J.J. Abrams has learned something from his previous works to make his upcoming show "Alcatraz" more enjoyable. Talking at FOX's panel during Television Critics Association winter press tour, the "Star Trek" director says that the Sarah Jones-starring drama will not keep viewers wondering for answers for too long.
"You can't expect audiences to sit there asking fundamental questions for years. It's unfair and it's wrong. We are going to make sure people aren't necessarily banging their heads against the wall," he promised. Some mysteries, however, won't be unraveled early in the first season as he added, "But if we answer everything at the end of season 1, that's never a good thing for any show."
Abrams once experienced himself how a serialized drama like "Alias", for which he also served as a co-creator, can make a new viewer puzzled. Thus, he and other crew behind "Alcatraz" designed it as "episodic with an overarching large mythology we get to over time."
Affirming the "Super 8" helmer's statement, producer Daniel Pyne explained, "If you watch it occasionally, you won't be disappointed; if you watch it consecutively, you'll understand through lines; if you watch it piecemeal you'll be able to understand it."
Also at the presentation, Abrams insisted that "Alcatraz" is not like "Lost". "In theory, any land mass is an island, so you could argue that every show ever made [is like Lost]," he enthused. "The Mary Tyler Moore Show was much like Lost!"
On the difference between the upcoming San Francisco-set series and sci-fi drama "Fringe", the 45-year-old filmmaker said the parallel universe drama is a "emotional show from the beginning." He added, "That show ['Fringe'] is more about a condition than a premise."
"We have ideas of where the show ['Alcatraz'] is going but because the show is based more on a premise than Fringe was... this show has an opportunity to both episodic case of the week with big questions looming."
"Alcatraz" centers its story on 302 inmates who disappeared from the prison, but reappear in the present day after a few decades. It will premiere on Monday, January 16 at 8/7c on FOX.