Saturday, January 28, 2012

Alcatraz—The return of McCoy, Kirk, and Spock

. . . so I was finally watching the premiere of Alcatraz (with J.J. Abrams as executive producer), and I was wondering what the Detective Madsen (Sarah Jones) character was doing in such a gritty series.  Then I realized she’s the action character of the team, the Captain Kirk:  Clean-faced, somewhat amused by the tense conflict, never afraid of danger. 

Photo by Gage Skidmore  

I was astounded with how the other two main characters matched up.  The guy in charge is Hauser (Sam Neill), the crotchety McCoy character who never misses a chance to look like he enjoys sucking lemons.  Never mind that he’s in charge; it’s not rank that counts when seeing stereotypes or archetypes, it’s the nature of the character. 


Dr. Soto (Jorge Garcia) is the Spock character:  He’s the expert who has endless stores of knowledge in his head, and who is instantly respected for that.  I’m not saying he acts in a rigidly logical manner, but he lacks ease in social interactions and has an outside-the-mainstream personality, and that’s all it takes. 

 Photo by Gage Skidmore  

Insightful people maintain that what kept the viewing audience coming back week after week for the old Star Trek was not the special effects or the strange new worlds, but the fascinating interactions among Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.  In Alcatraz, Detective Madsen and Dr. Soto have an easy affability with each other, though they are so starkly different, just like Kirk and Spock.  Meanwhile, Detective Madsen and Hauser have loud disagreements with each other, to the point of yelling, which sounds like Kirk and McCoy.  And while Spock and McCoy would make snide remarks to each other, so far Dr. Soto and Hauser have made snide remarks about each other, to Madsen. 

If the writers of Alcatraz know what’s good for them they’ll keep up these interactions, and add snide remarks between Dr. Soto and Hauser, every week.  Do you see this, Mr. Abrams?  I can improve your show.  No fee too big.  

2 comments:

Kelly D. said...

Do you suppose this sort of three-way match up originated with Star Trek? I dunno... Funny though. I personally loved Kirk's end-of show sacrificial stances and brave homilies for humans as the bastions of …uh humanity (galactanity? Organismanity?). I loved his righteous indignation, his heroics, and his didactic humanitarian morality so nicely blended with the American ideals of the time, all with a subtle flavoring of tongue-in-cheek. To me it was always a breath of fresh smug Manifest Destiny air.

I somehow doubt I'll get that with this new show. Oh well.

M Pax said...

lol Now I'll watch this show in a different light. Missed it last night. We'll see how it goes, I guess.

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