let's see him again!

There's a mysterious door in the basement of Alcatraz that's opened with mysterious keys?
What's behind the door?

There's a difference between masterful, suspenseful storytelling and stringing us along like you're a high-priced escort. And you are definitely stringing us along.
We're not interested in quick flashes of the television equivalent of cleavage. The more you do this, the more we don't care.
Next week's episode could end with Godzilla time-traveling to Narnia for a steel-cage match against 200,000 munchkins armed with tazers and won't mean a thing if you ignore it for several weeks after.

(Note to self: Pitch Fox on show featuring Godzilla time-traveling to Narnia for a steel-cage match against 200,000 munchkins armed with tazers. I'm thinking multi-cam comedy.

4. Show some real police work or real crimes


I mean, really! Your cops couldn't catch a cold if they open-mouth kissed an entire first-grade class in December.
And your criminals drop more hints than a girlfriend who's eager to get married!
And whenever there's the faintest idea of a roadblock, it's "ask the computer" time.
If you're going to be part procedural, BE PART PROCEDURAL and don't just throw in a series of steps to kill time while the flashbacks provide the interesting chunk of the story.

5. Don't hold back, just GO FOR IT

Look, you don't get to come into our living rooms and tell us that you're hot shit.
The roles are reversed.
You aren't in control, we—your viewers—are.
Treat every week like a job interview.
I know you want to last 14 seasons (and a movie!) and right now you only have enough story for one and a half, so you're playing the slow game by trickling out details with all the intensity of a coma patient.

But the track record for serialized dramas with supernatural elements is HORRIBLE, and we're an even more discerning audience after flops like The Event, and FlashForward. Wow us. Dump everything you got on us in Season 1.
You only have 13 episodes to work with—what are you waiting for?
Would you rather have a flame-out, one-season-and-done lifetime with a bunch of ideas that go to waste, or survive to see a second season because you had the balls to go for it?
Give us everything up front and use the off-season to come up with new ideas for Season 2.
No regrets, Alcatraz! Dance like no one is watching (or whatever overused idiom you need to get in the mood).

There you go, Alcatraz. Those tips are free. Take them to heart and you'll be on the right track to doing more than just taking up space on Fox's schedule. Oh, and one more thing: Can you stop showing dim sum? It's making me really hungry .

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Thanks N2Y - A good comprehensive review I wouldnt call the 13 tippy though Wonder if there is some distortion there that could be contributing to the pedal fouling and skew tracking on that one? Was it one of the prototypes?

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