Alphas: Pilot

You know, I was going to watch Alphas anyway, but when you stack the opening minutes with Warren Christie, then David Strathairn (rocking a Speedo!), then Callum Keith Rennie, well, that’s just cheating. Aside from the bounty of beautiful men, the series focuses on a handful of special people gifted with abilities that most of them don’t necessarily want, but with which they are making do the best they can.

Nina (Laura Mennell) can compel folks to do whatever she wants — and she’s used it primarily for personal gain. Working for Strathairn’s Dr. Rosen is her penance, but there’s also an unspoken crime in her past that they can’t or won’t speak of (yet). Bill (Malik Yoba) is a benched Feeb who can auto-Hulk, and it’s got a timed release so that he literally has to get in and get out once he activates before his heart overloads. Gary (Ryan Cartwright) is a high-functioning autistic who can visualize cellular communication waves and focus in on each feed or process all comms at once (would LOVE this gift if I could narrow it down). Rachel has hyper-attuned awareness and draws a sort of high by picking up the vibrations of objects and people through echolocation.

Christie plays the newest member, Cameron Hicks. He’s recruited to kill a witness through a mysterious phone call that activates his dormant assassin (think The Manchurian Candidate). Afterward, he has no recollection of it. His gift is extraordinarily precise focus and aim — it served him well in baseball until he panicked about it not being always on for him. The Alphas are drawn to him by Rennie’s character — a shady government official with no direct affiliation who’s (grudgingly) in cahoots with Strathairn. He’s in the room when the witness is killed, so he has a personal stake.

The assassination is compelled by a ghost alpha who’s using his gifts to weed out someone or something that we don’t learn. The pilot focuses on the “good” Alphas taking him down and introducing their ragtag family to the audience. It was a quick 90 minutes that stopped to explore a little bit of the lives the folks lead when they’re not “on.”

It’s shot in Toronto, so I’m looking forward to the locations and Canadian actor repertoire. When we spoke with Ira Steven Behr, he mentioned that we would have some of his alumni from Dark Angel and The 4400 dropping by. Sweet!

I liked that Dr. Rosen approaches his Alphas almost as children, and is protective of them on that scale — so much so that Yoba hangs up on him for using “that voice” with him. We don’t know much about Rosen yet — how he came to lead the Alphas and who’s footing the bill. They have an office space (complete with MRI equipment) and each of the Alphas has an office, so they seem to have a pretty good budget. There’s a lot to learn. With the assembly of such an awesome core cast and intriguing premise, I’m in.

Alphas airs at 10pm ET on Syfy and SPACE. You can catch this episode online at each network’s website.

Photo Courtesy of Syfy

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