I have a Pavlovian response when Syfy puts a show out there: I don’t watch right away. Syfy has trained me to be disappointed with their shows, so much that, when one comes along that looks interesting, I feel no sense of urgency to watch it. My attitude is, “Well, I’ll get to it eventually. Let me watch this 43 year old episode of Star Trek I’ve seen a thousand times, first.”
Consider Alphas. It sounded like it might be interesting. But, it’s Syfy and I was in no hurry to be disappointed. So, the series premiere languished in my DVR list for two weeks before I finally hunkered down to watch it with a slice of zucchini cake and a massive eyeroll.
Damn, Alphas was good. Not even Syfy Good (which is a level of good that’s not really good, but not double plus ungood like so many Syfy Original movies). Just plain good, quality television. So good, I caught up on all three episodes in a day.
Here are five reasons you should be watching Alphas:
1. It’s smart.
Alphas wasted no time getting the story going. We weren’t subjected to the origin stories of the Alphas or how Dr. Rosen got Nina, Gary, Rachel, and Bill together. There was no adjustment period – there was just a guy wigging out, an impossible sniper shot, and the team going in. All those other bits have been strewn here and there in a natural way that doesn’t detract from the week’s mission.
2. The abilities are believable.
So far, the only really flashy ability has been Gary, who is basically a human antennae – he can see and read frequencies the way we read the internets. But, there’s a price for it: there’s so much for him to process, so much between him and everyone else that it’s rendered him a bit Aspergery. Everyone else’s abilities are just one small step beyond the ordinary – controlled and directed, they allow the Alphas to do extraordinary things, short of flight, invisibility, and such. Even without the flashiness, it’s still exciting.
3. No one is all emo.
All of the Alphas have been affected by their abilities, but they don’t wallow. It probably helps that they all have regular therapy sessions with Dr. Rosen. It’s indicated that they had trouble adjusting to their abilities; we just don’t see that part and we don’t really need to (we’ve already seen Heroes, right?). Even the bad guys so far (and the ones coming up) aren’t simply misunderstood rascals whose dads never hugged them.
4. There’s a satchel full of bad guys.
This bunch of Alphas has learned to control their abilities and direct them. Others, not so much. Those that aren’t successful working with Dr. Rosen get sent to a facility for treatment – he keeps a satchel of their labeled sessions tapes in his office. However, there are indications that the treatment is actually something really malevolent, creating animosity and unbalance. In short, creating villains.
5. It’s seamlessly incorporating a long arc into the weekly eps.
Alphas is doing a great job of bridging the long form/ Alpha-of-the-week format. It’s not one or the other.
Alphas is really good and I highly recommend it. And you know me: I don’t recommend anything.