Posts tagged with “Syfy”

REVIEW: ‘Alphas’ Series Premiere

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Stars: David Strathairn, Malik Yoba, Warren Christie, Azita Ghazidada, Ryan Cartwright and Lauren Mennel

The Big Idea: What if “one in every million people are born to be extraordinary”? Syfy’s newest scripted series leaps confidently off that premise and delivers an entertaining, compelling series premiere.  An Alpha is an otherwise normal human being who, because of a quirk in brain chemistry, has one extraordinary gift, ranging from old favorites like super strength to a Singularity-style talent to visually intercept, decrypt and trace any electronic transmissions. In this first of twelve episodes, we learn of a loosely affiliated group of five Alphas, who, under the protection and leadership of Strathairn’s Dr. Lee Rosen (envision Mr. Rogers with an M.D./Ph.D in neurophysiology), use their abilities to find and stop other Alphas with criminal intent.

To Watch or Not to Watch: Watch it … it’s what Syfy does best.  As with Eureka (what would living in a town of scientific geniuses be like?), or Warehouse 13 (what if Raiders of the Lost Ark and The X Files had a baby?), it all starts with A Big Question, and with an equally Big Commitment: to build layered characters, and ensure that answers are gradually revealed through coherent storylines and intelligent dialogue. Alphas’ substantial pilot exposition is handled deftly throughout (Yoba’s Bill Harken’s endeavors are neatly summed up through a Beastie Boys tune), and the characters interact with a naturalness that most shows take years to achieve.  And there are hints of twists to come; we’re told every Alpha ability has a downside, there are dark hints that Dr. Rosen’s sponsorship by the Department of Defense has some hidden price tags and, in the final scene of the premiere, Rosen’s  kindly façade cracks in an interesting way.  In short, it’s Heroes, with more heart, uncanned dialog and, thank you, Syfy, a sustainable storyline.

TV Screener Tidbit: Oscar nominee David Strathairn attended the elite Williams College, and has a son, Ebberly, who graduated from the well-known boot camp for geniuses, MIT. Maybe the Alpha doesn’t fall far from the tree?

Alphas premieres Monday, July 11, at 10PM ET on Syfy.

— JE Maher

Channel Surfing – July 7

All the tube news that’s fit to surf …

Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett‘s upcoming animated comedy certainly sounds funnier than his painfully unfunny ‘Til Death: Garrett is developing and will voice a character in Dumb Bunny and Jackass, an R-rated (i.e. it’ll most likely end up on cable) ‘toon about two famous cartoon characters and their lives after they’re no longer on the animated A-list.

Kathy Griffin will steer the jokes on the Comedy Central Roast-ing of Joan Rivers, which tapes in Los Angeles on July 26 and will air on the network on Aug. 9.

Jay Leno‘s big plan for his new primetime show: Driving onto the stage in selections from his famous car collection, an attempt to try to corner the ad market with the auto industry.

Rita Wilson, Mrs. Tom Hanks, is producing HBO’s series adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides‘ Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Middlesex, about the complicated history of Calliope, an intersexed person who was raised as a female, but later lives as Cal, a man.

– The Sci Fi Channel officially becomes SyFy today, and not everyone is happy about it. Fans will probably dig the network’s new dramedy series Warehouse 13, though.

– Don’t expect Lost: The Movie after Lost the series ends next year, say Lost producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. But they do promise lots of answers to the lots of questions they’ve raised on the show throughout its run.

– Meanwhile, rumor has it that there may be a Doctor Who movie.

– Which classic music series is coming to DVD? Hint: Unscramble these letters from the Soul Train Scramble Board to find out: OLUS RTNAI.

– Zap2It is asking viewers to vote on the greatest TV characters in categories like Best Dad, Best Boss and Best Co-Worker, while future weeks will include voting on categories like Best College Student (Felicity, duh), Best Therapist (Bob Hartley, of course) and Best Psychic/Medium – Real or Fake (Shawn Spencer).

Alec Baldwin for Congress? Every time I hear about a celebrity who’s mulling a political career and want to laugh it off as “that could never happen,” I just visit this Website.

And tonight in primetime:

– ABC Family’s terrific new dramedy 10 Things I Hate About You, an adaptation of the 1999 movie of the same name, premieres (8PM ET)
– MyNetworkTV celebrates real-life heroes on The Hero Awards (8PM)
– Seven families get all Chevy Chase as they take a vacation across the country (and compete against each other for prizes) on NBC’s The Great American Road Trip (8PM)
– TV Land has an 11-episode Roseanne marathon (8PM)
– SyFy’s Warehouse 13 premieres (9PM)
– On NYC Prep (9PM, Bravo), the kids head off to winter break vacays, where PC acts like a butthat in Mexico and Jessie obsesses about him in Florida
– In a hilarious Rescue Me (10PM, FX), Tommy’s good deed turns into a misdeed when a sick kid hijacks a fire truck.

Channel Surfing – June 22

All the tube news that’s fit to surf …

– I was skeptical about Scrubs returning next season with most of the cast MIA, but the show’s radical makeover, which will shift much of the action from the hospital to the classroom as Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) and Turk (Donald Faison) become medical school professors, will finally give the oh-so-Emmy-worthy McGinley a chance to get the leading man props he deserves.

– All these guessing games, but really, what else could the big Jon & Kate Plus 8 announcement be on tonight’s episode (9PM ET, TLC)? It’s gotta be a separation/divorce confirmation of some sort, doncha think?

– Here’s a story I hope is just conjecture: Legendary TV news man Walter Cronkite is reportedly “terribly ill.”

Dancing with the Stars pro Julianne Hough will star opposite People mag’s Hottest Bachelor, Gossip Girl star Chace Crawford, in the upcoming Footloose remake, though rumor has it that producers are hoping she’ll improve her acting skills before filming begins.

– In addition to the cast of Seinfeld, Meg Ryan will also guest star on the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Ryan Seacrest confirms via Twitter that he is talking to Lindsay Lohan about starring in a reality show he would produce. Seems like her best option for making some cash these days, as her personal life and professional reputation seems to continue on the downward spiral.

Simon Cowell has ‘fessed up to making some mistakes as a judge and producer in a lengthy mea culpa published in the British newspaper The Mail on Sunday.

The West Wing‘s Bradley Whitford and Malcolm in the Middle and Raising the Bar‘s Jane Kaczmarek: one of the most surprising celeb divorces in a long time.

– And free wireless Internet access in New York City is just one of Sci Fi’s promos for its campaign to rebrand itself as the Syfy network.

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