You might think it's borrowed a bit from "Heroes" or even "The X-Men." But if you think "Alphas" is going to be something you've seen before, think again.
Even if you don't believe me, don't let that deter you from watching "Alphas," especially if you're someone who likes characters.
And that's what "Alphas" is about. It's characters. Actually, some fascinating characters put in some interesting, yet thought-provoking situations. In fact, I wouldn't compare "Alphas" to anything Zak Penn has done in the past. Instead, I think you could look at it as a much lighter (and maybe even more interesting) "Rubicon."
The story seems somewhat stale -- people find out they can push themselves a little harder, and in the process develop special abilities. But then again, no one ever thought about making these people feel real.
Take Bill Harken, played by Malik Yoba. He's a former FBI agent who suddenly found himself out of the agency, and dealing with spurts of extreme strength (usually popping up when he's not so happy). He would give everything to go back to the FBI, but instead, he's stuck in some small crime-fighting group that doesn't even have an official sanction from law enforcement.
Taking orders from a scientist (David Strathairn as Dr. Leigh Rosen), Harken really can't do much more than roll his eyes, almost mocking this Scooby gang. And it doesn't make him very pleasant to be around.
Especially if you're Gary Bell (Ryan Cartwright), a high-functioning autistic who basically has Verizon FiOS built into his head (yeah, Verizon is sponsoring the pilot on Monday, so why not give them a plug?). He is not always focused on reality, which can be a bit frustrating to Harken, but he does have to stay focused on his ability. Why? Because like every Alpha, there is a cost for each of them every time they use their ability.
The cost to have enhanced senses like Rachel Pirzad (Azita Ghanizada) is that every other sense shuts down. So when she is focused on something, she loses the ability to be aware of her surroundings -- putting her in instant danger if she is alone.
And then there's my favorite character, Nina Theroux, played brilliantly by Laura Mennell. She has the ability to use the Force and convince people to do whatever she wants. We discover that early on when she makes a police officer eat the speeding ticket he tried to give her. Literally.
I have tried to teach myself in the past not to walk into anything with pre-conceptions. But reading the description of "Alphas," it's hard not to. Well, this is a case where you really need to leave your pre-conceptions at the door. If you do, you'll find "Alphas" to be fun, funny and quite interesting. Even if the stories themselves don't blow you away, the interaction of these characters will.
There's plenty of conflict both inside and outside this organization. But it's completely worth watching both of it. "Alphas" joins "Warehouse 13" and "Eureka" to really give Syfy a super Monday (see a video reason here. This is a combination you can't miss each week.
The pilot episode was written by Zak Penn, based on a creation by Michael Karnow. It was directed by Jack Bender.
Get a first look at "Alphas" by clicking here.
The pilot of "Alphas" premieres Monday at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy.
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