Alcatraz (FOX) "Pilot" & "Ernest Cobb" *Spoilers!*

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Jetfire, Jan 16, 2012.

?

What did You Think Of The 2 Hour Premiere?

Poll closed Jan 15, 2013.
  1. ::::::::[ "Pilot" ]:::::

    3.2%
  2. Excellent!

    17.7%
  3. Good

    54.8%
  4. Average

    17.7%
  5. Bad

    4.8%
  6. Horrible!

    1.6%
  7. :::::[ "Ernest Cobb" ]:::::

    3.2%
  8. Excellent!

    14.5%
  9. Good

    43.5%
  10. Average

    21.0%
  11. Bad

    1.6%
  12. Horrible!

    1.6%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area, CA
    So I think it's a foregone conclusion that Alcatraz is going to get cancelled, but I did actually enjoy the episode last night. I am more convinced based on the idea of the brainwashing and what we saw last week that we're going to see the Warden in the Present, maybe in the finale. At least I will be very disappointed if we don't. Not sure how many episodes are left, but we got to be getting close to the finale right? Maybe two more weeks?
     
  2. Icemizer

    Icemizer Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    I think the show might survive another season. Its fairly cheap to do, no FX or CGI work to do. At worst it could end up in the Friday slot right before Fringe, which I would like quite a bit.
     
  3. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007

    Wouldn't that be something.

    Fringe enters it's hypothetical 5th season followed by "Alcatraz" which gets canceled half way through season 2 and Fringe ending on season 5.

    By the beginning of summer 2013 both will be gone.
     
  4. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    I think that there's one episode next week and then the following week is the 2 hour season finale.
     
  5. Procutus

    Procutus Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Location:
    The Prismatic Sector

    I would be quite happy if that happened. I'm really enjoying this, despite the way they're doling out tiny bits of info and storyline to us week after week. The last three eps were good and held my attention, but they need to start revealing a bit more.
     
  6. startrekwatcher

    startrekwatcher Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    I caught up this series after letting it pile up on my DVR and it isn't really very good. I hate when tv shows these days try to do a standalone story and then throw a few bits of arc relevant materiali--tv shows in the past could actually make that work(The X-Files) but for me anymore that just doesn't work since most ______ of the week stories just are disposable filler to pad out the season. It doesn't work for me. The characters are plot devices, the criminals of the week stories makes the series no better than the formulaic stale storytelling of cop shows like Criminal Minds or CSI--yawn. The only thing that is intriguing are the bits about the mystery of the prisoners and the Warden--the only interesting and well acted character on the show. I won't be disappointed when it is canned.
     
  7. Procutus

    Procutus Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Location:
    The Prismatic Sector
    Just an FYI, according to TV Guide, the two-hour season finale airs a week from Monday. There was a short article, and it seems that we MIGHT get a few answers to some of questions we've all been asking.

    No word of cancellation or renewal was mentioned at this point.
     
  8. startrekwatcher

    startrekwatcher Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    I honestly can't see it being renewed. Frankly it has felt like a placeholder on Mondays until Touch was ready to go then when they decided to switch Touch to Thursdays-- a place holder for Bones.

    I suspect this Monday's episode will continue to follow the same formula we've had all season--a generic 63 case and then an interesting cliffhanger. And even if they pull out all the stops for the finale for me it is too little too late. A viewer shouldn't have to be bored by regular season episodes waiting for the really good myth heavy outings(like Abrams' other Fox show Fringe).

    If writers are going to keep doing limited premise programs the tv studios are going to have to loosen the reigns and let the writers do all serialization and not force on them the edict to do standalones for the bulk of the season. The only way a series anymore these days can standout is to forge a unique identity with its arc material otherwise they become indistinguishable than any of the other 10000 generic crime/cop shows--S1 of Heroes is the definitive model in my opinion for shows to follow--Heroes might have degenerated into a hot mess but in its premiere season it had virtually no filler and managed to involve the viewer with its intriguing mysteries, twists, cliffhangers all the while constructing each chapter to be crammed with only arc relevant material and constantly moving the story forward each week and it resolved all its major mysteries by the end of the season rather than not dragging them out for years because they had no good answers to give.

    And even more inexcusable is the fact that a show like Alcatraz with only a 13 episode season doesn't need standalone padding--they should be able to do a tightly focused serialized arc--we aren't talking about a standard 22 episode season.
     
  9. M'rk son of Mogh

    M'rk son of Mogh Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2001
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    ^^
    Do new sci-fi shows that start with heavy serialization do better or worse these days?

    Seems that starting with a strong arc might be the way to a quicker death. At least a slow burn is something. At least on network TV.
     
  10. startrekwatcher

    startrekwatcher Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Personally nothing gets me more invested in a show than an intriguing premise and mysteries set up for a season long arc in the first episode that develop and play out week in and week out. Going all the way back to DS9 I hated when they were in the midst of the Dominion War storyline sidelining it for weeks with a lot of filler esp in S6/7. ENT gave us two seasons of recycled stale stories and only perked up with the Xindi arc in season 3. Fringe's standalones are almost always weak while its myth episodes are compelling and exciting.

    If I knew a series could be consistent in telling standalone stories like The X-Files that would be one thing since the bottom line is I want to be entertained but from personal experience writers these days can't seem to tell fresh entertaing one-offs the way TNG or The X-Files did in the 90s.

    Now that isn't to say that heavy serialization is a panacea for weak writing--as there have been a lot of bad or mediocre tv shows with full on serialization(V, Flash Forward, Surface, Invasion, The Event, True Blood, Rubicon, The Killing, Heroes S2-4, Caprica, The Secret Circle, The River, Harpers Island for instance) but I do see the stronger seasons of the last several years coming from heavily serialized shows(Lost season 1/4/5, Prison Break S1/4, Veronica Mars S1, BSG S1, Heroes S1) with no real strongly consistent and entertaining seasons coming to mind of standalone storytelling except S1 of Supernatural.

    By this point in my life I've seen pretty much iteration of cop/hospital/legal/sff standalones--the only way to not have writers falling back on old chestnuts we've all seen before and done better is to be forced to craft an ongoing arc with unique material crafted especially for it. People want to be invested in a show and the best way to do it is with interesting characters, intriguing mysteries, twists, cliffhangers that make you excited about what happens next. The last thing you want is to get excited then have all that interesting material relegated to the sidelines for weeks while you must endure stale filler episodes that have nothing to do with advancing those storylines or in those storylines playing a peripheral role in the episode. And heavy serialization isn't anything new or groundbreaking for broadcast tv--some of its most successful and popular shows were heavily serialized--Dallas, Melrose Place, St Elsewhere, Hill Street Blues, Grey's Anatomy, Falcon Crest, Knot's Landing etc etc
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  11. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    A Long Time Ago...
    The only real problem with strong arc shows is bringing on new viewers. No one wants to come in on the middle of the story and not know what the hell is going on. That's why from a network standpoint arc mixed with serialization is a good balance. Capture new audience with stand alones, keep them with the arc.
     
  12. Horta Burger

    Horta Burger Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    I'd pretty much agree with all of this.

    The problem with Alcatraz is that it doesn't use its arc effectively. The formulaic "let's meet this week's sociopath and see what the other sociopaths did to him in the past" routine is all but designed to bleed viewers. And it chews up too much time with rote behavior to either effectively integrate the doled out bits of mystery or make the regular characters consistently engaging.
     
  13. Horta Burger

    Horta Burger Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    And that's why Alcatraz is probably dead. Its ratings have fallen too low already given the resistance of new viewers to step into an ongoing arc.
     
  14. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2000
    Location:
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    Arc, what arc?

    There's no mystery in this that wasn't raised in the pilot, and any episode can be played out of order, when they're proving with the fluff up with the golf episode that some idiot labeled as episode 10 and I downloaded for the third fucking time because it's really just episode 8 again.

    they're just asking the same questions over and over again.
     
  15. Procutus

    Procutus Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Location:
    The Prismatic Sector

    I'll agree with you there; given that this is a short intro season, then, then the pacing should've been similar to B5's fourth season, in which they thought that they were going to be cancelled, and JMS churned out a set of tightly-paced eps that kept the momentum rolling along at breakneck speed.

    Basically, I agree with everything you've said, I think the only real difference between us is that I'm still hooked enough at this point to want to see it continue - though I'm afraid that you are probably correct in that FOX won't pick it up for a second season.

    If they do, then the producers and writers are definitely going to need to amp up the action and plot reveals to keep it rolling along.
     
  16. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2000
    Location:
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    Most series if they do well, get the "back nine" earing a full season after a 13 episode freebee.

    Maybe Alcatraz was so incredibly vain that they expected their back 9?

    Especially with so much blood in the water over Terra nova that they could survive being sloppy or boring or both.
     
  17. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    It seems this show is going the opposite direction.

    Usually you start off with a bang and then in later seasons lose steam.

    But this show lost steam quite early and it feels like they're in their 5th season with low ratings and less attention on it.
     
  18. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2000
    Location:
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    So, I'm having a suddenly Susan marathon because I just got my hands on it.

    And in the credits, they're listing the actors, and I shit you not the text on the screen says "And not to mention Jud Nelson" which is just fucking adorable, but then... LOOK! It's Alcatraz in the opening credits!

    Suddenly I'm imagining 63's storming the offices of the Gate (the magazine Brooke works at) taking Suddenly Susan and Kathy Griffin Hostage as a younger Sam Neil kicks the door in and shoots the place up to save the day.

    What other TV has been set on the Streets of San Fransisco?

    (Did you see what I did there?)

    Remind me, is Michael Douglas dead, I'm too lazy to google.

    Richard Hatch replaced him in the later seasons.

    I've wanted to nurse from Brooke Shields since I was young enough to still nurse.

    Shit.

    In how many different shows did Rodney Dangerfield play a repair man on thanksgivings?

    I know there's at least three.
     
  19. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Location:
    Tatoinne
    Exactly what I've been wondering. I keep watching in the hopes there will be an arc. I guess we have to wait till the season and no doubt series finale. Kinda pointless at that point.

    If sf/f series (on broadcast) could do without plot arcs, I gotta wonder where they've all gone. Grimm and Once Upon a Time both have arcs, with the latter using them more prominently than the former. Those being two of the few successful new series this year, no doubt they are being highly influential on the decisions about broadcast pilots this year. (The other big influence is the highly successful sf/f shows on cable - The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Game of Thrones - but most cable drama is serialized anyway.)

    People who want episodic TV can get their tastes met with cop shows and sitcoms. Almost all the broadcast pilots in the sf/f category sound like they will be partially or heavily serialized just due to the nature of the premise. There's one called Gotham that's basically Grimm with a female lead, and set in NYC, but most are like Revolution, Midnight Sun, Beautiful People, The Last Resort, etc - where the premise is an open-ended situation (with or without a mystery) that requires an ongoing plotline.

    SyFy's pilots look like they're going to continue their philosophy that sf/f is impossible without some kind of cop-show element, so that's where everyone can look for episodic genre shows.
     
  20. M'rk son of Mogh

    M'rk son of Mogh Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2001
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    And I bet none of those will get a long run, 2 seasons tops.

    You need the general public on a network, and you need something that they can just jump into and relax with. Speaking in generalities, of course, but there's a reason Grimm is a police procedural wrapped in fairy tales.