Alphas: Pilot

I didn't want to review this premiere, mostly because I got burned so badly by Heroes. But I am pleased to report that this pilot is surprisingly good. Which is great, because I hate writing negative reviews.

Alphas are ordinary people with "special skills". Nina can manipulate people with her voice, Bill has super strength, Rachel has enhanced senses (I thought she was the most interesting), and Gary sees EM in the air. These enhancements didn't make them feel like superheroes to me, though; the skills were presented as "neurological differences" and included limitations and a down side. It made the show less like a comic book and easier for me to buy into.

Shows and movies like this typically begin with an origin story, with good reason. But I found the lack of a typical origin story in Alphas rather refreshing. The four initial Alphas and Dr. Rosen, their Professor Xavier, were already a team with a solid working relationship and a genuine liking and concern for each other -- even Gary, who is constantly annoying through no fault of his own. They are already familiar with each other's strengths, quirks and limitations. The best part of this pilot wasn't the special effects or the action sequences -- it was the characters, and the character interaction. By the time the story reached a climax, I liked all of the Alphas and cared when they were in danger. I really wanted to see what happened next. I even liked the fifth Alpha, Cameron Hicks, whose introduction was the center of this pilot.

David Straithairn (Dr. Rosen) is a major talent, and they scored quite a coup signing him on. (He probably read the script and realized he'd actually have something to work with.) Callum Keith Rennie, who should be in pretty much everything and often is, played Rosen's official government contact (I think), and he and Straithairn bounced lines off each other beautifully, like the pros they are.

Home run. Keep it up, Alphas. If you do, I'll be watching,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

4 comments:

Paul Reed said...

Enjoyed this. It feels like a cross between Leverage and Heroes. Good cast, good script, interesting characters and nice idea. Looking forward to next week.

Jess Lynde said...

After all the positive responses, the hubby and I decided to give this one a try, too. It was definitely engaging, and the team dynamic was pretty solid. I just hope they tone down the "everyone talks over each other" thing. I really hate that.

I really liked Callum Keith Rennie and David Straithairn. They had a very nice dynamic. I wonder if Rennie will stay on as a recurring part of the show. I just read that he got added to the cast of NBC's The Firm.

Gus Brunetti said...

I liked it too, and I hope it doesn't turn into a procedural. Though it doesn't look like it, what with the Red Flag organization already mentioned and the short season.

One thing bothered me: when I was about 3 years old, I went once to my grandmother's house, which hadn't benn babyproofed yet, and drank bleach. I can assure you that I didn't die. There was plenty of time to go to the hospital and have a stomach pump. (note: 1 week later I drank furniture polisher. I was a terrible son. The hospital staff were eventually on a first name basis with my mother.)

One thing I liked was that no one seems to be *too* powerful, so ther'll be no Peter Petrellis "forgeting" powers, apparently. And the powers also have side effects, making the Alphas use them more wisely. I wonder what's the side effect to Mina.

TJ said...

I liked it a lot! Let's just say that I have high hopes for this show. In a strange way a kinda compared it to last years Rubicon, but frankly, I realise these shows have nothing in common (or do they?? hmmm).

I will just keep my fingers crossed that this will be this summer hit show...