Comic-Con reaction: What fans had to say about J.J. Abrams' new series 'Alcatraz'


Image Credit: James Dittiger/Fox

Could J.J. Abrams have another hit on his hands? Or is his new series Alcatraz, debuting this fall on Fox, an all-too-familiar tune?

The audience members flowing out of the last night’s Comic-Con screening in San Diego seemed largely to agree that Abrams’ stamp was all over this new mystery (duh) series, which stars Sarah Jones (Sons of Anarchy), Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), and Lost alum Jorge Garcia. But the twist-filled, time-jumping hour proved to be a lot for some to take in. Here are some of the reactions EW got at the exit door:

Chris Brewer, Sacramento, Calif. — “It was really cool. I really like J.J. Abrams and it felt like one of his. It’s a cool idea and I think they can do a lot with it. It had that Lost feel to it — there were a lot of questions. It’s a little bit supernatural, but also grounded. I like the Alcatraz [prison] setting.”

Jay Glatfelter, Raleigh, N.C. — “It was very good. Good mystery. I’m definitely intrigued. I’m a big Lost fan so I had big expectations and it met all of them, I think. I mean, Lost is very unique, so I wouldn’t say it’s a new Lost, but I’d say it’s a good mystery show that’s going to be enjoyable. The casting was great. I enjoyed [Sarah Jones] and Sam Neill — he looks just like he did in Jurassic Park, which was pretty awesome. And I’m a big fan of Jorge. The cast seemed to gel really well. For a pilot, it was very smooth. … I wouldn’t put it with the Lost pilot — that was a blockbuster. But as a pilot, it was enjoyable and set it up well. It has me locked in for the full season.”

Falen Weil, Downey, Calif. — “[I saw] enough to know that it looks like everything else J.J. Abrams has ever done. It looks like a re-hash — someone wakes up and doesn’t know where he is. There’s time travel. I don’t know what to think yet. I tend not to like pilots; they’re the worst part of the series. The writers don’t know if they’re being picked up so it’s not fleshed out like the series would be. I liked Lost a lot, especially the first few seasons where all the character stuff started to happen. But [the Lost pilot] left you with a longing to know what was going on. There was more of a reason to watch and keep watching after the first episode. [Alcatraz] looks like the same thing re-hashed without the polar bears. [But] I like to stick around for three of four episodes. If it gets better, then I keep watching.”

Chris Bajkiewicz — “Bad Robot at its best. It’s good stuff, multi-layered. There are a lot of tosses and turns, lots of mystery. …There’s already a mythology set up and J.J is big on mythologies. There are questions you immediately won’t be able to answer until you’re deep into the mystery. It draws you in. … At first I thought the other agent was going to be a shadow of Olivia Dunham on Fringe. But she’s got a whole different story behind her, a different character.”

Based on your fellow fans’ reactions, what are your hopes (…and concerns) about Alcatraz, TV Insiders?

Read more:
15 Comic-Con sneak peeks
‘Lost’ vet to help produce ‘Alcatraz’
Thursday, July 21: Today in Comic-Con

Comments (54 total) Add your comment
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  • Jay

    You had me at “time travel”…

    • krayzeman

      SO had me at “time travel…” lol

  • Stacie

    I am weary in a post-Lost world. Will the mysteries pay off? Will Sam Neill’s character die in the first season? Will there be pelicans? I think I’ll wait it out a few episodes and see.

    • Mike

      I’m sure I’ll get slammed for this but LOST had a pay-off, so why wouldn’t this? :-)

      • Barnie

        Not from me. I totally agree.

      • Mick

        Me either! I was satisfied with the ending.

      • Zhahid

        Totally agree, glad to read there are fans who ‘got’ the ending! Lost will always be the greatest show ever made for me. I love that show and it will never be replaced.I loved the ending but remember its about the journey not the final destination!

    • Dava

      Will they all just go to heaven at the end? I too am weary in a post Lost world. I’m interested in a mystery show but I don’t want to have those mysteries go unsolved.

      • Mike

        LOST was pretty much an “open-ended” mystery show where they just piled on mystery after mystery. Yes, some minor mysteries may not have been resolved in the end, some were resolved satisfyingly and others were resolved but not to some viewers’ satisfaction. There are shows with a more controlled approach to mystery television and of course J.J. Abrams is one of the brains behind that too….FRINGE. Answers come more quickly but there are still some mysterious elements that drive the show’s mythology onward. But can kind of tell that they have an end goal in mind. From what I’ve heard so far of Alcatraz, it would seem that it’s going to follow more of the Fringe approach than LOST’s. They’ll have there overall mythology but there are probably going to be more procedural episodes in between with a “prisoner of the week” type approach. Each resolution bringing them one step closer to unraveling the conspiracy.

        And for the record, “THEM GOING TO HEAVEN” in the end was just one interpretation of what happened when they MOVED ON. There was a bright light on the ISLAND that they were protecting that was the source of life, death and rebirth, right? And they were flooded with a bright light in that “sideways church” right? Hmmm something to think about. I will always maintain that the “REWARD” of watching LOST was “WATCHING LOST” not waiting for some ultimate answer that everyone anticipated at the end that would make sense of everything. It was a show with a SMOKE MONSTER terrorizing people who survived a plane crash on an island that no one can find. How can you make sense of that!?!?! Wacky, Crazy, Wild, AWESOME show.

      • Mike

        ouch..I apologize for using THERE instead of THEIR. It just pains me whenever I do that! :-)

      • Serena

        @Mike Great comment! I also loved LOST’s approach to mystery. I really enjoyed the “open ended” structure of the show. No show will ever take me on a ride like LOST did.

      • MCS

        Mike, you are absolutely right about the reward of LOST was ‘watching LOST’. Most people don’t seem to get that.

      • Mike

        Thanks Serena and MCS! Doesn’t take much for me to get riled up and defend the show! :-)

  • Vince from NYC

    I’m still trying to fill the Lost void. Fringe overlapped so I got used to having two mysterious shows of the sort. The Event couldnt’ keep my attention, Flash Forward was cool but cancelled. I’m excited, hopefully this can be the one. I just finished Jericho on Netflix, which I relly liked and wish I noticed it when it aired originally. I guess if more people noticed, it would still be around.

    • tracy bluth

      I agree. For me, Fringe is filling the X-Files void, but I still need something to fill the Lost void. I thought The Walking Dead would fill that void, but the show has too many problems with the characters and relationships.

      • Mike

        Nothing will ever fill the LOST void I don’t think. But over time as more quality shows come out, we’ll just be so occupied that maybe we’ll stop looking for that NEXT LOST all of the time! And then there’s always a hope that when these shows end we’ll be hoping to fill the FRINGE, Alcatraz, Walking Dead voids! (disagree btw….TWD is a fantastic show and I don’t see the character problems after 6 episodes)

  • Antonio of Gilead

    Bad Robot Rules!!!

  • Amy

    I am tired of shows trying to be the new LOST because they never are nearly as good. However, this is from J.J. Abrams, Jorge Garcia (whom I love), and I think I am correct, at least one LOST producer, Jack Bender. Therefore, I will watch, hope it is successful and let it at least temporarily fill the LOST void.

    • Mike

      Jorge Garcia already has been quoted saying to not go into this looking for the next LOST. I don’t anything is trying to make the next LOST. The show was a phenomenon where all the right pieces fell into place at the right time. It’s tough to duplicate a miracle! Now the networks and their marketing teams may try to promote these things as the NEXT LOST. (see ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” trailer that highly promotes the LOST writers Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz as the showrunners) but that doesn’t mean the production teams behind the shows are “TRYING” to be the new LOST. We just have to give these shows a chance and see if they grow into great shows on their own!

  • James Ford

    That Falen Weil sounds like a miserable person. A glass half empty type of person for sure. I can almost picture Debbie Downer…errrrr….Falen….grimacing as they explained the pilot. I’m excited for the pilot to air. Anything with Stay Puff is worth watching.

    • K

      I agree! Anything with Jorge Garcia is worth watching! I always loved him on Lost, but he sang one line when he participated in the Emmy opening number with Jimmy Fallon…and now he’s one of my celebrity crushes. :) A fun guy with a great singing voice will do that to me!

    • Peter

      Heaven forbid someone be a little critical and not unthinkingly lap up everything JJ tosses out. He’s completely right about pilots, and he acknowledges pilots are usually not as good as the series.

  • Alex

    If folks love “Lost” so much, I’m not sure how much of that can really be attributed to J. J. Abrams. Sure, he was one of the creators and I’m certain he had a certain degree of creative input, but shouldn’t Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse be given the lion’s share of the credit?

    • Two Headed Sex Beast


    • Mike

      Technically yes, but Elizabeth Sarnoff and Jack Bender are attached to Alcatraz too and were very involved with LOST.

    • James

      I give Lindelof and Cuse complete “credit” for how awful Lost became in it’s last season.
      Hopefully, they’ll never have any involvement with Alcatraz.

      • Zhahid

        Awful? you must be out of your mind. Season 6, wasn’t the best season but had the best episode ever, Ab Aeterno and it had the series finale. They finaly gave us major answers. I’d say it was far, far from awful.

    • Barnie

      JJ is Yoda and Damon is Luke.

  • Kevin

    J.J. Abrams ROCKS “Alcatraz” no pun intended there. :)

  • nitemar

    None of the new shows has filled X-Files void for me –not even Fringe craze–hopefully Terra Nova and ALcatraz will. :)

  • jimmy

    I am leary but it’s JJ so it’s worth a try

  • jc

    didn’t see the pilot. When he says “time jumping” does he mean time travelling (the same character at the same stage at different times) or is it just showing different times in once character’s life? Not sure if I’m willing to absorb time travelling again. At least Jorge will be there to explain it but I didn’t see Miles anywhere in the credits to help him out

    • Mike

      I didn’t see the pilot but I saw the trailer. I may be mistaken but I believe a group of prisoners from Alcatraz’s past DISAPPEARED in the PAST and they start showing up wreaking havoc in the present day. It’s the basis of the conspiracy of “why/how is this happening and what’s it all about?” Again, I could be very mistaken.

      • Brian

        That’s what I took away from the trailer, as well.

  • 3reddogs

    I wasn’t the least bit enthused about Alcatraz until I saw the trailer a few weeks ago. Have been totally psyched ever since.

  • Carol

    Are there ever any WOMEN at Comic-Con to ask these questions to?

    • Peter

      You’re projecting your own prejudices — why do you assume none of Chris, Jay, Falen, and Chris are women?

  • Elbyem

    LOST “rehashed without the polar bears” sounds good to me, since ultimately the polar bears turned out to have no meaning whatsoever…

    • Mike

      Well they were there for DHARMA research and after mastering their Fish Biscuit machinery, they were brought to a colder climate (ORCHID STATION) to operate the Frozen Donkey wheel and study electromagnetic activity. Turning the wheel, transported them through time…and having Charlotte find the polar bear fossils one day. They also identified the issues with females sustaining a full-term pregnancy had something to do with electromagnetism giving us the answer that the INCIDENT in 1977 caused an Island-wide issue with pregnant women on the Island.

      Hey, I didn’t say it made sense but there was enough detail on the show (and the epilogue) to explain what they did on the island and why there were originally there.

      • Zhahid

        Exactly, thank god some people have brains!

    • Peter

      Agreeing with Mike. Of all the mysteries of Lost, the polar bears were probably the most thoroughly answered.

      • Barnie

        They did everything but draw us a flow chart.

    • MCS

      Agree with Peter, the polar bears are the most well answered mystery on LOST. If you have a brain.

      • Zhahid

        Thank you. Sick of all the negative bull from people who don’t have brains. Lost wasn’t the most difficult show to understand, it was simply the best show!

  • jay

    does everythign have to be compared to lost? i look forward to ANYthing jj does… ALIAS will always be my favorite.

    • Zhahid

      Alias was the reason why I watched Lost but LOST blew Alias right out the water

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