Tag Archives: San Francisco

Alcatraz: Season 1, Episode 4 – “Cal Sweeney” Review

In this episode of Alcatraz we follow the events surrounding Cal Sweeney (Eric Johnson), a suave bank robber known for his theft of safety deposit box items. He is not a violent criminal unless things don’t go his way.

With episode 4, after our characterization of Dr. Soto (Jorge Garcia), we get back to the same feel that the first two episodes had. This episode had both the feel of a procedural cop drama and a mystery.

Spoilers Ahead>>>>>

Continue reading Alcatraz: Season 1, Episode 4 – “Cal Sweeney” Review

Alcatraz: Season 1, Episode 3 – “Kit Nelson” Review

I was really looking forward to watching another episode of Alcatraz ever since the end of episode 2 last week. Shows that revolve around a big mystery, like this one, always seem to leave me wanting more and episode 3 falls in line perfectly.

Episode 3 is about a child killer, who would kidnap his victims and return their bodies home 2 days later, reappears from the past, spurring a manhunt. However that’s only part of the story. Much of episode 3 is used to give some much needed characterization to Dr. Diego “Doc” Soto (Jorge Garcia).

Spoilers Ahead>>>> 

In last weeks review I said that I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of Doc as Rebecca’s (Sarah Jones) sidekick and that remains true, but only because he spends so much time in the field. I totally understand his role in the show but I feel like the writers may be taking things too far by allowing him to run around and get shot at so much.

I can’t complain too much though because I’m a huge fan of Castle. At least he has a vest.

Kit Nelsons (Michael Eklund) confession to the warden about killing his brother was incredibly creepy. His facial expressions alone while describing what he did were just crazy and they took the show to a much darker place than I expected.

I’m also left wondering what role Thomas “Tommy” Madsen (David Hoflin) plays in the conspiracy. The way he is shown interacting with all the inmates leads me to believe he has something more to do with what’s going on.

I’m glad the writers spent an episode on the topic of Doc not fitting in. His character needed a little more fleshing out so he wasn’t just a cardboard cutout representation of a nerd who knows too much.

As I predicted each episode is leaving the viewer with more questions than answers, but it is managing to do it in an entertaining way. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the upcoming episodes.

4/5 Bears

In case you missed it, here is a look at Episode 4!

Alcatraz: Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2 – ‘Pilot’ & ‘Ernest Cobb’ Review

I’ve always been very interested in Alcatraz Island ever since seeing Clint Eastwood in Escape From Alcatraz. So when I heard that J.J. Abrams was going to be producing a Sci-Fi/Drama series that revolved around the island I was immediately intrigued.

I sat down to watch the first two episodes and was not disappointed. The show drew me into it’s mystery the same way that LOST use to. Here is a quick summary of the plot of Alcatraz so far.

SPOILERS AHEAD>>>>>>>

“When San Francisco Police Department Det. Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) is assigned to a grisly homicide case, a fingerprint leads her to Jack Sylvane (Jeffrey Pierce), a former Alcatraz Island prisoner who died decades ago. Given her family history— both her grandfather and surrogate uncle, Ray Archer (Robert Forster), were guards at the prison —Madsen’s interest is immediately piqued, and once an enigmatic, government agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill) tries to impede her investigation, she is doggedly committed.

Madsen turns to Alcatraz expert and comic book enthusiast Dr. Diego “Doc” Soto (Jorge Garcia) to piece together the inexplicable sequence of events. The twosome discovers that Sylvane is not only alive, but he is loose on the streets of San Francisco, leaving bodies in his wake. And strangely, he has not aged a day since he was in Alcatraz, when the prison was ruled by the iron-fisted Warden Edwin James (Jonny Coyne) and the merciless Associate Warden E.B. Tiller (Jason Butler Harner).
Madsen and Doc reluctantly team with Agent Hauser and his technician, Lucy Banerjee (Parminder Nagra), to stop Sylvane’s vengeful killing spree. By delving into Alcatraz history, government cover-ups and Rebecca’s own heritage, the team will ultimately discover that Sylvane is only a small part of a much larger, more sinister present-day threat. For while he may be the first, it quickly becomes clear that Sylvane will not be the last prisoner to reappear from Alcatraz.

Through the course of the investigation, Madsen and Soto will learn that the government has been upgrading the prison since its closing for a reopening to house America’s darkest criminals once more. In the process, Madsen will be forced to see everything she thought she knew about her family’s past shattered, all while fighting to keep the country safe from the country’s most dangerous criminals, locking them behind “The Rock’s” bars once more.”

Thanks Wikipedia!

Now that that’s out-of-the-way here are some of my thoughts on the show.
Alcatraz kicked off the series very strongly with an opening narration by Sam Neill that reminded me of Unsolved Mysteries or The Twilight Zone. That along with the quick introduction of the mystery the show revolves around immediately had me hooked.

The writers seem to be using flashback in the same way that it was used on LOST to reveal elements of character and plot, which I like. I thought it was used well on LOST and if the writing stays strong on Alcatraz it won’t become a problem. I also like that the flashbacks are interconnected, but considering the majority of the characters are in a prison together that’s to be expected.


Sarah Jones (Justified, Sons of Anarchy) plays Rebecca well in a tough but cute, Nancy Drew sort of way. I think she has serious potential to do well as a strong female lead.
Jorge Garcia (Lost) is awesome as always and plays Rebecca’s side kick really well. I’m not totally sold on why his character is her partner, but I’m willing to let it slide for now.
Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) is amazing as Emerson Hauser. Nothing else to say about that really. I am really looking forward to seeing what we learn about his character in the upcoming episodes.

All things considered, I was left with many more questions than answers. I still have no theory on what happened to the staff and prisoners of Alcatraz or why they’re coming back. However I will be coming back to watch this show to find out.

4/5 Bears

NFL Playoff Preview: Saturday

New Orleans (14-3) at San Francisco (13-3): 4:30 ET on Fox

These are two teams that match up against each other very well and should provide for a pretty entertaining start to the NFL Playoff weekend. The golden rule of NFL playoffs has been that Defense wins championships, and this match up should put a good test to that theory. The Saints have the number one rated pass attack in a season where they averaged 334.2 passing yards per game and Drew Brees shattered Dan Marino’s long-standing passing yard record. The Saints rushing game was solid as well averaging 132.9 yards per game, good enough to be sixth in the league.

The 49ers finished 13-3 with Alex Smith as their Quarterback, throwing for an average of only 183.1 (29th) yards per game. That and the fact that they held opponents to the league’s stinginess 77.2 rushing yards per game tells you enough about the Niners. They are about defense, running the ball and making the most of turnovers. The 49ers defense led the league with a +28 turnover ratio forcing 23 interceptions and 15 fumbles versus 5 of each from their side. Compare that with New Orleans -3 ratio and you can see what one of the major keys of the game is for San Francisco.

At face value and admittedly not having watched the majority of either the Saints or 49ers games I was pretty ready to make the bold prediction that the Niners would shut down the high-flying Saints and win a “we dominated more than the final score illustrates” kind of game. Looking at the regular season games however I may have to give the Saints more credit than I initially thought they deserved.

Continue reading NFL Playoff Preview: Saturday

NFL Grizzly Picks of the Week: Week 4

You get 1 point for picking the favorite correctly, and 2 points for an upset win or a pick’em game. Our picks will be in BOLD and upset picks are denoted by a *

So, here are the scores headed into Week 3…

Kaiser      Kronner
14                    9 

And our picks for Week 4:

Rev. Kaiser

Carolina @ Chicago (Vegas Line – Bears by 6.5)
Minnesota @ Kansas City (Vegas Line – Viks by 1.5)   
*Tennessee @ Cleveland  (Vegas Line – Browns by 1) 
San Francisco @ Philly (Vegas Line – Eagles by 7.5)
N’Orleans @ Jacksonville (Vegas Line – Saints by 7)  
NY Giants @ Arizona (Vegas Line – Giants by 1.5) 
Denver @ Green Bay  (Vegas Line – Packers by 13)
NY Jets @ Baltimore (Vegas Line – Ravens by 3.5)

Kaiser can get up to 9 points this week.

Dr. Kronner

*Detroit @ Dallas  (Vegas Line – Cowboys by 1)
Buffalo @ Cincinnati  (Vegas Line – Bills by 3)
*Washington @ St. Louis (Vegas Line – Pick’em/Line is 0)
Pittsburgh @ Houston (Vegas Line – Texans by 4)
Atlanta @ Seattle  (Vegas Line – Falcons by 4.5)
New England @ Oakland (Vegas Line – Pats by 4.5)
Miami @ San Diego (Vegas Line – Chargers by 7)
Indianapolis @ Tampa Bay (Vegas Line – Bucs by 10)

Kronner can get up to 10 points this week.

So there we have it, check back next week to see how the grudge match it working itself out…

Feel free to post your own picks in the comment section below…