A few months ago it seemed almost unthinkable that Alcatraz wouldn’t be picked up by FOX. Sure, we knew little about it, but it came from the JJ. Abrams magic box of tricks – and you don’t say no to JJ. Unless you’re NBC, with a show that took too long to get mythological.
But with rumors suggesting that FOX might opt for something more ‘safe’ (i.e. boring) to avoid being top-heavy in the sci-fi department, it’s difficult to not link the so-called ‘cooling off’ to the recent renewal of Abrams’ other FOX series – Fringe.
FOX may have decided that it either had to be Fringe OR Alcatraz, and not both. Clearly they are going all-out to make Terra Nova dino-soar, while somehow Tim Kring seems to have found the magic Touch as far as getting another series on the air is concerned. So the network may feel uneasy about having too many Seriable shows on their plate. (the other contender being “Locke & Key”, which has cooled their interest, according to Deadline‘s Nellie Andreeva).
If this is the case, and Fringe was renewed at the expense of Alcatraz, then I’d take that for a number of reasons – including the fact that Fringe is an established show with an incredibly rabid fanbase. Now if there’s one thing a show wants, it’s a strong fanbase, because it can’t be grown overnight unless you’re a very lucky or very, very good. Even so, it takes time to foster that sort of engagement and many external factors are involved.
Also, making serialized/mythology-geared shows isn’t easy, son! Even with the best intentions a show can fail. I hate to keep coming back to it, but look at “The Event” – a show that promised much but may even struggle to deliver an interesting answer to the titular mystery. Are FOX confident about juggling Fringe, Terra Nova, Touch and Alcatraz/Locke & Key?
And of course, unlike “LOST”, Fringe has generally improved with each season. LOST and Fringe are kinda like The Doctor and River Song – going in opposite directions in terms of quality. Don’t get me wrong though; the end of LOST’s third season was strong, and the fifth season was wonderful, but in my view there wasn’t a steady improvement from those first two seasons.
Anyway, my point is that with the fans breathing down their necks, FOX (and Warner Bros.) found a way to keep Fringe on the air, and God bless ‘em, but you have to wonder whether the show’s ratings post renewal are doing enough to make them take a chance with Alcatraz?
Now, all that being said, I’d like to think there’s room on the menu for both Fringe and Alcatraz. Of course, like most of the world I’ve yet to see the Alcatraz pilot, but the little that I know about the story – and my overall sense of the show’s tone and mythology – has me very intrigued. The two shows would probably complement each other very well – and who knows what’s going to happen with that promised child Terra Nova? Potential in droves, but it will either sink or swim. Likewise, who knows what the future holds for Fringe?
From the outside looking in, Alcatraz has a solid cast and a typically Bad Robotian premise. If done right the show would undoubtedly capture the attention of fans who like their drama with a dose of mystery. I think the LOST faithful would be even more likely to check it out than they would Fringe, for a number of reasons.
All of which is to say that I’d definitely like to see FOX give Alcatraz a chance – assuming there isn’t a major flaw in the script or another element that can’t be ironed out.
Of course, FOX may have every intention of giving Alcatraz the green-light – I certainly hope so.
Either way, we’ll find out in two weeks at the May 17 upfront presentations in New York. We’ll, of course, keep you informed.
What do you think? Is there room on the FOX schedule for both Fringe and Alcatraz next season – or does it HAVE to be one or the other? Would you sacrifice Fringe for Alctraz (or Locke & Key), if you had the choice?