Ordinary people with extraordinary powers come together in the name of truth, justice and the American way. Could be Heroes, could be X-Men, could be the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. But Syfy’s new series Alphas is more like The Champions and since most of you have never seen that show, this will be new ground for you.
The series stars David Strathairn as Dr. Lee Rosen, a neurophysiologist / therapist / boss who oversees a group of crime solvers called “Alphas.” Each member of the team has a special power that they’ve kept hidden from the world and no one in their everyday life knows what they really do with their time each day. What makes the series unique is that the powers aren’t really “super.” They’re actually more like what you see on Fringe, mutated version of explainable abilities. No one flies, runs faster than a speeding bullet or lifts a bus with one hand.
Bill Harken’s (Malik Yoba) skill comes from an over-active fight or flight reflex. When he gets stressed, this former FBI agent has the strength of ten men (but I don’t think he can lift a bus.) The downside is that the bursts of energy take their toll on him physically and he has anger management problems which keep him from working effectively with the team.
The other man on the outs is Gary Bell (Ryan Cartwright of Bones). He is a high-functioning teenage autistic who sees electromagnetic frequencies. That means he can visualize radio, TV and cell signals. From his point of view, he’s constantly sorting through the data that streams past his eyes. To the rest of the world, he’s an anti-social misfit with finger ticks and no focus.
Nina Theroux (Laura Mennell) has the ability to make people think what she wants them to think as long as she can look them in the eyes. Rachel Pirzad (Azita Ghanizada) can heighten any one of her senses but only at the expense of another.
In the pilot episode, the group is tasked with solving a locked room murder. The victim: an informant in police custody. The killer: Cameron Hicks, a grocery clerk who just might be an Alpha. Warren Christie (Luther from the “Dead Man’s Blood” episode of Supernatural and Greggy from Happy Town) plays Hicks. His skill is the ability to coordinate his mind and body to a point where he has perfect aim. So perfect, he can throw coins into a soda machine from across the room. The downside for Hicks is that he freezes under pressure, oh and he also can’t remember assassinating anyone.
Alphas strays from the normal super hero formula mostly because there are no super villains. At least, not in the pilot. It’s more like Bones with a Fringe twist than Smallville. The characters, even at their worst, are extremely likeable. Ryan Cartwright steals every scene he’s in with his patience-sapping portrayal of autistic Bell and Christie is. . . well. . he’s hunky, so there’s that. For the male viewer, imagine sexy Nina making you do everything she wants simply by whispering the words.
Alphas is funny, endearing and action-packed. It’s just the right thing to cap off a night of light, scifi fun which includes all new episodes of Eureka and Warehouse 13.
It all begins this Monday, July 11 on Syfy.