Alphas is a great show, and you should watch it

Just thought I'd pass along that the SciFi channel is into the second season of a really outstanding show called Alphas. Spotted a post on MeFi yesterday, and thought I'd give it a try. I'm only partway through the first season, but I'm really hooked!

Basic idea of the plot: it's sort of X-Men lite, with a new breed of humans called Alphas, who have teeny-tiny superpowers. It feels like real human bodies with unusual abilities, rather than outright superpowers, and the heroes are fragile, ending up hurt on a regular basis. They dress like normal people, no spandex.

To give you an idea of overall power levels, the 'super strength' guy can shove a parked van sideways, but has to work at it, punches fist-sized holes in sheetrock, can lift and move a soda machine by himself, and can break open a chained door with a running jump. He can lay a guy out with a well-placed punch, but he'll just knock him down, not through the wall. And he can't do it for very long -- he's got one major burst of strength and speed, typically lasting two or three minutes, and he's all used up. Any mundane he clocks probably isn't going to get back up, but he's just really strong, not truly superhuman.

All the characters are like this, very human. I like the actors a lot, I like the characters a lot, and I find myself empathizing with them a great deal, both because they're likeable people, and because they're almost 100% human, and using their weak abilities in novel and interesting ways to outsmart the bad guys. The villains have a wide range of interesting powers, typically much stronger than the team, but there don't seem to be any 'monster of the week' episodes... every episode seems to hook into the main, overarching plot. The pacing is excellent.

It reminds me a bit of Fringe in terms of acting quality; everyone on the team does a great job from the first line they deliver. No shaky uncertainty, they're in control from word one. And the overall story is being woven together with real skill. It's a little reminiscent of X-Men, in that they're hitting on many of the same prejudice and discrimination themes. The bad guys are sometimes just bad guys, but the more important ones are complex and somewhat nuanced; they're OPPONENTS, but you can actually rather understand their motives, and even sympathize with them. (rather similar to Magneto in at least one case, though with an entirely different power.) I think it's outstanding.

If you like Fringe, you really oughta check this one out. And if you'd like X-Men, minus the silly suits and hyper-strong powers, it would appeal on that front as well.

+1

I've watched 2 or 3 episodes so far and I typically hate everything TV in the last 10 years.

This one is good.

I'll make sure to check this out as soon as I get back, sounds interesting.

I've been meaning to check this show out. Glad to hear it has some Goojer love. I'll definitely look in to it.

My wife and I are doing Netflix instant on this ourselves. Good show. Hope it doesn't take long for season two to show up on instant.

I've been enjoying it. It's hit and miss but, frankly, I'll watch David Strathairn in anything.

Trivia: it takes place in the same universe as Warehouse 13 and Eureka, so be prepared for crossovers.

Alphas is easily one of the better shows on SyFy. I think the writers have worked hard to go beyond the basic "superhero" ability/penalty balance to create characters that are truly compelling, complex, and all too human. The show's characters regularly deal with themes of exploitation, ostracization, isolation, self-doubt, and prejudice in a world frequently plagued with morally ambiguous situations. It's far from the happiest show around, but it's absolutely worth checking out.

I received the first season on DVD for my birthday last week and watched the first disk this past Saturday and enjoyed it thoroughly. I agree that it is definitely one of the better series put out by SyFy in quite some time.

I agree Alphas is a really good and interesting show. The first season really grew as it went,

Spoiler:
especially with the development of the Red Flag plot line.

I think the second season has been going well so far, but I found the resolution to the way they ended the first season

Spoiler:
a little dissapointing, essentially resetting things to the status quo after one episode, with very few consequences to Dr. Rosen's testimony going public. I'm also finding the ongoing serial arc with Stanton Parish less interesting then the Red Flag stuff from season 1.

But those quibbles are pretty minor, and overall it is a great show. Sorry about the spoilers, but I figured it was safer as people seem to be at different points in the show.

It's just about the best implementation of "what if real people got super powers?" to appear on TV. It's kind of what Heroes was going for, except the writers have brains.

Characters are written as people, not powers.

Yes, exactly, and the super powers are weak enough that they don't dominate the characters or the storyline. They're really interesting, and the writers are handling them very well, but even a wimpy Marvel character wouldn't need to work hard to take out all of them at once, and something like the Hulk would notice them no more than any other mundane. I suppose hyper-kinesic guy could figure out how to trip the Hulk or knock him off a bridge or something, but the absolute best they could do would be to deflect him briefly, get away, and hide.

Just finished Season 1, and I'm having a great, great time with this show. Definitely the best thing since Fringe.

First season is up on Netflix instant watch if anyone needs to catch up.

Huh. I caught the pilot of this and didn't think too much of it. It seemed fine, but not a show that was likely to develop into something worthwhile.

You guys are all indicating otherwise, so I'll go ahead and add this to my Netflix queue.

I've tried other shows on SyFy such as Warehouse 13 and the Lost Girl. This is the only one I watch regularly. I have never watched Fringe. I liked Heroes but Alphas is more grounded.

I caught up on season 2 this weekend.

I really wanted to like Warehouse 13, but lost interest. Lost Girl is okay -- it's got some interesting bits, but it's sort of a gigantically long chick flick.

Alphas is just different... although I think it shares a character with Warehouse 13.

Alphas is awesome.

Spoiler:
I like Gary, I find it interesting that they add a character that is Autistic as well as the red flag leader(blanking on her name) who also had a disability.

I too enjoy watching Alpha's, and I think so far season 2 is just as good as season 1 was.

Is Season 2 done on SyFy or just starting? Wondering how long I'll have to wait for it on Netflix Instant.

Also

Spoiler:
In the pilot it seemed like they were hinting that the Dr had an Alpha ability that messed up digital signals. In subsequent episodes it's seemed to be dropped. We finished season 1 and it was never hinted at again.

Season 2 is just starting.

Remember when Hannah made out with Sarah who could have orgasms from kissing? That was a little much. Nice, but I expected better from Alphas.

Well, I'm all caught up now. It's staying really great, although I do agree with Pacman's analysis of some of the second-season plotting. They still have time to fix it, but the next episode may be the halfway point. Last season was 11 eps, and so far on epguides, Season 2 is showing 13. #7 is next Monday, so if they're gonna pick that ball up, they better do it soon.

Looking forward to the 10th!

Oops, missed this:

Is Season 2 done on SyFy or just starting?

Epguides is presently showing 13 episodes for Season 2, but they were only showing 11 last week, so it could potentially be longer. Ep13 is scheduled for October 22, so that's the soonest the season will end.

What's it like after the first episode? I found the pacing kinda eh for the sort of program it is, but I figured this might have a lot to do with introducing so many characters. I'd like to really like this show, as it seems decently put together and the whole low-powered hero business smacks of some of my favorite pen-and-paper RPG campaigns of old.

That sounds not only tolerable, but about my speed. I'll give the next few a shot. Thanks for the input, Malor.

Oh, they're missing one really obvious idea, which I'll spoiler-tag because it's sort of a plot development:

Spoiler:
So, it seems like children of Alphas come out stronger, right? Sort of second-generation mutants? So why on earth aren't they calling them Betas?

Oh, yet another interesting bit: Summer Glau has been in a couple of episodes, and it's nice to see her being sorta-kinda normal, as opposed to playing brain-damaged River. Her beauty is much more apparent here than it was in Firefly. She is really a stunner.

Another episode has both Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek) and Rebecca Mader, creepy-eyes lady from Fringe. That was one of the best ones so far.

Edit to add:

What's it like after the first episode?

Well, it's always kind of relaxed. It's paced well, but it's almost never frenetic or super-stressful. I think of it as a relaxing show, one that tugs on your brain and on your heart a little, instead of just whacking you over the head with 100% TENSION ALL THE TIME, like some shows do.

There's some genuine nuance to both the heroes and the villains, and it's really, really not clear whether the heroes are actually the good guys. The show has strong themes of moral complexity, and living in an imperfect world with just a _little_ more power than everyone else has.

Malor wrote:

There's some genuine nuance to both the heroes and the villains, and it's really, really not clear whether the heroes are actually the good guys. The show has strong themes of moral complexity, and living in an imperfect world with just a _little_ more power than everyone else has.

I think this is a great summation of what I like about the show, it definitely has a very strong emphasis on moral complexity, and that makes everything more interesting for me. I might say that I think the main characters are definitely "good guys", but it is most definitely not clear that they are on the right side (or that there even is a right side).

I think this also helps me define a little bit what I am not as sure about in the second season.

Spoiler:
The overall motives and end goals for Stanton Parish are unclear, and because of that he is very hard to evaluate from a moral perspective. He is just kind of a cypher, and I am not finding the mystery of that especially intriguing.

Quite intrigued from the description, and glad I looked at this thread. Based on the tidbits I read I thought it was a-superhero--esque "everyone's a God and nobody gets really hurt except the bad guys", so I'm interested.

"everyone's a God and nobody gets really hurt except the bad guys"

Definitely not. One of the main characters has a fairly severe health problem that developed from their ability.

Oh, and Pacman, I agree with your spoilered opinion. That's a good call.

So, I started over on Season 1, looking for the defining moment of when you will or won't like the series.

I think it's Episode 2. If you watch all the way through Episode 2, and don't care for the show, you probably won't like it. The broad outlines are set there, and if you don't find that story interesting, I don't believe the later stuff will appeal, either.

edit: Note that 2 is pretty cerebral, rather than emotional. You're not very attached to or interested in the main team yet... it's all about the lead guy, and the team barely registers. But the themes in that episode are very, very important, and if you don't find them interesting, then all you'll have left is the charisma of the actors to hook you. They're pretty charismatic, but I'm not sure they're enough on their own.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
It's just about the best implementation of "what if real people got super powers?" to appear on TV. It's kind of what Heroes was going for, except the writers have brains.

Characters are written as people, not powers.

Try Misfits

Maq wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
It's just about the best implementation of "what if real people got super powers?" to appear on TV. It's kind of what Heroes was going for, except the writers have brains.

Characters are written as people, not powers.

Try Misfits

I LOVE Misfits, and because i watched that before Alphas probably spoiled it for me.

I find Alphas just plodding and annoying to watch. I only watched 3 or 4 episodes of the 1st season and tried 2 of the 2nd and just cant get into it.

Just saw this week's episode. Good combo of Monster of the Week and general plot development. I was surprised at how fast the plot is moving along, but then I remembered that they don't have very many episodes each season, so they don't really have any choice.

Spoiler:
I thought Nina's subplot with the Senator was pretty interesting -- not only are we no longer sure that Rosen &Co. are on the right side, if they're willing to do things like that, maybe they aren't the right side themselves, you know?