Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Alphas: 1.1 "Pilot"

Series summary (from Netflix): A team of individuals gifted with extraordinary neurological abilities is tasked with solving a series of high-profile crimes. Among them are an autistic man whose mind works as fast as a computer and an FBI agent with super strength.

I'm watching this because: It's sci-fi, and Netflix recommended it. Really, I clicked on it on a whim.

Recap: The show begins in a supermarket. A worker (who looked incredibly familiar but I didn't identify until I imdb'd him and learned he was in the incredibly implausible Hallmark movie The Most Wonderful Time of the Year) receives a text message listing a time and a place. From then on, the message "Time to kill" is everywhere he turns. And at the appointed time, he picks up a rifle and pulls the trigger.

Next we meet Dr. Rosen (the fabulous David Strathairn), who is in charge of a group of Alphas. Alphas' brains have evolved beyond those of normal humans, giving them special abilities. Rosen is not an Alpha (as least as far as we know), but his goal is to help them harness their abilities.

Then we meet the Alphas: Nina, a woman who can compel people to do her bidding by making eye contact when she speaks; Bill (Malik Yoba, who I will always know as Yul Brenner on Cool Runnings), a man with super-human strength; Rachel, a woman with synesthesia; and Gary (Ryan Cartwright, the dearly departed Vincent Nigel-Murray from Bones), a young autistic man who can read all waves on the electromagnetic field.

The Alphas are assembled to investigate the inexplicable murder of a suspect in a police interrogation room. Rosen learns the murder is the work of Red Flag, an extremist Alpha group, and soon the Alphas learn the murderer's identity: Cameron Hicks, the grocery store worker.

By combining their abilities, they are able to capture Cameron, and they discover he's an Alpha who has been brainwashed. Cameron joins up with them to catch Red Flag's operative, but the operative escapes. Eventually, Rosen realizes the entire operation has been a setup to take out the Alphas, and they finally catch the operative.

In the end, Cameron is invited to join the Alphas ... thus setting up the series.

Reactions: From the opening shot (of a cart wheeling down a grocery store aisle), I was hooked. Alphas is sci-fi done the way I like it—set in the present in our world with people who are special (but not too special).

I didn't even realize that Ryan Cartwright was playing Gary at first—he was that immersed in the role. The other actors fully embody their roles, as well. The casting of this show is spot on.

My guess is that Cameron will become one of the most important characters, and I'd love to see him find love with Rachel.

The next Dawson's? Quite possibly. I still have plenty of other pilots to watch, though.

Watch it on Netflix.

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