Monday, September 19, 2011


There are only a few episodes left of the first season of Alphas. It has already been renewed for a second season. The first season has been pretty good. It has avoided the pitfalls of Heroes and No Ordinary Family.

Most episodes have focused on the Alphas' personalities rather than on their powers although this is tricky since their powers can affect their personalities. Gary, the dyslexic who can interact with electromagnetic communications, went from being annoying to lovable. Most of the others have mellowed a bit also.

I am a fan of continuity but this can be overdone or turn into a curse. The last two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer had too much continuity and episodes blurred into chapters of a miniseries. This hurt it a lot since the episodes in the first five seasons had a strong format that mixed humor and adventure. Without the format, the humor got lost and the show turned dreary.

Heroes and No Ordinary Family were shows that were difficult to come in on. If you missed an episode you were lost. The show Lost avoided this because no one ever knew what was going on, anyway.

Heroes also only had one good story arc, the heroes discovering their powers and coming together to stop the destruction of New York. They used that up the first season and were never able to recreate it. The arc was more important than the episode.

Alphas has three arcs going on but they are background and easily picked up. The first is their transformation from evaluating alphas to being the front line against rogue alphas. The second is what happens to the rogues. The third is the resistance movement known as Red Flag. Our group of alphas stands between the government and the resistance. This is a position the X-Men held for years.

But the focus in each episode is on the individuals. Last week featured a member of Red Flag with sonic powers and an assassin who could not be seen. The Red Flag member insisted that he respected the Alphas and tried to get them to join him. He seemed quite reasonable. Then we met the assassin who also seemed reasonable. The plot was mainly about who to believe? That sort of show can have staying power.

Alphas comes after Eureka and Warehouse 13. Theoretically it takes place in the same world. A supporting character from Warehouse 13 has appeared in Alphas (and there have been Eureka/Warehouse 13 crossovers). Despite this, Alphas has a different tone. It is much more serious and comes as a relief after two hours of comedy/adventure.

No comments: