By Sandra Gonzalez
July 21, 2011 at 01:41 PM EDT
James Dittiger/Fox

Could J.J. Abrams have another hit on his hands? Or is his new series Alcatraz, debuting this fall on Fox, an all-too-familiar tune?

The audience members flowing out of the last night’s Comic-Con screening in San Diego seemed largely to agree that Abrams’ stamp was all over this new mystery (duh) series, which stars Sarah Jones (Sons of Anarchy), Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), and Lost alum Jorge Garcia. But the twist-filled, time-jumping hour proved to be a lot for some to take in. Here are some of the reactions EW got at the exit door:

Chris Brewer, Sacramento, Calif. — “It was really cool. I really like J.J. Abrams and it felt like one of his. It’s a cool idea and I think they can do a lot with it. It had that Lost feel to it — there were a lot of questions. It’s a little bit supernatural, but also grounded. I like the Alcatraz [prison] setting.”

Jay Glatfelter, Raleigh, N.C. — “It was very good. Good mystery. I’m definitely intrigued. I’m a big Lost fan so I had big expectations and it met all of them, I think. I mean, Lost is very unique, so I wouldn’t say it’s a new Lost, but I’d say it’s a good mystery show that’s going to be enjoyable. The casting was great. I enjoyed [Sarah Jones] and Sam Neill — he looks just like he did in Jurassic Park, which was pretty awesome. And I’m a big fan of Jorge. The cast seemed to gel really well. For a pilot, it was very smooth. … I wouldn’t put it with the Lost pilot — that was a blockbuster. But as a pilot, it was enjoyable and set it up well. It has me locked in for the full season.”

Falen Weil, Downey, Calif. — “[I saw] enough to know that it looks like everything else J.J. Abrams has ever done. It looks like a re-hash — someone wakes up and doesn’t know where he is. There’s time travel. I don’t know what to think yet. I tend not to like pilots; they’re the worst part of the series. The writers don’t know if they’re being picked up so it’s not fleshed out like the series would be. I liked Lost a lot, especially the first few seasons where all the character stuff started to happen. But [the Lost pilot] left you with a longing to know what was going on. There was more of a reason to watch and keep watching after the first episode. [Alcatraz] looks like the same thing re-hashed without the polar bears. [But] I like to stick around for three of four episodes. If it gets better, then I keep watching.”

Chris Bajkiewicz — “Bad Robot at its best. It’s good stuff, multi-layered. There are a lot of tosses and turns, lots of mystery. …There’s already a mythology set up and J.J is big on mythologies. There are questions you immediately won’t be able to answer until you’re deep into the mystery. It draws you in. … At first I thought the other agent was going to be a shadow of Olivia Dunham on Fringe. But she’s got a whole different story behind her, a different character.”

Based on your fellow fans’ reactions, what are your hopes (…and concerns) about Alcatraz, TV Insiders?

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