Syfy picks up Alphas for an 11 episodes order in addition to the 90 minute pilot. Production is slated to begin in Toronto early next year for a summer 2011 debut.
It is easy to think of this is yet another superhero show but it has some redeeming features, with the connection to CIA, FBI and Pentagon, the quirky members and the different kind of superpowers the heroes have. On the other hand it is just another plain-cloth superhero drama.
Alphas started life as Section 8 which went to ABC after a bidding war in 2007 but there it cooled off during the writers strike and now Syfy has dusted it off and renamed. The 90 minute Pilot was filmed in Toronto August 2010. Will the writer behind X-Men: The Last Stand make this a great show? The pilot was directed by Jack Bender (Lost).
Alphas follows a team of ordinary citizens who possess extraordinary and unusual mental skills. Using physical feats and uniquely advanced mental abilities, this unlikely team takes the law into their own hands and uncovers what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able or willing to solve. These gifted individuals must balance their quirky personalities and disparate backgrounds with their not always visible powers as they work to solve crimes, stop the ticking time bomb and catch the enemy.
- David Strathairn as Leigh Rosen the overseer/team leader/prescribing doctor and all around mother hen to the team: an eccentric, absent-minded professor at times, who is also a cunning and manipulative power-player willing to bend the rules in pursuit of his objectives.
- Ryan Cartwright (Bones) as Gary Bell a member of the team who has Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. His Alpha ability allows him to “read” wireless transmissions passing through the ether – e-mails, cell phone communications, television signals, etc.
- Warren Christie (Happy Town, October Road) as Christian Hicks a new recruit on the team with a history of psychological problems, drug abuse and an anti-authoritarian streak whose Alpha skill is hyperkinesis – near-perfect dexterity and hand/eye coordination.
- Malik Yoba (Defying Gravity, New York Undercover) as Bill Harken a former FBI agent from working class roots. Harken’s Alpha skill allows him to intentionally activate a “fight-or-flight mechanism” producing a power surge of adrenaline giving him increased strength, speed and immunity from pain.
- Laura Mennell (Watchmen) as Nina Theroux a complicated team member, seductive, intelligent and confident, Nina’s Alpha ability allows her to influence people into doing whatever she wishes but her power can sometimes spin out of control. Her skill also comes with a personal drawback in that she can never be sure if anyone’s feelings for her are real. Nina was the first team member enlisted by Dr. Rosen to whom she remains extremely loyal.
- Azita Ghanizada will have a regular role if the show goes forward as a series. She plays Rachel who, from an early age, has been able to “hyper-intensify” her senses, one at a time—vision, hearing, taste, and smell. Her mother and father—who are conservative parents—thought she was cursed and discouraged this unique and amazing ability. Overly sensitive—literally—Rachel has always felt ashamed and rejected. With Dr. Rosen’s help and encouragement, she’s learning to appreciate her skill and grow increasingly confident and adventurous.
- Callum Keith Rennie plays Don Wilson, a Washington bureaucrat, and Lee Rosen’s superior and contact inside the Pentagon.
Sources: Imdb, tfc, thr