A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this dark crime drama has significant supernatural elements and occasional moments of suspense that will definitely frighten younger viewers. In addition, the level of violence is sometimes heavy and includes weapon use (shootings, etc.) and occasional scenes of explicit blood and/or gore. Language is relatively sparse but does include "ass," "hell," and "damn."
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What's the story?
Taking its name from the infamous island prison near San Francisco, ALCATRAZ centers around a massive mystery: How did more than 300 prisoners and guards disappear from the facility just before its closing in the 1960s? What happened to these men, and why are they now appearing again 50 years later, seemingly unaged? After following a seemingly routine murder case, Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) is recruited by the enigmatic Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill) to help track down and investigate these missing people, who have begun appearing out of nowhere back in the prison they once called home.
Is it any good?
Fans of Lost who are still looking for a series to fill its void might find something appealing in J.J. Abrams' dark police mystery drama. Alcatraz has the vibe down -- the pulse-pounding music, the moments of surprise and suspense, the enigmatic figure of authority who seems to know far more than he's letting on. (Plus, Lost's Hurley -- Jorge Garcia -- is one of the show's stars.)
On Alcatraz, the central conceit borders on the ludicrous: 300 criminals and guards disappear from the prison in the 1960s, but no one knows how or why, and now they're coming back unaged and ready to be evil again. It's like elements were drawn from a fish bowl and glued together on a sheet of paper. What makes Alcatraz watchable are the occasional flashes of wit in the scripting and some classic scenery-chewing from Neill, a longtime master at sideways glances that imply more than you can ever hope to understand.
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