Alphas – Pilot
I watched the pilot of this show based on three things:
1. Its basic premise. Though many are claiming it’s a ripoff of Heroes or X-Men, I never got into either of those so it doesn’t matter to me. I did see similarities to Fantastic Four and the movie Push – but when you have people with superpowers teaming up, it’s hard to find new ground.
3. The show stars Ryan Cartwright (who played Vincent Nigel-Murray on Bones. I miss his British accent, though!).
I enjoyed the pilot. While it didn’t scream at me to watch the next episode, it intrigued me enough that I probably will. The guy in charge of the team (Dr. Rosen) is played by David Strathaim, who reminds me a bit of Dustin Hoffman. Azita Ghanizada has appeared in quite a few of the shows I watch (NCIS: Los Angeles, Castle, Psych, How I Met Your Mother, Veronica Mars, and Bones) and Laura Mennell has an impressive list of speculative appearances. And while I didn’t recognize him, it was fun to find out that Malik Yoba played Yul Brenner on Cool Runnings (18 long years ago).
One of the things I really liked about the pilot was the side effects/drawbacks the powers had. The guy with super-strength can only use it for about 5 minutes. The girl with enhanced senses has to block out her other four while magnifying the one.
The visual effects throughout the episode were fun to watch most of the time. The characters were distinct, and had a good blend of camaraderie and conflict. While the dialogue didn’t strike me as exceptional or witty, it wasn’t bland and there were a few humorous moments that held promise for future episodes.
One of the reasons I’m not anxious for the next episode is that the pilot tells a complete story. In a way I’m glad, as it seems Hulu won’t be getting more episodes for a while and I’m not sure I’ll be trying to find it elsewhere in the meantime (so many shows, so little time). But part of me thinks they missed a great opportunity for a good hook. It fits if every episode is going to be pretty much self-contained, but I would much rather see an overarching story. The ending of Hicks (Warren Christie) joining the team had pretty much been established by promo pics. However, many of my favorite shows have self-contained pilots, so that won’t hold me back from continuing to watch the show.
I just hope they’ll have a bunch of fun guest stars to spice things up.
Added note: I wrote this post before this article was posted, which has details on geeky guest stars (including the awesome Summer Glau) AND discussion on episodes being self-contained. I feel a bit psychic.