By: Tim Holland
Alcatraz is J.J. Abrams latest puzzler that centers on a trio of investigators out to solve the mysterious reappearance of former Alcatraz inmates 50 years after they disappeared from the island prison and who are continuing their violent ways in the present. It’s a daring premise, but Abrams and his excellent cast, led by Sam Neill, Sarah Jones and Jorge Garcia, are up to the task.Alcatraz seamlessly combines the thrills of a police procedural with the intrigue of a good old-fashioned mystery to create a unique sci-fi drama unlike anything else on TV. But what else would you expect from the man behind Alias, Lost and Fringe? My advice: escape to Alcatraz.
Touch is a well-intentioned drama that blends science and spirituality in an attempt to say that we are all connected and responsible for one another. Kiefer Sutherland stars as a single dad of an emotionally-challenged 11-year-old son (David Mazouz) who only communicates through numbers. Sutherland learns that those numbers are a link that unites various people all over the world and that they have the power to shape their destinies. The idea that we are all one and that our actions profoundly affect others, even those we haven’t met, is compelling. Unfortunately, Touch stretches the boundaries of credulity with its all-too-convenient links that allow its far-fetched stories to interconnect and be resolved. Sutherland makes a strong impression as the frustrated dad and Mazouz is excellent as the boy. But in the end Touch feels forced and fails in its mission to connect with viewers.
The hit cult movie Napoleon Dynamite is now a---Sweet!---animated series and is voiced by the film’s original cast members. For those unaware, Napoleon Dynamite focuses on the comic misadventures of “America’s most awesomely awkward teenager” and his quirky family and friends in rural Idaho. The series is much faster-paced than the movie and thus will likely appeal to even non-Napoleon fans who were put off by the film’s at times ultra-deliberate pace. The jokes are fast and furious and, while they don’t all land, more than enough do to keep the laughter coming. And, as stated earlier, Napoleon is indeed sweet. Yes, there are fart jokes but nothing really crude. It’s a Fox animated series that the whole family can enjoy.
The Finder is a lackluster Bones spinoff that centers on eccentric Walter Sherman (a charismatic Geoff Stults), a man with an uncanny ability to find things or people that no one else can. Even though it’s a procedural, the tone is light and there is much good-natured bantering that goes on between Walter and his sidekick Leo, played by a sturdy Michael Clarke Duncan, and on-again, off-again girlfriend and U.S. Marshal Isabel Zambada (Mercedes Masohn). The show is pleasant but not engaging, and the storytelling is sluggish, bordering on boring. Unfortunately, The Finder is best left undiscovered.