Sunday I posted that I would be reviewing the Alphas pilot. It’s been nearly a day since I watched the premiere and I’m still not sure what I make of it. There was sufficient action and it downplayed the soap-opera drama that Heroes fell victim to, I still think I’ll need another episode or two to determine if it’s going to make its way into my regular weekly rotation.
The concept is traditional comic book fare: a team of people brought together because their extraordinary powers combined make them stronger than they are apart. They even have traditional superpowers with more innovate names (Nina is an Inducer, or mind manipulating Telepath). So old concept, new twists -was it worth watching? Yeah -here’s why: Gary and Rachel.
Gary, portrayed by Ryan Cartwright, can read and track electronic communications like phone calls, television, or wi-fi (seen through his eyes as a never-ending grid of lights). Cool power, but the downside is he suffers from Asperger Syndrome, a possible result of his abilities. His power is crucial to the team but at the same time they are forced to “babysit” him to keep him out of trouble. And he is a constant annoyance to Bill, the gruff Strongman of the group, who sees him as both a hazard and joke.
Rachel, played byAzita Ghanizada, is the slightly awkward protege of their “leader” Dr. Rosen who has the power to enhance any of her senses. However, while one sense is greatly enhanced the others become severely weakened (say temporarily deaf or blind). She actually helps track down a suspect by sensing microscopic traces of citrus oil, nicotine, and a hormone common only to men of Norwegian heritage. Now that’s impressive.
The downside to them is that, while they have interesting abilities, they’re not in on the action. Those spots go to super-strong Bill and agile marksman Carter the “action stars” of the show. Rachel is actually damsel in distress at the end of the episode when she is held hostage by the villain-of-the-week, The Ghost.
What can I say, it held my interest for an hour and half and not a lot of shows can do that anymore. I’ll be watching next week to see if they flesh out the characters a bit more and I am rather curious about the mysterious Red Flag villain they keep mentioning. Syfy has been rather successful with their other original programs but I don’t keep up with them regularly, maybe Alphas will break that cycle.
MY SCORE: (C+) A recycled concept with some new, interesting twists. It’s an enjoyable watch, but there is definitely room for improvement in future episodes.