This show features an ensemble cast of talented and experienced actors and a plot that is far too similar to “Lost,” except terrible.
A group of people wakes up on a tropical island without any memory of who they are or how they got there. Amongst the group are Chase (Natalie Martinez) and KC (Kate Bosworth) who clash with each other. There is immediate conflict as the strong-willed characters disagree on hierarchies, priorities, search and allocation of resources, and what to do next.
Brody (Alex Pettyfer) attacks and attempts to rape both Chase and KC, which leads Hayden (Michelle Veintimilla) to stab him. The group blames Chase for Brody’s murder and knocks her unconscious. Chase wakes up in the medical wing of a prison where she learns they are all inmates guilty of violent crimes in a trial rehabilitation program occurring in a virtual simulation.
Episode three discusses the morality and ethics of the program, but, since the show must go on, Chase is unwillingly placed back in the simulation. Tensions rise as the prisoners start regaining their memories and falling back into old behaviors, putting into question if they can indeed be rehabilitated.
This show is just not interesting. The plot is too similar to “Lost,” but, unlike it, “The I-Land” fails to keep a vice grip on the viewers' interest and attention episode after episode. The mystery of who the characters are and how they got there was revealed too soon. Viewers didn’t have a chance to care about the characters or start theorizing. It wasn’t a good mystery.
The plot may be shoddy, but the acting is solid. Martinez, Bosworth, Veintimilla and Pettyfer are all seasoned actors who have held leading roles in films and television shows. Bosworth even donned a country accent for the role while Pettyfer adopted an American accent in lieu of his native English accent. It’s obvious the actors did extensive work in preparation for the characters, but not even that can save this sinking island.
The bright color scheme makes it bearable to look at, if not to sit and watch. While some shows centered around a mystery use dim lighting and opaque colors, this show takes advantage of the bright colors and the beautiful scenery. The show was filmed in the incomparable paradise island of Dominican Republic, after all.
I assume from episode three that this show wanted to somehow focus – in a “Lost” setting – on the ethics and the treatment of inmates, but this show is set in the future, so it has no actual correlation to prisons in our current time. The prison actually looks nicer than Middleton. It tried to mimic “Lost” but missed its shot big time.
I could barely get through episode five before I finally gave up. I have no idea how this show ends, and I don’t care to find out.