They say no one can escape from Alcatraz, but Fox did. The US network that was home to one season of the JJ Abrams series axed it before showrunners Daniel Pyne and Jennifer Johnson could unveil their plans. We spoke to them about what could have been…
If you do get a season two, how would you see it going in terms of plot and structure?
Daniel Pyne: The structure is similar because we love telling the short stories and the flashbacks, and we love the active nature of tracking these guys down. But as we come forward and we start answering the initial questions, we discover that these guys can live in the world, they can be back for longer and there can be more than one of them in the world. And as that has started to happen, that opens up the storytelling possibilities so that there are just more places to go and more places to go in the present rather than everything being backstory and unexplained things that are buried. Now we are really concentrating going forward on characters and relationships, not just between our characters but also as the inmates come back, as the ‘63s appear, we like to think how they have conflicts that for them happened yesterday, and those are now playing out in the present day.
Jennifer Johnson: There is a little bit of a shift in episodes 12 and 13 as we explore Tommy Madsen and explore the characters who have been back a little bit longer, and there is a downloading of information from one character to another, and so we really put everything that the characters know on the table. And consequently, we start focusing on, “What are they back here for? What’s going on behind the scenes?” So that opens up a whole new landscape that we hadn’t been thinking about in episodes one through 11 as much. That inadvertently opened up a new frontier of what’s going on behind the scenes between the ‘63s and what relationships that have been set up in the past are coming to fruition in the present day? But they don’t feel a 50-year time lag.
What else will change in season two?
Daniel Pyne: As the prisoners become more integrated as they have been back longer, their stories get more tangled. They get harder to catch and they start to interact with people, unlike say Cobb, who just shot people and did his thing, barely even connecting with modern society. So they will have girlfriends, relationships, they’ll reconnect with distant family members and it will make it a lot more tangled.
Jennifer Johnson: Also Lucy Banerjee a.k.a Lucy Sangupta will become more of a central character in the present day, which will give more of a female presence in the show moving forward.
And it’s all been focused on the ’63s coming back to just San Francisco, but is that going to change?
Daniel Pyne: That’s another thing that we are opening up in episode 13, when we discover that maybe that isn’t true.