2. Because Fringe’s own producers couldn’t resist the temptation to rip it off.
One of the midseason’s most anticipated TV premieres is Alcatraz, the new FOX genre procedural about a San Francisco detective (Sarah Jones) who teams up with a comic book nerd (Lost’s Jorge Garcia) to track down inmates who disappeared from the Alcatraz island prison in the 1960s and are resurfacing in modern times looking like they haven’t aged a day. We’ve seen the pilot episode, and it’s definitely one of the more promising new shows on TV’s horizon, benefitting from a natural rapport between Jones and Garcia, a boldly high-concept premise, and the pedigree of executive producers J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk.
Based on the pilot alone, however, Alcatraz also reeks of the Abrams-and-Burk-produced Fringe’s influence. The similarities are undeniable: Both Fringe and Alcatraz have blond female leads (Anna Torv and Jones), the male leads (Joshua Jackson and Garcia) are former whiz kids prone to wisecracks, and the good guys are government-backed experts specializing in the supernatural. If Alcatraz’s big reveal ends up being that vanished inmates have been stuck in a parallel universe, Abrams and Burk will have some explaining to do.