Posts tagged with “Alphas”

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – July 25, 2011

(ALL TIMES ET)

9PM | HBO
There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane
– Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated documentarian Liz Garbus directed this documentary about the headlines-grabbing July 2009 tragic car crash in which a woman named Diane Schuler drove the wrong way on the Taconic State Parkway in New York, colliding with an oncoming vehicle and killing her daughter, three nieces, everyone in the other car and herself. The crushing case continues to be a nightmare for the survivors and family members left behind, including the loves ones of the victims in the other car, as well as Schuler’s son, who is still dealing with the injuries he received in the crash, and Schuler’s husband, who has to live with the fact that an autopsy revealed his late wife has a blood-alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit.

The film is the latest entry in HBO’s fantastic Documentary Films Summer Series, which has unspooled a fascinating new documentary each Monday night this summer, and continues through August 15.

9PM | TNT
The Closer
– Flynn and Provenza try to make some extra cash serving court papers for an attorney … but moments after they deliver the documents, the recipient is murdered.

9PM | SYFY
Warehouse 13
– Pete and Myka end up in bed thanks to a mystery, while Dr. Vanessa Calder (guest star Lindsay Wagner, who will cross over to an episode of Alphas next month) returns to work on a case with Artie.

10PM | NETWORK – 2ND SEASON PREMIERE
The A-List: New York
– The boys are back! Season one was the ultimate in guilty pleasure viewing, and considering that the premiere includes more gossip about Reichen and Rodiney and Reichen’s new Internet business, there’s no reason to think season two will be any different.

10PM | SYFY
Alphas
– The team moves to new offices after the attack on Rosen (David Strathairn), while riots break out on the east coast, apparently linked to a teen who has run away from home.

10PM | BRAVO
Real Housewives of New York City
Reunion, Part 1 Andy Cohen has hinted that the reunion gets very heated, with Ramona (no surprise) being at the center of several blowouts amongst the women. Jill apparently gets into with both Ramona and Alex, and, given her behavior all season, I’m betting there are going to be even fewer Team Jill members after this one.

10PM | SHOWTIME
Weeds
– Shane decides to take Nancy’s advice and enroll in college course, while Nancy’s attorney helps her make her way to California, where she tries to get ahead of her sister (guest star Jennifer Jason Leigh) in the custody battle for her son.

10:30PM | SHOWTIME
The Big C
– Cathy considers pawning her jewelry because of Paul’s layoff, while bro Sean tests his baby sling for the moms in his ‘hood.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
Ashley gets a surprise visitor before she hands out roses to her final two dudes on The Bachelorette (8PM, ABC);
– One of the women gets so fed up with the fighting in Italy that she heads some early on Basketball Wives (8PM, VH1);
Will Wheaton and Stan Lee guest star on Eureka (8PM, Syfy);
– The top 15 compete on Hell’s Kitchen (8PM, Fox);
– Amy tries to help Ricky get into college on Secret Life of the American Teenager (8PM, ABC Family);
– On Cake Boss (9PM, TLC), Buddy builds a camping-themed cake that includes real fire to roast marshmallows;
– Competition turns ugly when Dave and Adam both go after a position on the school’s airwaves on Degrassi (9PM, TeenNick);
How I Made My Millions (9PM, CNBC) tells the stories of a woman who makes and sells jewelry boxes on QVC and the founders of Firehouse Subs;
– The weekly four-episode It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia marathon on Comedy Central (9PM) includes “The Gang Gets Whacked” and “The Gang Dances Their Asses Off”;
Charo guest stars on RuPaul’s Drag U (9PM, Logo);
– On Behind Mansion Walls (10PM, ID), an ongoing family feud ends badly;
– On the 1st season finale of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition (10, ABC), a mom who weighs 445 pounds tries to lose weight to be there for her sick daughter;
– A Civil War musket and a cool 1950s pedal car toy are among the items brought to Rick and company on Pawn Star$ (10 and 10:30PM, History);
– Boston Fleet Week brings murder and Frosts dad (guest star Ernie Hudson) on Rizzoli & Isles (10PM, TNT).

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): H. Jon Benjamin, Emma Stone and K.T. Tunstall;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Neil Patrick Harris;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): Brian Cox;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Brian Williams and Tim Robbins & the Rogues Gallery Band;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Jessica Alba;
Lopez Tonight (Midnight, TBS): Mark-Paul Gosselaar;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Jon Favreau;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Don Cheadle and Zach Braff;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Don Rickles and Matt Smith;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Rob Riggle (REPEAT).

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – July 18, 2011

(ALL TIMES ET)

9PM | TEENNICK – 11TH SEASON PREMIERE
Degrassi: Now or Never
– The classic teen series gets all telenovela-y again, as tonight’s premiere kicks off seven weeks in which a new episode airs each night, Monday thru Thursday. Tonight, Sav is crushing on a new girl, who he runs into in a surprising way at the big Keke Palmer concert that opens the seven-week run. Elsewhere, Drew and Bianca worry about the return of her ex, and Fiona has a thang for a model in Holly J’s class. And those rumors about something tragic occurring this season? All true. As always, Degrassi … it goes there.

8PM | FOX – 9TH SEASON PREMIERE
Hell’s Kitchen
– One contestant ends up in the hospital and another trio is deemed, by Gordon Ramsay, “the three stooges” as 18 new cheftestants try to win a head chef gig, this season at BLT Steak in New York City.

8PM | LIFETIME
Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story
– Any Harry Potter fan worth his or her Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans knows the backstory of Potter author Rowling’s welfare days, but this sweet little biopic, with Poppy Montgomery as Rowling, is still worth a view in honor of last week’s release of the final Potter flick.

9PM | TLC
Cake Boss
– Buddy bakes a giant cheeseburger cake for National Hamburger Month, which leads to a burger-eating contest with the staff. Sounds like a White Castle contest I regrettably witnessed in college. White Castle + drunken 20-year-olds + a bet = Gore on that level of that episode of The Walking Dead where the zombies noshed on the horse.

9PM | TNT
The Closer
– Capt. Raydor (Mary McDonnell) gets extra snoopy into Brenda’s department, just as the police department undergoes some major reorgs.

9PM | COMEDY CENTRAL
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
– Tonight’s four-episode marathon includes the very un-PC (which is probably a redundant statement where any Sunny ep is concerned), but hilarious “Sweet Dee’s Dating a Retarded Person,” in which no one’s sure about the mental capabilities of Dee’s new boyfriend, rapper Lil’ Kev.

9PM | SYFY
Warehouse 13
– Pete and Myka investigate the sudden memory losses of witnesses in a murder trial. Maybe they ran out of their gingko biloba supply.

10PM | SYFY
Alphas
– Okay, they’re Alphas. But now, they have to learn to balance their regular lives with their not-so-regular skills.

10PM | SHOWTIME
Weeds
– While Nancy tries to land a job at Doug’s new office, Silas tries to talk his mom into a new partnership.

10:30PM | SHOWTIME
The Big C
Hugh Dancy guest stars as a fellow patient Cathy meets on the first day of the clinical trials, while Sean frets his house is haunted and Adam gets into a throwdown at school.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
Ashley goes on home visits with her final four picks, including one who ‘fesses up that he’s not ready to get engaged yet, on The Bachelorette (8PM, ABC);
Jen and Evelyn‘s friendship is threatened when Evelyn confronts Jen about unflattering comments Jen made in a radio interview, on Basketball Wives (8PM, VH1);
– Carter plays babysitter to Allison’s kids when she goes out of town for a medical conference on Eureka (8PM, Syfy);
– On The Secret Life of the American Teenager (8PM, ABC Family), Adrian returns to school and walks head-on into a confrontation with Ben;
– The top 11 compete on Masterchef (9PM, Fox);
Molly Ringwald and Lady Bunny guest on RuPaul’s Drag U (9PM, Logo);
– A 456-pound nurse tries to lose half her body weight in a year on Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition (10PM, ABC);
– Among the goodies coming into the shop on tonight’s back-to-back Pawn Star$ (10 and 10:30PM, History): a Godfather script signed by Al Pacino and a motorcycle once owned by Steve McQueen;
– On Rizzoli & Isles (10PM, TNT), Jane and Maura investigate the murder of a pregnant surrogate mother.

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Bryan Cranston;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Daniel Radcliffe;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): John Prendergast;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Bono and The Edge;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Neil Patrick Harris;
Lopez Tonight (Midnight, TBS): Piers Morgan;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Aaron Paul and Roseanne;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Mila Kunis;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Elizabeth Banks;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Alex Prager.

 

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

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