Alcatraz breaks out strong

It’s been a good year for JJ Abrams so far. The filming of Star Trek 2 is already underway, and Alcatraz has debuted to positive ratings and reviews.

Of course, how the show actually progresses as the season continues remains to be seen, but it’s definitely off to a good start.

Indeed, Variety rated Alcatraz’s debut “solid as a rock, ranking second to CBS and on par with Fox’s other new and returning drama bows this season.” To be sure, among all new dramas this season, only ABC’s Once Upon a Time opened to a higher adult rating.

The New York Times also confirmed an average of ten million viewers tuned in, and that Alcatraz “could be a breakout hit for Fox.”

And how did the critics weigh in on Alcatraz? Mostly pretty favorably so far. The L.A. Times promised “Alcatraz will lock you up,” but cautioned the show wasn’t “rock solid yet.” (Obviously you can’t write about anything Alcatraz related without “rock” and “breakout” puns).

As Mary McNamara notes, “Abrams is a writer who has, in the past, chosen mood over coherent story, with mixed results,” referring to Fringe. Still, she called Alcatraz “among the best the midseason has to offer.”

The New York Times termed the show “an appealing concoction that, at least in the first two episodes… A spunky upgrade over the collection of interchangeable police procedurals clogging the television schedule.” 

The Hollywood Reporter, however, felt “There’s not much payoff to the premise, which is a real shame, because there’s a good show here somewhere.”

Now again, playing on the jail and breakout clichés, a prison break doesn’t successfully happen spur of the moment. You have to plan and go for deep game before you’re ready to make a break for your freedom. So far it seems that Alcatraz is indeed off to a promising start, and can gain a lot of steam from here if Team Abrams play its cards right.

Alcatraz airs at 9 p.m. on Mondays after House.