Alphas is the latest tv-series from the Syfy Channel. It is produced by no other than Gail Berman (Malcolm in the middle, 24) and Ira Steven Behr (DS9) and has both sci-fi and supernatural elements.
The series revolves around a group of people with special abilities such as superb hearing and smell as well as being able to listen to the ether (TV, wi-fi etc). The head of this group is Dr. Lee Rosen (David Straithairn) who acts as both guide fo the group members and liaison between a mysterious government facilitator Wilson (Callum Rennie). The episode starts when a witness of Wilson gets shot to the head in a enclosed room without windows. The task is up to Dr. Rosen and his ‘Alphas’ to solve how and who shot the witness. Their attention quickly focusses on Cameron Hicks (Warren Christie) a ex-sniper with remarkable ability for accurate pitch and shooting. It is quickly discovered that Hicks has had his brain washed and the pursuit is on to catch whoever did it and draft Hicks into the group.
Alphas at first sight seems very familiar. It takes elements from past series such as Monk (compulsive disorders) and fetchy dialog from House and Eureka while trying to explain at least some of the sci-fi elements in a style similar to Numbers. That’s where this show hits its first snag, not only do some of the supernatural elements seem far-fetched they also quickly transform into a deus ex machina where every problem is solved by one of the special abilities from the Alphas group members. The episode made allusion to this problem by inserting humor and the problems of the downsides of these special abilities into the storyline but it will remain to be seen for how long this can amuse viewers.
For now the future of this series is up to its writers and producers, it can either become a ‘villain of the week’ show or at least try take to take new avenues away from the tv shows that it took elements from. For a pilot it isn’t bad though I hope the show will be able to pull the same special effects in future episodes as well.