The Complete Series


Alcatraz: The Complete Series

Created by Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien & Bryan Wynbrandt

Written by Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt & Robert Hull

Production Design by Mark S. Freeborn

Cinematography bt David Stockton & Stephen McNutt

Music by Michael Giacchino, Andrea Datzman & Chris Tilton

Editing by Hibah Frisina, David Eisenberg & Andrew Seklir

Produced by Athena Wickham & Robert M. Williams Jr.

Executive Producers: JJ Abrams, Jack Bender & Bryan Burk

Directed by Jack Bender & Paul Edwards

First aired in the U.S: January-April, 2012


Sarah Jones

Sam Neill

Jorge Garcia

Parminder Nagra

Jonny Coyne

Leon Rippy


Television: Bad Robot Productions for Fox TV

Video: Warner Home Video

SRP: $69.96


Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p

Codec: AVC

Disc Size: BD-50 x 2

Bit Rate: Low~Moderate (16~24 Mbps)

Runtime: 572 minutes (9.5 hours)

Episodes: 13

Region: All


English DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1

French Dolby Digital 2.0

Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0


English SDH, French & Spanish

Extras: (in HD)

  1. Alcatraz: Island of Intrigue (x min)

  2. Unaired Scenes (x min)

  3. Gag Reel (x min)

  4. UltraViolet Digital Copy


Double BD Case: BD x 2

Street Date: October 16, 2012

Product Description [Warner]:

In 1963, all prisoners were transferred from Alcatraz Island Federal Penitentiary. Or so we were told. Now America’s worst criminals – known as the 63s – are returning to the streets of San Francisco to repeat their grisly crimes. It’s up to top-notch Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) and Alcatraz expert Diego “Doc” Soto (Jorge Garcia) to work with FBI Agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill) and Dr. Lucy Banerjee (Parminder Nagra) to learn why the 63s are back and to uncover a much larger, more sinister threat. Get locked into The Complete Series of this suspenseful, mysterious and action-packed drama from executive producer J.J. Abrams (Fringe, Lost).

The Series : 5

Critical Reaction:

Slant Magazine

Alcatraz, produced by J.J. Abrams and Elizabeth Sarnoff (the team behind Lost), is muddled by its own terribly formulaic design. Until we get answers (and hopefully they'll actually be provided this time around), the series will merely be a by-the-numbers police procedural that just so happens to involve some light sci-fi. It's a calculated relationship designed to soften the edges of both crime drama and sci-fi for maximum general interest, but it's compelling enough to suggest there's room for creative growth ahead. Save for Madsen and Soto, every character is a loose cipher for duplicity, their intentions unclear and their moral compasses even more so.  And that's the potential strength behind this otherwise sterile, network-friendly cops-and-time-travel gimmick: Within that twaddle, prisoners are abused, innocents are murdered, and some unknown evil lurks supreme. Until the show better explores those ideas, though, it's stuck stumbling along a foundation built of tropes, unwilling to gamble its broad, superficial appeal for sharper, more incisive storytelling.  – Chris Heller

According to the official history, Alcatraz—San Francisco’s infamous prison—was closed in 1963 and all prisoners were transferred off the island. According to “Alcatraz,” that was just a ruse to cover up the fact that 600-something inmates and guards did a sudden vanishing act. Cut to 2012 and a ragtag team of investigators are tasked with finding these missing people. The weird part? They’re all showing up in modern-day San Fran looking just like they did back in 1963. What’s the dealio? Time travel? Black holes? Secret cloning experiments? Here’s how this works: Each week some long-lost prisoner from Alcatraz inexplicably reappears in San Francisco. He goes on a crime spree and our trio of clandestine detectives hunts him down. Every once in a while, we get flashbacks to the ’60s, giving us little hints about the mystery of what’s happening to these guys. So far, it seems to involve medical experiments and an evil warden.  – Devin D. O’Leary


Hollywood Reporter

You know something’s off when Jones can’t seem to hook you as a main character, Garcia seems to be going out of his way to make you forget his Hurley character from Lost – by lowering his pulse and quip rate – while Neill seems to be playing laid-back-sinister to new levels of casualness. In short, they don’t seem so thrilled about Alcatraz. Half the time you want to shake them. The Rock! Infamous prison! Prisoners have vanished (and now returned) in some perfectly J.J. Abrams kind of crazy mystery. This will be awesome if you’d just wake up! On the other hand, it doesn’t seem like there’s enough to invest in even if they did become compelling as a trio. The writing if flat and expository-laden. The drama – outside of the mystery of how it all happened – is saddled to predictable plots. The exterior shots (and some location shooting) in San Francisco look beautiful. But it might be easier just to buy a postcard and save yourself the time of investing in Alcatraz, another series that can’t seem to do much with what it’s given. – Tim Goodman

Amazon users

"Alcatraz" COULD have worked and worked well...I think its only major flaw was that some of the episodes, particularly midseason, felt more like a crime procedural ("hey, another inmate appeared, let's go get 'im") than a surreal mystery. If only EACH ep had given us a bit of the plot points! It seemed like several went by with little more than a tease into the three keys, the '63s, and the sleazy Warden's master plan...and then in the season finale we had major points all dumped at once!  Still and all...this could have been MAGNIFICENT in a second season. I detest Fox for pulling it. – KA Silva

Alcatraz is well worth viewing. The stories are interesting, production values are high, and the acting is excellent, but be prepared for a story that has little romance, and is ultimately unfinished, with a conclusion that will probably not be very pleasing. Although with good DVD sales and huge fan support, who knows, a "Serenity" type windup might be a possibility. – trebe

While each episode is somewhat isolated from the ones before and after it, each contributes to the whole of the bigger story and the characters. The story itself has elements of mystery and while an episode may answer one question, two more crop up. The characters in this show are marvelous. The most well known member of the cast is probably Sam Neill, who pulls off a snarky, damaged FBI agent flawlessly. Jorge Garcia plays a walking encyclopedia on everything Alcatraz and just like Hurley in LOST, he's very loveable. Johnny Coyne is introduced in the second episode as the Warden of the prison. . . Sarah Jones, the heroine of the story, is refreshing. She eats! And, she eats a lot. As Detective Rebecca Madsen, she also makes mistakes, both when chasing a suspect and how she deals with people. - Shannon

Image: 7/8

Warner’s transfer is faithful to the broadcast experience - a little richer with improved depth in 1080p perhaps.  Sharpness and definition is very good, as is color. Contrast is under control. Transfer artifacts are not particularly distracting, but overall the image is lacking in density compared to the best transfers of HD video sources.


Audio & Music: 8/6

There’s not a great deal of excitement here in Warner’s uncompressed surround mix - not as much as, say, Nikita or Homeland, nor as little as Bones.  The surrounds are there mainly for ambiance and the odd bit exchange of arms fire.  Dialogue comes through it all clear enough, placed where and how it should be.  Michael Giacchino, who did the musical honors for Lost, weighs in a little too sanctimoniously for this series, which could have done with just a little less taking itself so seriously.


Extras: 3

In the single production-related bonus feature, we see what attracted the creators to this island and what stories they hope to tell. Cast members discuss what they did to prepare for their roles and share their memories of visiting and working on Alcatraz. The feature also joins up with the show’s art department to learn how they recreated the mood, tone, and mystery of this iconic landmark. Several “unaired” rather than “deleted” scenes (an interesting distinction) are available across the two discs, appearing as a bonus item for the relevant episode - some fifteen of them, I counted.  Finally, and not short enough, is yet another tedious Gag Reel.


Recommendation: 5

The show was not renewed by Fox – thus the product description “The Complete Series” rather than the more optimistic “The Complete Season One” – which means that you would buy this despite the cliffhanging season finale because it may become a kind of lost classic.  Warner cut back on their usual file size breadth by compressing all 13 episodes onto just two BD50s.  The codec can handle it, and there are no glaring problems with the transfer as a result.  Even so, Warner’s investment gives us an idea of what the studio thought of it.  Come to think of it, the fact that Fox isn’t producing this video, despite the cancellation, tells us something.


Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

October 15, 2012



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