Tiffany Vogt

Posts Tagged ‘Sam Neill’

With the 1st Season Finale of ALCATRAZ Looming, Will There Be Answers?

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Events, * Interviews, * Showcases, * TV Addict, * Video interviews, * WonderCon on March 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Shows with deep mythology and strong serialized storytelling are rare these days.  But undaunted, the creators and writers of Fox’s mid-season series ALCATRAZ chose to jump right in and brought to screen a murky and mysterious story about how in 1963, the remaining 302 inmates and guards of Alcatraz suddenly disappeared.  Then one day, they began to reappear, one-by-one with hidden agendas, personal vendettas, and a whole lot of repressed rage ready to be unleashed on the unsuspecting populace of nearby San Francisco.  The intervening 50 years have done little to temper the boiling emotions contained in hearts and minds of hardened criminals who were never supposed to walk as free men again.

With only the final 2-hour finale left to air of the first season, the biggest question is:  Will we get answers before the show ends with only a speculative possibility of renewal for a second season for ALCATRAZ?  That question may linger until Fox announces its Fall programming pickups and renewals in May.

Tommy Madsen (portrayed by David Hoflin)

Thus, for now, we must be content with hoping for answers to the other questions which fans are dying to know answers for:  What are the secret properties of Rebecca’s grandfather’s blood that Warden James is obsessed with?  What is in Tommy Madsen’s blood that makes him so special and unique?  And do those unique blood-properties have anything to do with the bizzaro-versions of the inmates that have come back and gone on killing sprees in our present timeline?  For not every inmate of Alcatraz in 1963 was a cold-blooded killer; yet after being dosed with Tommy’s blood, the non-violent criminals have turned into alternate-versions of themselves – coming back meaner, more destructive, and completely lacking in remorse for their new heightened crimes.  It is as if the blood turns people into sociopaths.

And if it is not the blood, then what?  Is it Dr. Beauregard’s extreme psychological brain washing techniques that is wholly responsible?  Or was there some other experiment performed on the inmates of Alcatraz that so altered their brain-chemistry as to transform each exposed person into extreme versions of themselves?

Finally, how in the world did Lucy and the other guards get exposed to Tommy’s blood or other contaminant such that they too were transported through time to our present day timeline, as if not a day had gone by?

Warden James (portrayed by Jonny Coyne)

We have learned that the mysterious “colloidal silver” element in Tommy’s blood and which can be found in some of the other returnees has the ability to promote rapid healing.  It likely also slows down aging – effectively putting a living human being into a “live” cryogenic state.  Frozen in time.  But then where are the 1963 disappearees?  Where have them been kept for nearly 50 years and how are they suddenly reappearing at random locations and times in the present day?

Better yet, who is behind this all?  Is it in fact Warden James?  Or is he merely a puppet assisting a yet-unknown criminal mastermind?  Was, in fact, the intent behind these experiments diabolical, or was there a more altruistic purpose intended?  And if so, what went wrong?  Are the returnees merely those who have “escaped”?  They found a way to slip through the cracks of time and space and reinsert themselves back into our present day world.

As hinted at in the following interviews with the shows creators, producers and cast from WonderCon last week, things are not exactly going according to plan for anyone.  Something has contravened the original intent and purpose behind the disappearance in 1963 – if that was even supposed to occur at all.

Jorge Garcia and Sarah Jones:

Parminder Nagra:

Jonny Coyne and Robert Forster:

Executive producers Daniel Pyne and Jennifer Johnson:

Executive producers Bryan Wyndbrant and Steve Lilien:

Regardless of whether we get all the answers we are dying to know, ALCATRAZ certainly created a world in which it is intriguing to figure out the overall mystery and exactly where all the puzzle pieces fit.  If one were to play at being a criminal mastermind, setting up the chessboard with each character as a key piece would be fascinating. 

Rebecca Madsen, Doc Soto and Emerson Hauser

There is Emerson Hauser, now an FBI agent, who was once a guard on Alcatraz and who just coincidentally missed out on vanishing like everyone else – who knew that one day all those who disappeared would have to reappear and who vowed to be ready when they did.  There is Detective Rebecca Madsen, whose uncle was a guard at Alcatraz and whose grandfather was an inmate – one of the first returnees to have been seen in our modern day timeline and whose blood is highly sought after.  There is Doc Soto, the historian who knows more about Alcatraz than any other living sole and who is recruited to aid in the search for the returnees.  And then there is Lucy, the psychiatrist brought aboard in 1960 to help with the inmates – and who somehow shared in their disappearing fate.  It is much too much of a coincidence for all these people to just happen to be in the right place at the right time just as the returnees are coming back.  What is the common thread that ties them all together?  Is it fate or destiny?  Or is there something more that brought them together at such a pivotal time?

Lucy and Doc Soto (portrayed by Parminder Nagra and Jorge Garcia)

Answers or not, the first season of ALCATRAZ has been a fascinating journey.  It posed thought-provoking questions about medical advances, the right to experiment on prisoners, prisoner rights, and what our responsibilities would be if such an incredible event actually had occurred.  With our love of science fiction, for some, it is not entirely inconceivable that such an event could have occurred.  The best question of all has been:  What would you do?  Is it enough to round them all up, re-capturing the returnees?  Or should a more extreme and lethal method be imposed because they should never have returned in the first place?  Or should we use them to better understand the limitations of time and space, subjecting them yet again to the torment of being human “guinea pigs” or “lab rats”?  Given the little regard each has demonstrated towards their fellow human beings, it would seem that the returnees are hardly human anymore.  Have they relinquished the most basic of human rights because they have rejected their own humanity?

Hopefully, the 2-hour finale of ALCATRAZ provides enough answers that we will be satisfied no matter how much longer the story goes.  To see what is revealed, be sure to tune in on Monday, March 26th at 8:00 p.m. on Fox.


“Fun Photos from WonderCon 2012:  ALCATRAZ”

“Returning to the Rock: ALCATRAZ Offers a Tantalizing Mystery”

To see fun candid photos from the ALCATRAZ premiere at Alcatraz, you may view them HERE.

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Returning to The Rock: ALCATRAZ Offers a Tantalizing Mystery Thriller

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Events, * Interviews, * Set visits, * Showcases, * TCA, * TV Addict, * Video interviews, Alcatraz on January 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm

The name Alcatraz brings to mind the infamous names of Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, and Robert Stroud “The Birdman of Alcatraz.”  It is also a term synonymous with violence, mystery, and the “worst of the worst.”  It gives the sense of being unattainable, yet still visible as a majestic island right inside the San Francisco Bay.  The lore surrounding Alcatraz  has reached such epic proportions, that it has achieved a notoriety of its own.  In fact, it still stands today as a reminder that not even an island can truly incarcerate criminals intent on escape.

Alcatraz Island

Building on the infamy and notoriety of Alcatraz, the television series ALCATRAZ offers a riveting spin on what might have happened in 1963.  Was the prison closed due budget cuts as propagandized by the government, or did something more sinister and mysterious happen there that required a cover-story in order to allay fears and not arise suspicion?  ALCATRAZ tells the tale of how in 1963,  everyone on Alcatraz Island vanished without a trace.  It offers a mystery that literally transcends time.  ALCATRAZ is a mystery story that invites viewers to figure out what happened to the 302 people who vanished and why they are now reappearing one-by-one. Was it a wormhole, cryogenics, or something more sinister?  Whatever is behind the disappearance of the 302 guards and prisoners, that is the mystery of ALCATRAZ.

Jorge Garcia, Sarah Jones and Sam Neill

In the pilot episode viewers are introduced to Jack Sylvane (Jeffrey Pierce), one of the missing prisoners who was thought dead and yet his fingerprints are found at a fresh murder scene.  It is as if Jack somehow managed to slip through the cracks of time and reappeared in present-day San Francisco seeking vengeance without having aged a day.  For Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones), crime has taken a turn into the Twilight Zone.  Yet unfazed by the possibility that wormholes may exist or that perhaps Jack Sylvane was cryogenically frozen until a time when he could be used as a weapon, Rebecca seeks the aid of Dr. Diego Soto (Jorge Garcia), the foremost authority on Alcatraz and the prisoners kept there until that fateful day in 1963. Then, as fate would have it, Rebecca’s path crosses with a government agent, Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill), an agent with his own personal ties to Alcatraz and a zealous mission to recapture each and every one of the missing escapees.   Reluctantly teaming up because time is of the essence, Det. Madsen, Dr. Soto and Emerson Hauser, along with Hauser’s technical aid, Lucy Banerjee (Parminder Nagra), must work together quickly in order to stop Jack’s vicious crime-spree.

Sarah Jones, Jason Butler Harner, Parminder Nagra

Each episode introduces a new escapee and each becomes a piece of the puzzle as to what happened and why.  The real questions are: Why now?  What purpose have the escapees been returned to us now?  And who is behind it?  ALCATRAZ is not just about capturing long-lost criminals, it is about unraveling a greater global conspiracy and the ability to bend time itself.  Then because every great adventure tale needs a dash of romance, carefully embedded into the over-arcing story is a delicate love story that will be slowly unveiled.  ALCATRAZ offers a complex story of revenge, retribution, and redemption.  Forget what you know and focus on what you don’t know.  Then follow the clues throughout each episode.

While the name J.J. Abrams and the term ‘island’ are synonymous with another TV show that used time-travel as a clever story-telling device, ALCATRAZ is a show that stands on its own.  It is not a tale about a mystical island and souls gathering together to move on in the after-life.  ALCATRAZ is firmly set in our world and the island merely is the starting point — it is where 302 people disappeared.  It is the beginning of the tale, not the end.  ALCATRAZ is about the inmates and guards that are reappearing and being used as modern day weapons in a scheme that smacks of government conspiracy.

Cast of "Alcatraz"

At a special premiere screening of the first hour of the series at Alcatraz Island, ALCATRAZ tantalized fans, press and crew alike.  With the aid of sponsors like Virgin America (who provided transportation to guests from around the country) and Ford (who is offering the “Legends of Alcatraz” online treasure hunt to coincide with the launch of the series), the premiere was a raging success.  After all, it is not every day that one can celebrate a new TV series sharing the same name as the most infamous prison in U.S. history — at that same prison.  Celebrating ALCATRAZ at Alcatraz Island, or The Rock as it is better known, was the chance of a lifetime.  Appearing for the premiere were producers Jack Bender, Jennifer Johnson, and Daniel Pyne (alas, J.J. Abrams was M.I.A.), as well as the stars of the show Sam Neill, Sarah Jones, Jorge Garcia, Parminder Nagra, Jason Butler Harner, Jeffrey Pierce, Robert Forster, Jonny Coyne and Joe Egender.  Not missing this event for the world, also in attendance were nearly the entire writing staff and their families.  ALCATRAZ at Alcatraz was just too tantalizing an adventure to miss.

Then to see more photos from the ALCATRAZ premiere, you may view them HERE.

The following are video interviews with the cast and producers as they provide insight, scoop and clues about what ALCATRAZ is all about:

Then here are the video interviews from San Diego Comic-Con:

Executive producer Jack Bender:

Jason Butler Harner:

Santiago Cabrera:

Parminder Nagra:

Jorge Garcia:

Whatever you do, do not miss the 2-hour premiere of ALCATRAZ on Monday, January 16th at 8:00 p.m. on Fox.  It is time to escape back to The Rock!

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Fox TCA Day (Winter 2012) – Video interviews

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Events, * Interviews, * TCA, * TV Addict, * Video interviews, Alcatraz, Raising Hope, The Finder, Touch on January 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm

A few fun video interviews from Fox’s presentation day before the Television Critic’s Association (January 2012)

“Raising Hope” – Garret Dillahunt and Martha Plimpton

“Touch” – David Mazouz

“Touch” – Gugu Mbatha-Raw

“Napoleon Dynamite” – John Heder

“Alcatraz” – Jorge Garcia, Sarah Jones and Sam Neill

“The Finder” – Geoff Stults and Michael Clarke Duncan

“The Finder” – Mercedes Masohn and Maddie Hasson

“Breaking In” – Megan Mullally

“Bob’s Burgers” – Dan Mintz, Kristen Schaal, John Roberts and Eugene Mirman

“I Hate My Teenage Daughter” – Kevin Rahm and Jaime Pressly

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