Syfy, July 11 (US)
A brainwashed assassin is co-opted by a group of ‘gifted’ individuals working for the Government.
It’s The Tomorrow People meets Heroes! The pilot episode of Syfy’s much-touted Alphas opened with confidence, rapidly introducing the team of super-powered characters. However, as it named and displayed each super-power they became increasingly risible. The kid with an ‘attitude problem’, Gary (Ryan Cartwright), can intercept all electro-magnetic waves: broadcast, internet, mobile phone. Useful, but let’s hope it is optional, because otherwise living would be intolerable. The others have powers like mind-control, super-strength and enhanced senses. It’s verging on No Ordinary Family territory.
The opening episode has a classic locked room mystery that is rapidly solved thanks to a disappointingly simple solution. The rest of the story is the traditional “recruitment of new member” tale, with Hicks (Warren Christie) escaping punishment for his killing of a witness (albeit under duress) by joining the team. At least the music is good…
Bringing a bit of class to this middling endeavour is David Strathairn as Dr. Lee Rosen, head of the team. He’s an old hippie with a touch of the mad scientist about him, and enlivens every scene he appears in.
Much is set up in this episode, what with the ‘red flag’ evil organisation targeting the Alphas, and hints that unreconstructed super-powered people are being held in something called ‘the compound’.
Verdict: Where it goes from here will determine whether this show will be the alpha among the new crop of SF TV.
Episode 1 ‘Pilot’: 6/10
Brian J. Robb