Friday, July 15, 2011

Pilot Review: Alphas

Alphas (Syfy)
Premiered July 11 at 10pm

Syfy’s latest series is certainly in line with the themes of its other shows, but there’s something distinctly different about this particular program. It’s considerably sleeker and more intensive than series like “Haven” and “Warehouse 13,” with a rather more stacked cast of characters. The reveal of the main players and their powers was quite stylish, starting with Nina making the cop eat the ticket, Bill pushing the car out of the driveway with his bare hands, and Gary uses his transduction in mid-air. There’s plenty of good humor, particularly coming from Gary wanting to be the driver, without taking away from the dramatic nature of the show. What really functions well here is that they work together as a team, using their abilities to help each other and to make sure they don’t overexert their powers. Having a new Alpha being scouted to join the team is typical pilot territory, but that doesn’t detract at all from its effectiveness. Cameron hearing “Time to kill” and one of the villains hearing “Kill yourself” from everyone he looked at was a cool way of presenting his symptoms, and I think this could very well be a smart successor to “The X-Files” with a much wider cast. I like the stars but I’ll have to wait until next week to truly pass judgment on them since they require more development. I’m not sure how this show will hold up in its second week, but I’m looking forward to sticking around and finding out.

How will it work as a series? There are enough characters on the team that one or two can be spotlighted in each episode, plus they work together more than well enough without sidelining any of them. Additionally, there’s a greater mythology and plenty of unknowns about the Alphas that should give it more than sufficient material to work with on an episodic basis.
How long will it last? The show opened strongly with the highest ratings for a Syfy original series premiere since “Warehouse 13,” which is very good news. On top of that, its content and premise are entirely in line with the network’s brand of programming, so I’d imagine it will be around for a while, earning a second season sometime later this summer.

Pilot grade: B+

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