Spoilers from the Alcatraz Season 1 finale — stop reading now if you feel you might be spoiled!
I said prior to the finale that creatively a lot hinged on what would take place. I was pleased by the developments, which included: insight into Tommy’s role; the 63s war; the secret Alcatraz command center behind the Big Heavy Door; the Warden and his scientist partner, who has just woken up from the jump; to name a few.
While the season as a whole had its problems, the finale presented an exciting vision of where the story could go in Season 2.
FOX has a decision to make on whether to bring it back, and numbers will certainly take precedent. That said, the show’s creators have spoken about where they plan to take the show, and the storytelling adjustments they might make, going forward.
Executive producer Bryan Wynbrandt says they don’t plan on making drastic changes to the format of the series, but have learned what works and what doesn’t:
“You obviously learn storytelling things that are working and that are not working, and we’ll obviously move forward with what we learn. People comment about ‘Fringe’ Season 1 and ‘Fringe’ Season 2; I don’t think it’s anything dramatic in that fashion, but obviously you learn things in any line of work… and you go in the direction the show’s taking you.”
Fringe is a good ballpark example here. Many Fringe fans will agree that the show really hit its creative stride in Season 2, when it began to embrace greater serialization.
Nielsen ratings and serialization don’t always go hand-in-hand on broadcast, of course, but good seriables, with enough fans and enough network support, can survive for longer-than-expected periods, as Fringe has proved.
I’m not saying it’s easy or that Fringe doesn’t frustrate when it dips into mandated ‘mythalone’-mode, but that’s the challenge that serial faces. Interestingly, Alcatraz is one of a number of serial-procedurals put out by networks this season, suggesting an appetite for drama that can potentially reach the heights of cable.
If Alcatraz were to get a second season, we wouldn’t expect a fully serialized jump (as also implied by Wynbrandt). But they could find ways of improving the seriability of the show in order to make the ‘arc journey’ more engaging and progressive, which ties into what co-creator Steven Lilien says here:
“I think overall we want to get to know our characters better, keep exploring our leads and get to know them better.”
Rebecca Madsen, though good in the finale, lacked integration with the story, at least in the on-screen narrative. With her life seemingly expired in the cliffhanger, the creators would have a choice on whether or not to bring her back.
Though with Tommy Mad’s blood inside her, it’s highly possibly she would survive and hopefully benefit from a second season where lessons have been learned.
Alcatraz showed intent last night, hopefully they’ll get the chance to see it through.
We’ll keep you updated on the future of Alcatraz.