Syfy's latest original series, Alphas, is scheduled to debut in just over a month. The promotion machine is in full swing, with a cinematic poster and multiple TV promos hyping-up the summer premiere.
Alphas follows Section 8, a team of meta-humans employed by the CIA to find and subdue threats from other 'Alphas'. Say, this is starting to sound familiar. The team is lead by Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn, Good Night and Good Luck), a normal human (Beta?) psychiatrist who counsels the team and hones their abilities.
First up is Bill Harken, (Malik Yoba, Defying Gravity) a former FBI agent with incredible physical powers. He gains strength, speed and endurance in response to an adrenal rush, the same way normal people do - with more spectacular results. Essentially the Section 8 heavy, his former government service makes him the tactical front-man.
Cameron Hicks (Warren Christie, Happy Town) is a former Army sniper turned outlaw, who's spent years running from one shadowy group or another. His hyperkinesis gives him extreme visual acuity and motor control, making him a perfect gunman and close-quarters martial artist.
Gary Bell (Ryan Cartwright, Bones) is a human antenna - his brain can interpret radio waves - allowing him to tune into television, radio and data broadcasts. This makes him an ideal surveillance operative and hacker, but Gary can't always shut off his ability - imagine being unable to change the channel during a Dancing With The Stars marathon.
Nina Theroux (Laura Mennell, Watchmen) possess a singular control over other people's neural pathways, allowing her to influence the part of the brain that makes judgements. Essentially, she can lie, perfectly and utterly convincingly, to anyone. Naturally, this means it's difficult for anyone on the team or in the CIA to trust her completely.
Rachel Pirzad (Azita Ghanizada, General Hospital: Night Shift) has a selective control of her senses: she can temporarily enhance one sense to super-human levels at the expense of the others. This makes her an effective crime scene analyst and examiner, but leaves her vulnerable while she uses her power.
You can see the whole team in the movie-style poster below. Clockwise from top left: Hicks, Rosen, Pirzad, Harken, Theroux and Bell.
Syfy has also started airing short TV promos. You can watch three of them below:
So far, Alphas seems to be a bit bland. There's action in the promos, but not nearly enough to put you on the edge of your seat. There's no standout dialogue either or any particularly compelling characters.
That said, the leads and their built-in flaws as well as weaknesses seem interesting and, if done right, it could be a more character-focused take on the superhero genre. We'll hold judgement until the premiere next month.
Syfy's Alphas premieres with a 90-minute opening episode on July 11th at 10PM.
Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelCrider
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