04 August, 2011

ALPHAS - Best Geek Show of the Summer?


Writer: Head Geek Furious

Only four episodes into this series and I am more impressed than I expected. ALPHAS, the SyFy network's merging of FRINGE and HEROES, seems to have a mostly winning formula of actors, characters, and mission-of-the-week stuff mixed into a quasi-serialized storyline. Here are my bullet points for why I will keep watching and also why I could stop:
  • The different powers of the good-guy Alphas work well together and lend to a believable series of episodes where certain strengths are utilized. Sure, the stories are written so that powers have a convenient fit, but it works since the team was put together as a compliment of abilities. That helps a lot with suspension of disbelief, something HEROES suffered from a great deal as the show went on and powers had to be gained and stripped away depending on the opponent or situation.
  • The show looks like they are spending network money on it. I don't know if that will be sustained throughout the entire season, but for now it doesn't look cable-cheap.
  • There is an atmosphere of doom in much of the show that reminds me of early BSG episodes. It adds weight to the fear, confusion, and lack of confidence the team has, and also makes situations of loss feel more important than they might if the show was more upbeat.
  • It takes itself seriously. It isn't trying to sell the audience on some comic book super power series. It is much like early FRINGE in the way it deals with story lines, including having an eccentric and socially inept member of the team who acts as something of the comedic relief (though, he is no Walter Bishop). However, unlike early FRINGE, this show seems to know what it is and where it wants to go.
  • It is 5.7 times better than FALLING SKIES.
There are of course flaws:
  • The individual arcs of the characters start off lacking punch.
  • Not all the main actors stand out in the crowd.  HEROES was much better about clearly defining characters and making you want to see more of their abilities.
  • The mission-of-the-week stuff could easily become tiresome if it isn't somehow tied to forwarding the serialized elements of the show.  I mean, how many times can writers borrow plot points from X-FILES before it stops being fun?
  • The show needs its big villain around.
Overall, after watching four episodes, I recommend checking it out.  It isn't going to replace any show you love, or loved, but it has potential and is worth recording on your DVR.  Give it a chance to grow and if it doesn't work for you, then the delete button is always nearby.

5 comments:

  1. You are not the only one who I respect who is saying positive things. I've stockpiled it due to limited time constraints of late. I'll definitely not delete it until giving it a chance.

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  2. I don't highly recommend it or anything, but it is certainly worth checking out.

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  3. Pretty much agree with this. The show is nothing earth shattering but it fills the summer doldrums. Haven't watched the most recent episode yet but I probably will. Like your thoughts on the characters too, I wish there was something more defining about them, so there was one or two I could really root for or care about more.

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  4. I felt 1 was OK, while 2 and 3 were very good. 4 had its moments but I also felt it had the weakest final quarter.

    If there is a character who I am rooting for, it would be the Rainman kid.

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  5. Lol he is the reason I decided to check it out. I didn't like how they killed him off on Bones and heard about his character on this show and thought it would be cool to see him in something different.

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