Q: I’m hooked on Fox’s “Alcatraz” — thanks for recommending it! It’s what I’ve been missing since “Lost” concluded its run. Do you see the similarities? -? Donovan B., via e-mail
A: I certainly do, and I’m not the only one. But the prison drama/fantasy series also is drawing comparisons to another “mythology” series. When I spoke with “Alcatraz” star Jeffrey Pierce, who plays anti-hero Jack Sylvane, he told me: “‘Alcatraz’ is sort of a hybrid between the procedural and the mythology of something like ‘Lost.’ Even the guys who die in 2012 while they are being captured, they’re still alive between 1960 and 1962, when the prisoners start to disappear. If the writers keep this sort of storytelling, where they can travel to the past and also focus on getting prisoners out, caught and on to the next, the story expands out like a cone.
“My wife and I have been watching ‘The X-Files’ on Netflix, and the mythology was the backbone of that show. It was explored maybe one out of every five episodes, but they were able to create this incredible mosaic with the Smoking Man, the Alien Bounty Hunter, and Scully’s cancer and pregnancy, but that takes place over many seasons. The key to ‘Alcatraz’ is having patience and letting the story reveal itself. Just enjoy the ride as it unfolds.”
Check back later this week to read my entire interview with Jeffrey.
Q: Over the summer, I saw clips and a promo for a forthcoming new “Dallas.” I watched for it in the fall line-up, and nothing. Then again for the midseason line-up, and nothing. Will this new “Dallas” be a series? — Henry S., Venice, Fla.
A: You and I are both excited for this new series, which will debut this summer on TNT. The 10-episode series stars “Dallas” originals Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Steve Kanaly and Charlene Tilton, and will introduce Josh Henderson (as John Ross), Jesse Metcalfe (as Christopher), Brenda Strong (as Bobby’s new wife, Ann) and Jordana Brewster.
Q: Do the contestants who appear on shows like “Dancing with the Stars,” “Survivor” and “Amazing Race” get paid? I say they all do, but my friend says only the winners get money. Who is right? — B.G. in Punta Gorda
A: You are correct. Contestants on these reality/competition shows do get paid for their time, of course, and the further they make it on the show (for the most part), the more they get paid. Hope you won a nice dinner for being correct!
Q: Are there any plans to release Frank Caliendo’s sketch-comedy show, “Frank TV” on DVD? — Steven K., The Villages, Fla.
A: “Frank TV,” which aired for two seasons on TBS from 2007-08, is not on DVD yet, and there is no official word as to when/if it will be. In the meantime, you can get your fill of Frank and his hilarious impersonations with his stand-up comedy DVD, “All Over the Place.”