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Alcatraz, Fox’s midseason drama about prisoners who return decades later after disappearing from The Rock, has a complex premise — one not unlike that of ABC’s Lost.
“We totally embrace” the similarity to Lost, executive producer Liz Sarnoff said at Saturday night’s panel at Comic-Con. “There’s certainly no better show.”
She added: “We want to do our own thing,” but we hope it will be as entertaining.
Alcatraz hails from the Bad Robot team behind such sci-fi shows like Lost and Fringe, which was a big reason why Jorge Garcia boarded the project. “They make the television that I like to watch,” the Lost vet shared. “To be a part of it is a great bonus.”
And like Fringe, Parminder Nagra‘s Lucy was likened to Jasika Nicole’s Astrid. Question is: Does Nagra agree with that assessment? “I’m excited to see what happens. She’s going to be a tough nut to crack,” the ER alum coyly responded.
Jason Butler Harner, who plays E.B. Tiller, saw his villain-like character another way. “I think he’s the not-so-good guy,” he countered. “The possibilities are endless about where we’re going to go.”
And it’s known that J.J. Abrams and company rarely share or reveal information too far in advance, if any, to which Harner could attest to: “You just leap and the net will appear. You trust you’re in very, very good hands.”
Sarnoff, who will run the show when Alcatraz debuts in January, agreed. “I know enough,” she said. “We’ve tried to have all the actors in the writers’ room … They’ll know as much as they need to know.”
In terms of the challenge in maintaining its complexities and progressing the story, Sarnoff said, “This show has an incredibly aggressive story engine. There’s going to be a bad guy to catch every week. … We want to answer the questions. It’s about combining those things and [fitting them] into one hour of television.”
Because the show centers on prisoners from Alcatraz who were locked up for specific reasons, Sarnoff was quick to point out that they aren’t 100 percent redeemable. “These are bad, bad, bad guys,” she teased. “Like all human beings they were multi-layered … but never forget that they were bad people.”
Bonus tidbit: Star Sarah Jones hopes that they can return to film in San Francisco “as much as possible.”
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