Same location (ish). Same actor (ish). Different story.
Fox’s “Alcatraz” is receiving criticism from TV critics because of the similar plot to ABC’s “Lost.” J.J. Abrams is the genius behind both shows, arguing that there’s only minor similarities between the shows just like with any sitcom or drama on television.
“In theory, any land mass is an island, so you could argue that every show ever made is Lost,” Abrams told reporters at the TCA Winter preview over the weekend. He went as far to say that even “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” could be compared to “Lost.” Despite what critics think, Abrams points out there are a number of differences between the two shows.
“Lost” was set on a “lost island” in the middle of the ocean. There was no means of communication to other islands or civilizations other than who was on the island. “Alcatraz” is set on an island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Though it is isolated, and the most wanted criminals were sent here so they could not escape, the island had access to the main land. Ferries and boats moved the people who lived on the island to and from San Francisco to Alcatraz. The storyline of the show is completely different as well.
“Alcatraz” explores why 300 prisoners and guards vanished into thin air in 1963. As the story progresses, these inmates and guards reappear in present day (2012), but they have no aged. Though the mystery will not be completely solved in the first series, Abrams assures that viewers will not be left hanging- too much.
“You can’t expect audiences to sit there asking fundamental questions for years,” he said. “It’s unfair and it’s wrong. We’re going to make sure people aren’t necessarily banging their heads against the wall, but if we answer every question at the end of season one, that’s never good for any show.”
Check out the two-hour premiere on Jan. 16 at 8/7c.