Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – SyFy TV

This week, Amber West and I switch things up yet again and review two of TV’s hot new science fiction dramas on TNT and SyFy.

Over the past few years, the SyFy network has rivaled the basic television channels with their original series such as Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Andromeda which all aired for at least five years each.

Today, SyFy has found new must-see television with series Being Human, Eureka, Warehouse 13, Haven, and Sanctuary, which is why when Alphas premiered July 11th, our household couldn’t resist checking it out.

Alphas follows five people who have super human abilities.  Together, they track and study other Alphas while also working with local law enforcement to ensure that other Alphas misusing their powers are sent to “The Compound” and kept off the streets. 

Dr. Lee Rosen – a non-Alpha played by Academy Award nominee David Strathairn (Temple Grandin), leads the extraordinary team of Alphas, and uses his scientific research to better understand and control the Alpha population.

Each Alpha has a neurological difference providing them with an exceptional advantage over humans.

Would you like the strength to physically move a car blocking your path?

Meet Bill – a hyperadrenal-Alpha with super strength and training as a former FBI Agent, played by Malik Yoba (New York Undercover).  Bill reminds me of the Hulk, only he sweats profusely when his power is activated. 

Have you ever dreamed of pitching a perfect game?  What if you could master the art every time you stepped on the baseball mound? Or, what about the ability to toss a quarter into the vending machine change slot from ten feet away? 

Meet Cameron – a hyperkinesis-Alpha with perfect aim and motor skills, as well a history as an army sniper, played by Warren Christie (October Road).  Cameron appears vulnerable despite his physical stature.  He’s haunted by his failed marriage, and he misses his son desperately.

Would you like the ability to manipulate your way out of a speeding ticket by simply making eye contact with the traffic officer?

Meet Nina – an influencing-Alpha who manipulates others with her power of persuasion, played by Laura Mennell (Blood Ties and the motion picture, Watchmen).  Nina is absolutely beautiful, and she drives a new “borrowed” sports car in each episode. Now that’s what I call a super power! 

Have you ever wished that you could intercept the audio waves of a cell phone call so that you could hear the entire conversation taking place in front of you?  Or wish that you had the ability to read someone else’s text messages from a distance? 

Meet Gary – a transducing-Alpha or human antennae that can intercept any sound or radio wave, played by Ryan Cartwright (Bones).  Gary is always maneuvering his fingers through the air as he enjoys the different internet feeds, audio waves, etc.  He lacks a sense of humor, and the ability to lie.  I almost wonder if he has a form of autism.

Would you like the ability to eavesdrop on conversations taking place about you when you’re not around? How about the super power of microscopic vision?

Meet Rachel – a synesthete-Alpha, the most vulnerable of the Alphas with the ability to strengthen one of the five senses while leaving the other four useless, played by Azita Ghanizada (General Hospital: Night Shift).  Rachel’s powers are simply amazing, and she plays a large role in the investigations, yet she takes a back seat to her family.  Her current family drama surrounds their disagreement on arranged marriages. 

In the pilot, the Alphas help local law-enforcement officer Don Wilson (Callum Keith Rennie) solve the shooting of a federal prisoner locked inside a sealed interrogation room with no windows.  The investigation leads the team to the “The Ghost”, an Alpha with the power of persuasion via direct contact.  The extremist group known as “Red Flag” was also introduced as the main threat to the Alphas, and should return throughout the season as the Big Boss Trouble Maker.

The upcoming season promises to reveal more threats to the Alphas, and will test the Alphas loyalties to one another.

After only two episodes, I give Alphas the rating of SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out.  I was pleasantly surprised with the series start, and will definitely give a few more episodes a try before removing from my DVR.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why? What do you think about Alphas? Has SyFy found another hit series?  Does it remind you of Heroes?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now, click over to Amber’s review of TNT’s Falling Skies where Noah Wyle battles aliens and machines trying to protect our world’s children.  What are those spike things the aliens attach to the children’s spines?  YUCK! 

Come back next week for another quadruple special – Amber reviews the summer’s medical programs: TNT’s Hawthorne and USA’s Royal Pains, and I take on the summer cons: TNT’s Leverage and USA’s White Collar.   

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.  Amber and I would love to chat with you!

Last, but certainly not least, did your favorite TV shows make the Emmy nomination categories?  Vote here for the 1st annual Tamberny awards.  Leave a comment by July 29th and you could win blog linkage on my special Tele-Tuesday Siskel and Ebert style Emmy breakdown where Amber and I promise to not agree!

 A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more

MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies

JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds

SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out

NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer

LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

27 Replies to “Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – SyFy TV”

  1. Gary sounds like Data on Star Trek or Spock. Haven’t seen the show but “alpha” has become sort of out-of-favor term in professional dog behavior circles so the title just didn’t appeal to me. But I may need to check it out after all. Thanks for the great recap!

    1. I just had to share this: I have three dogs, two mini doxies and a Golden Retriever. Guess who’s the alpha? The 10 lb female mini doxie. She can have the 90 lb Golden cowering in the corner in about five seconds. Girls rule!

  2. I love Eureka and Haven, so I’ve been seeing the previews for this. Really enjoyed Cartwright on Bones (he was my favorite intern, sniff), so I’d thought about watching the show. Sounds like I might like it. What I love about Eureka and Haven are the characters. ScyFy does a good job of creating quirky characters with strong actors.

    Super power? I’d have to say flying. I’d save a fortune in gas money!

    1. Hey, Stacy! I will admit, I cried when Nigel-Murray was killed on Bones…but if it was so that he could have an ensemble roll on Alphas, good for him! I have all the episodes of Haven on my DVR to watch, but I really do like Warehouse 13. Even my parents are watching SyFy now, that’s something I never thought I’d say. I’d have to agree that the quirky characters are half the enjoyment.

      Flying to save gas money – brilliant! Thanks for stopping by.

      1. I did, too. I’m glad he got the ensemble role, but still, did they really need to kill him? Haven is good. It grows on you, and it definitely got better the second half of the first season. Clearly Stephen King inspired. I’ve never watched Warehouse 13, although it looks good.


  3. I haven’t seen Alphas yet but will definitely be checking it out. Sy-fy has had so many great series that I’m willing to bet this one will be a hit as well.

    Great post, Tiffany!

  4. I hadn’t even heard of this show, sounds really cool. I’m working a post about sci-fi myself, fun stuff!

  5. Gene, Jess, and Catie – you should check out at least one…of course, there have only been two so far, so it’s not too late! That’s always my thought on a new series. SyFy has proven themselves with original programming lately. Warehouse 13 anyone? Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I’m thinking the same exact thing. The show has potential, but I’m still on the fence. I still think it is an awful lot like X-Men, which I talk about a bit on my blog from monday:
    Summer Season Premieres 3: Eureka and ALPHAS
    But the characters are interesting enough for to stick around for awhile and see how it goes. The trick for the show is to keep mine (or anyone’s) interest past the first 4-5 episodes. We shall see, we shall see…

  7. Love your ratings system! I haven’t seen Alphas yet but it sounds interesting. I have Falling Skies on my DVR but haven’t watched it yet. Hopefully I can do a marathon this weekend.

  8. I haven’t seen Alphas, but the whole time I was reading about it, I was thinking how similar it is to Heroes, which I loved. Why did they cancel it? I loved Flash Forward, too. Why, oh, why did they cancel it after just one season? I love your review system, too. LOL!

    1. Hi, Lynn – I’m not sure why they cancelled Heroes…maybe because it was on network television? It seems when the local channels try their hand at the science fiction/fantasy shows, they don’t do so well. I think by airing on SyFy, Alphas has a good chance of at least finishing the season. I may not be able to say the same thing if it was on NBC. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I saw the first episode. I think it has potential, especially with the characters. I’m just concerned the whole show is going to be about the Red Flag element, and I prefer a little more variety. Time will tell. One thing that bugged me is the group tended to talk over each other a lot. I know it speaks to realism, but it just gives me a headache.

    Oh, and if I could have a super power, perfect coordination would be awesome. But then, would I still have to be fit in order to do back flips?

    1. I agree about the characters, Angela. I also kinda like the idea that I think Rachel and Gary will play a larger role than Cameron and Nina – which is odd, because usually the “beautiful” people get all the attention. Oh, and I’m not saying Rachel and Gary aren’t good looking, because they are; I’m just saying that Cameron and Nina are pretty hot.

      If you had the super power of perfect coordination, I think you could be a couch potato!

  10. Your description of Alphas reminds me of the Canadian show, Mutant X. Anyone else? I’ve heard a lot of great feedback about Eureka. Still haven’t seen any of these SyFy offerings, though. Keep us updated!

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