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Review: Syfy's Alphas

7/11/2011 7:01 AM Eastern

Alphas is a familiar formula, a
flawed superhero team of crime fighters.

Rather than being irradiated (Fantastic Four) or
mutated (X-Men), the heroes here have neurological
conditions that render extraordinary abilities and
“come with a downside.”

Gary Bell, played by
Ryan Cartwright, is a highfunctioning
autistic teen
who can act as a human
antenna, reading TV and
radio waves out of the air.

Rachel Pirzad, played
by Azita Ghanizada, is a
shy woman in her 20s who can hyper-focus one
sense at a time, to hear a fleeing bad guy or read a
newspaper from 10 blocks away.

Malik Yoba plays Bill Harken, an ex-FBI agent with
boundary issues who, under stress, goes Hulk-like
hyperadrenal.

Nina Theroux (Laura Mennell) is a sassy “influencer”
who, when she makes eye contact and really
focuses, can compel a cop to eat the ticket he
is writing.

Cameron Hicks (Warren Christie), the newest
recruit, is an unstable former Army sniper with
“hyperkinesis” that gives him unerring aim, except
when it doesn’t.

Heading the clandestine team is neurophysiologist
Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn). He comes
across as a manipulative phony, insincere and uninspiring,
more interested in managing the mission
than in his patients’ welfare. But he’s super competent,
of course.

The look is spare, with plenty of shadows in faux
New York City, and the dialogue is sparse. Effects
serve to visualize Bill’s bulging heart and Gary’s
video streams. In the pilot at least, explosions were
kept to a minimum.

Alphas premieres July 11 at 10 p.m. on Syfy.

September