It’s Impossible to Like These Characters

Now that I know impossible is what they do best I don’t feel so bad about the title.

Alphas is a new show on SyFy about a team of people that use abilities they have (mind control, heightened senses, increased adrenaline) to look into and solve crimes. I’m pretty sure they didn’t make it very clear what branch of the government, if any, they work for. They either didn’t, or I was too busy wondering how many episodes this show would last.

In this first episode the team is looking into how a man being interrogated in a federal building ended up with a bullet in the head, even though there was no gun in the room and the two men interrogating him had no idea what happened. Spoiler alert: Cameron (future team member according to the promos) did it, but he was being controlled by an evil unseen man with powerful mind control abilities.


YAY

  • Uh-oh, here’s my go-to when I don’t really like much about something I’m reviewing: the concept. The concept is cool, it’s been done before, but it had potential.
NAY :
  • Yeah, about that concept. The way it’s handled is very vague and unoriginal. Bill (Malik Yoba/bottom right of poster) can increase his adrenaline to give himself super strength for a limited amount of time. We don’t see this translate into a speed increase, but doesn’t that sound like such an obvious rip from Wanted? Rachel(top right) can heighten her senses to sort of see odors or blood cells and to hear things a block away. Cameron(top left), you’re going to love this one, has “hyperkinesis” and that puts him “in tune” with everything.
  • Of course they don’t all get along. Where would the group drama be if they all got along?
  • The way the characters are handled makes it very hard to like any of them. Bill is kind of an asshole, Rachel is almost comically unsure of herself, Nina(bottom middle) comes off as a self-centered bitch, Cameron is the cliched reluctant hero, and Gary(bottom left), oh my god, Gary.
  • Gary gets his own bullet because holy shit he was annoying. Gary’s power is he can see electro-magnetic spectrums and apparently watch YouTube videos traveling over them. He also acts a lot like Dustin Hoffman in Rainman, and if he is supposed to be autistic people should be pissed off about the whole myth that autism gives people affected by it special mental powers. Gary is just the most grating character, who so far isn’t making up for it in the eyes of the audience. Ok, I just read the official synopsis of this show and Gary is autistic. I’ve met a lot of autistic people, and none of them have EVER reminded me of Dustin Hoffman in Rainman. NONE OF THEM.

I’m going to continue giving Alphas a chance, but after the first 90-minute episode I’m not as excited about it anymore (I wrote the time of the first episode on the date it premiered on a physical calendar, and I rarely ever do that). It’s going to take a lot for it to win me over, and I’m just not sure with the characters in place it can be done.  This show isn’t Battlestar Galactica, it’s not going to gain viewers because of it’s characters or interpersonal drama. A way it could have a fighting chance is if they start including a lot of action set pieces, play to your supposed strengths.

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