SFist, which is often first-to-market on these things, tips us off to this preview video of the upcoming show “Alcatraz,” coming to Fox television in 2012. Back in February, film crews were out in San Francisco streets shooting, and some of that can presumably be seen below. The things that stood out most for me in the preview, however, is the fact that the guy who played Hurley in “Lost” has managed to land a major role, and the distinct lack of local verisimilitude created by long shots of the city skyline and the mention of something called the “North Beach Recreation Center.” But that is carping, to say the least.

Entertainment Weekly
runs a piece today about the show, which was created by the golden boy of TV sci/fi, J.J. Abrams.

The show’s details have been kept under wraps until recently: Alcatraz follows a San Francisco police detective (Sarah Jones) who teams with an expert on the prison (Garcia) after a murder suspect turns out to be a Alcatraz prisoner who disappeared from the island about 50 years ago. It seems the killer wasn’t the only prisoner to vanish — or the only one to return. And now they must stop the Alcatraz escapees as they re-enter modern society without having aged — and try to solve the mystery of how this is happening, and why.

Suggested plot device with a nod to local issues: Have one of the prisoners time travel back to 2011 and run for mayor, only to be tripped up by ranked-choice voting. Or embroil him in the shark-fin soup debate.Think relevancy, J.J; think relevancy.

On another note, a successful show run will perhaps mean more jobs for local actors. (When the 1996-2001 TV show “Nash Bridges” was shot in San Francisco, I knew local actors and crew members who worked on the production.) io9 reported in January on the show’s casting call for locals:

…recent casting call for extras for the Alcatraz pilot has asked for tourists, Chinatown pedestrians, and actors ready to commit to a 2-day shoot aboard the Alcatraz ferry (also portraying tourists).

Video: New J.J. Abrams Show “Alcatraz” Coming to Fox 18 May,2011Jon Brooks


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. In 2014, he won a California Journalism Award for his coverage of ride services like Uber and Lyft and the taxi industry. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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