Get the Scoop on J.J. Abrams' New Series, 'Alcatraz,' Watch the Intriguing Trailer (Video)
It's well-worn territory by now to say that J.J. Abrams is something of a hit-maker.
Every few years, some creative force emerges, someone who has their finger specifically on the pulse of the American audience, and right now, Abrams is that guy. He made a hit out of a science fiction mystery TV show, which wasn't at all an easy feat when "Lost" premiered, made a genuinely fun, pop spy show that harkened back to the 1960s without slavishly calling attention to that.
He even made a "Star Trek" movie that made money and was enjoyed by more than five people.
So when J.J. Abrams tell Entertainment Weekly that a show being "something he would watch" isn't "an arbitrator of what anyone else would watch," I have to ask...Abrams, are you serious?
That gut instinct, he says, is what led him to "Alcatraz," a new series by "Lost" staff writer Elizabeth Sarnoff. The premise of the show dates back to the '60s, and has all of Alcatraz's inmates suddenly disappear overnight. Now, in the modern era, they're reappearing without any signs of aging. So why did they disappear, and why are they coming back now?
Those were two questions key to Fox's decision to pick up the show for series, according to Abrams. "Fox wanted to know what they were getting into, they did not want to get into a situation where it was a completely up-for-grabs scenario."
Consequently, Sarnoff wrote a long document for Fox explaining the central through-lines for the show. "Obviously they didn't say, 'Give us every script synopsis and tell us what happens in the series finale,' but they wanted the main headlines of what the show is about, what the backstory is."
While this will calm viewers who were frustrated with the make-it-up-as-they-go style "Lost" fell into, as someone who actually enjoyed the flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants feeling that show created, I'm not as sold. Then again, for all the joy "Lost" brought week-to-week with that method, it did make for one damned disappointing finale.
As for "Alcatraz," I'm intrigued. The structure is pretty ingenius, combining the thrills a weekly show should be about (with a new prisoner or two coming back each week) with an overall guiding force that's a little stronger than "we're all cops!" but not nearly as exhausting as, well..."Lost." And if that trailer doesn't at least pique your interest, I don't know what will.
The show will debut midseason next year.
Watch the trailer for "Alcatraz":