The Fringe co-creator told Entertainment Weekly that he was initially attracted by the project's "kick ass" premise.
"There's a kind of intrigue about Alcatraz," he explained "I heard the name and I thought, 'How could there never have been a show called Alcatraz?' I [also] liked the idea... of the worst of the worst being sent to that place. What happens if they all disappeared one day, and what happens if they suddenly came back and had not aged a day?"
He continued: "The premise from the very beginning is something I knew I would watch. That's certainly not an arbitrator of what anyone else would watch, but I knew it was a good place to start."
However, Abrams admitted that Fox initially had some reservations about the show, which stars Lost's Jorge Garcia and Jurassic Park actor Sam Neill.
"Fox wanted to know what they were getting into," he revealed. "They did not want to get into a situation where it was a completely up-for-grabs scenario. They asked for the explanation of what's going on [in the show] to a large degree."
He insisted that the first season will welcome new viewers and not rely heavily on series mythology.
"This is a very specific stand-alone show seeing these [Alcatraz] prisoners come back every week," he said. "But there's also this [overarching] story that will be a part of the tent-pole episodes of the show."
Alcatraz will debut mid-season on Fox.
> Alcatraz - What the Lost guys did next...
Watch a trailer for Fox's Alcatraz below: