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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Alphas: AKA: A New Kind of Super Hero

Last night Alphas premiered on SyFy. Not gonna lie I'd been looking forward to this since I found out one of the reasons Mr. Vincent Nigel-Murray, aka the fantastic Ryan Cartwright, was written off of Bones was because his pilot got picked up. Since Vincent was my fav of the replacements for my beloved Zack Addy (what can say I apparently have a thing for geeky, sorta socially awkward squints), I was devastated by his final episode. So hearing that he would once again be gracing my television screen once a week I KNEW I'd be tuning in.

The concept of Alphas is nothing new, a group of humans with extra ordinary powers, secretly working for the government. Luckily for the Alphas they look more like X-Men's  Jean Grey, without the hideous costume, than Beast. Fun Fact one of the writers, Zak Penn, also worked on X-Men: The Last Stand and The Avengers, so the man knows his super powers.

Another interesting twist, that most Super Hero stories, because let's face it having awesome powers means you have two career options: super hero or super villain, leave out is the day to day stuff. For example the Alphas need to find ways to pay rent, find transportation and such.

Another interesting stipulation is that these super humans have limitations, believable ones too, as opposed to the I can do ANYTHING until you wave a glowing green rock at me, nothing against the man of steel but I have issues with SEVERAL plot points of that world...

Anyway last night we were introduced to several characters with extraordinary abilities:

Nina Theroux, played by the lovely Laura Mennell, who has the extraordinary ability to bend peoples will. Which if you ask me as a seriously kick ass power.

Bill Harken, played by Malik Yoba, who has incredible strength brought on by a heightened fight or flight response, however after a few moments he goes all into shake overload mode and has to take a breather.

Rachel Pizard, played by Azita Ghanizada, can amplify her senses, at the expense of all others.

Cameron Hick, played by Warren Christie, is the new comer to the group and he has what I'll simplify to say perfect aim and extreme muscle control.

Finally we have Gary Bell, played by Ryan Cartwright. Gary is an autistic “transducer”, which basically means he can read electromagnetic wavelengths and is able to hack into cellphone signals and Wi-Fi frequencies purely using his mind. Now as I said I am predispositioned to love all that Ryan does, but it was fascinating for me to see just how much of a range he has as an actor. His transformation was incredible, he was almost unrecognizable from the happy little British squint I've come to know and love.

The team is lead by Dr. Lee Rosen, played by Academy Award Nominee David Strathairn. Who seems a bit Professor X to me, though interestingly enough we haven't learned if the Dr. himself has any abilities.

Despite a lot of technical jargon, Alphas not only held my interest, but made me want more. There is A LOT happening in every scene, and not all of it in the foreground. Many times during the pilot I caught myself rewinding to try and catch a part of the background conversations as well, just to learn more of what was going on.

I full on admit to being a bit of geek, super heroes especially, so I am really excited to see where they go with this series. Alphas has totally given me something to make me look forward to Mondays.

For those of you who missed it, full episode is available on the official site.

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