Didn't want to start a whole new thread for the show since it'll likely be cancelled soon anyway...
So I watched the 2-hour premiere last night, which was really just two episodes cobbled together. It has potential, but so far I'm feeling more "meh" than anything.
The simple premise is that, in 1962, 300+ inmates and guards (essentially everyone in residence) simply disappeard off Alcatraz. Now, 50 years later some of the inmates have begun showing back up, without having aged a day, and are seemingly picking up where they left off, settling old grudges while also performing specific tasks at the instruction of an as yet undetermined group or entity. A small government task force has been charged with tracking down and recovering these inmates as they reappear and unravelling the mystery behind where they went and who is behind it all.
Sounds awesome right? Tons of potential here to play up the creepy angle of how the inmates disappeared and who might be behind it, as well as why they would reppear after so much time and to what purpose. Unfortunately the show seems to concentrate more on being a procedural crime drama based around Alcatraz. Each episode highlights an inmate who has returned. Rather than being a fish out of water, these guys seem to be at least somewhat versed in what to expect, and have been supplied with cash and equipment with which to carry out their assignments. The task force essentially identifies which inmate is on the loose, does a profile of them, and tracks them down based on a combination of regular detective work and historical data on the inmate and Alcatraz provided by Jorge Garcia's character who is a professor of history with a specialization on Alcatraz.
Even as a procedural the show feels hollow. Giant leaps of logic are made on little to no evidence, and suspension of disbelief is heavily relied upon in situations like a sniper being loose in the city and no other law enforcement agencies seem to be asserting themselves, instead leaving it to the Alcatraz Group to solve the crime and save lives (which they fail to do at least once). Finally, it all ties together in a super secret remote site prison complex that has been created to house these inmates that have returned from the past. In this complex we're led to believe that the inmates will be interrogated and the mystery unravelled as to what exactly happened to them and who is behind the whole thing. Of course, in true television fashion, the prison seems to be in some remote section of forest in Oregon, yet it only takes Sam Neil's character like 20 minutes to get there from Alcatraz/San Francisco.
All that said, there were some interesting twists to the show, and the characters are generally likeable (at least Garcia and the detective are, Sam Neil is yet to be determined on that front). I'm curious as to how it plays out, though I seriously doubt we'll get much insight into that anytime soon since it's an Abrams show. They do need to tighten up the believability though. With 300 inmates to return, and each one so far killing an average of 5 people, San Francisco is rapidly going to become the murder capital of the world at the rate they are progressing.