Monday, September 3, 2012

The Alphas go to "Alphaville"

SyFy's Alphas continues to get marginally better in season two. There are recurring characters and larger themes, rather than just a case of the week. While each episode still feels like its own story, the stories do impact each other, each one a piece in a larger puzzle. How it all comes together will be the deciding factor on whether the show has improved enough from its lackluster first season to earn continued patronage, and we are still quite a ways off from that point. But this week's installment, "Alphaville," does give us a few things to ponder.

Summer Glau returns as Skylar Adams! Glau is fantastic actress. Her first guest spot on Alphas, back in season one, was the type of role that she is known for in sci-fi series. But "Alphaville" exposes a whole other side of the actress, which is a credit to the show. Glau plays a mother now, more concerned with her daughter, Zoe (Skyler Wexler, a very talented child performer), than political battles or espionage. Faced with a project that could benefit many, she still puts her child first, and even though she is struggling with being a parent, she is sure trying hard. Very cool.

The problem is, if individuals just concentrate on making their own lives work, the bigger picture is ignored. As neat as it is to see Glau's Skylar domesticated, it ignores the larger threat posed by Stanton Parish (John Pyper-Ferguson). Dr. Rosen (David Strathairn) fails to recruit her to their cause, which is a huge blow for the good guys, especially when it appears that Stanton Parish may succeed where Rosen failed.

How much do charismatic leaders shape world events? We all know that Hitler would not have made it as far as he did without winning a lot of people over. Rosen seems to lack this ability to draw others to him. He has his supporters, individuals he has worked with and helped. But overall, most people don't like him, including the government agents he works with. His going public about people with powers sours even more Alphas on him, as we learn when the team visits Skylar in "Alphaville." By contrast, Parish seems to be gaining more and more followers, making him a very dangerous enemy, indeed.

I do feel sorry for poor Cameron (Warren Christie), who doesn't know how to pick the right gal. First, Nina (Laura Mennell) used her ability on him, and now it looks like Rosen's daughter,  Danielle (Kathleen Munroe), may be playing him for information on the team's activities. When is he going to catch a break? The show had better not screw over Rachel (Azita Ghanizada) in a similar manner in her own budding romance.

The issue I have with Alphas is that, many times, the characters are not that compelling. Dr. Rosen isn't the only one who lacks natural drawing power. And while this may be a conscious choice for the characters, I'm glad to see that it has been acknowledged as a plot point and begun to change a bit in season two. Obviously, I am a fan of Skylar, and wish she appeared more often. I also like Kat (Erin Way), though it's hard to believe she isn't working against the rest, even if unintentionally.

The one main character who delivers week after week is Gary (Ryan Cartwright). He's entertaining, interesting, shows growth, makes you care about him, despite an abrasive personality. His interactions with Bill (Malik Yoba), are some of my favorite moments.

Alphas airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on SyFy.

If you like my reviews, please follow me on Twitter! Check out my new website,! First posted on TheTVKing

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.