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Alphas: Painkiller Jane Just Needed a Little More Strathairn


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#1

Senator X

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Posted Dec 9, 2010 @ 6:01 PM

Syfy just picked this up for 11 episodes to air summer 2011.

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Emmy® winner and Academy Award® nominee David Strathairn (Temple Grandin/Good Night, and Good Luck) headlines a cast of both familiar and new faces including Warren Christie (October Road), Malik Yoba (New York Undercover), Laura Mennell (Watchmen), Ryan Cartwright (Bones) and Azita Ghanizada (Castle). Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica/24) guest stars in the pilot.


The pilot was directed by Jack "Lost" Bender and written by Zak "X2 & 3, Incredible Hulk" Penn. It'll at least look cool, but I'm unsure about Penn's writing based on his previous work.

Alphas follows a team of ordinary citizens whose brain anomalies imbue them with extraordinary mental and physical abilities. Taking the law into their own hands, the unlikely team, led by Dr. Lee Rosen (Strathairn), investigates cases that suggest other Alpha activity to uncover what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able, or willing, to solve. These gifted individuals must balance their quirky personalities and disparate backgrounds with their not always visible powers as they work to solve crimes, stop the ticking time bomb and catch the enemy.


Sounds interesting. I'm hoping this will be closer in feel and story to Push, which is one of the most underrated and coolest mental power action flicks, and less like everything else Syfy has done like this. I don't know, the premise isn't too fresh.
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#2

Senator X

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Posted Dec 20, 2010 @ 10:36 PM

Some more information from io9 on the pilot script:

The team's leader is Bill Harken (Malik Yoba), who is frustrated at having to lead a team of people who have no tactical training and can't carry sidearms. He says things like, "Goddamn amateur hour here," and "You got us out there playing dress-up. We're not trained for this."

He works a lot with Nina (Laura Mennell), who has powers of super-persuasion — she can "induce" people to do anything — and they hooked up after some work party. He suspects that Nina used her superpowers to "induce" him to have sex with her and cheat on his wife, Connie. But Nina insists he was just drunk. Nina lives rent-free in a nice Soho penthouse and people give her whatever she wants. When we first meet her, she's got a model-looking guy in her bed, who's not sure how he got there. She's flirty and sarcastic, and it's hinted that she was a bad guy whom Rosen gave a second chance to, years ago, and she's carrying some heavy guilt around.


All in all, judging from the pages we read, it's a cute pilot and would make a fun show — it's not earth-shattering stuff, but could easily be an entertaining to Syfy's lineup. Pilots are often a bit clunky in comparison to ongoing series, so a certain amount of overly broad-brush characterization is to be expected here. I like the idea of a psychotherapist running a black ops group, and I think the character of Nina the slutty mind-controller could become the show's stand-out. So all in all, we'll be watching this.


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#3

Webbermon

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Posted Dec 21, 2010 @ 1:22 AM

A quantum leap in potential quality for the show's just occurred-Ira Steven Behr has been hired as exec producer/show runner. That seriously ups the show's profile, at least, for me. But can he avoid having the show turn into another 4400?

Deadline

Edited by Webbermon, Dec 21, 2010 @ 1:23 AM.

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#4

Senator X

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Posted Mar 23, 2011 @ 6:37 PM

Here's a preview video and interview with Malik Yoba and a costar.

Alphas is not a glossy superhero show. Alphas is like X-Files meets X-Men, it's gritty. It's like The Wire. You have real character actors conveying real human, emotional stories. They're kind of really struggling with these superpowers, and I don't necessarily know...


There goes the G-word, that's now cool to use to describe a TV series. Gritty.
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#5

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Posted Mar 23, 2011 @ 8:36 PM

I think Syfy, the cable channel, needs to take a page from the broadcast channels and use their Saturday movie timeslot to run some of these 'series' as movies first (you know the old fashion pilot idea?) and see if there's interest and then go forward with them as series or not. SGU, Caprica, Painkiller Jane etc. all of these could have benefited from being run as a movie first to gauge interest. And, unlike a lot of the other cable networks, Syfy already has a slot in their schedule (Saturdays) where they could run some of these things as movies and then see if they want to pick them up as shows. They don't have to spend the money every Saturday (I know they pinch a penny until it squeaks) but if they want to be a 'grown up' channel try doing it the old fashioned way.

It would also give them time and the ability to tweak a concept if it didn't fly. I mean, they could have tried it with SGU and if the feedback was 'don't like the characters' they have time tweak it and THEN go for a series. Same thing with things like Haven etc. I know it's doing okay but what's the freaking rush? I think Sanctuary has done so well because it had buzz as a web based show FIRST. Haven would have made a fine Saturday movie, same thing with Alphas? I mean Syfy seems to want to throw the money around when it comes to guest stars and producers and such so they can't do a 'dry run' movie first, they have to jump right into a series? Makes it look like Syfy's just trying to fill up programming hours and could care less; hey as long as we get 20 eps out of it or something, we're fine. It all come across as very 'disposable'.

It's not that I don't like Strathairn but there's something about Syfy that just sucks the life out of even the 'good actors' and producers and writers and I don't know what it is so I won't hold my breath and maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.
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#6

Senator X

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Posted Mar 24, 2011 @ 11:39 AM

Good point. That's what Battlestar Galactica was. They had little confidence in reviving the show so Ron Moore gave them a miniseries, which yielded great reviews, buzz and ratings and let them know there's a series in it.

Caprica's pilot came out on DVD months before the series aired but they had already committed to series by then. I remember watching it and liking it but not really interested in seeing the story unfold week after week. Blood & Chrome was originally going to be a TV movie/pilot but it looks like it's been greenlit to series, judging by the press release about Syfy's upcoming lineup.

As a network, Syfy is still trying to figure ou their brand image. They've had hits in Eureka, Warehouse 13 and Being Human. Alphas seems to fit into that. But then hearing that they're trying to be "gritty" sounds like a recipe for failure, but because "gritty" tends to fail on this network. It's like they have USA-type hits but they keep aiming for FX-type series.
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#7

Ravenwing263

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Posted Mar 24, 2011 @ 12:54 PM

Would you really argue that Being Human is more USA then FX?

I wouldn't agree with that at all.

Honestly, I would hate it if Caprica, especially, had gotten it's interest gauged as a movie, because it was a wonderful, wonderful season that we got and if SyFy had realized that their audience wasn't smart enough to recognize it was something special before they greenlighted it, we never would have gotten to see it.

SyFy comes up with a lot of bad stuff, but they're also responsible for the two greatest science-fiction series ever, Farscape and BSG.
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#8

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Posted Mar 24, 2011 @ 4:19 PM

At least, after fucking over Being Human into lameass piece of shite, they aren't remaking Misfits but rather make new lame (probably) gritty superhero show of their own. Thank god for small favors.
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#9

Ravenwing263

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Posted Mar 24, 2011 @ 9:45 PM

I'm really liking all the shows SyFy is doing right now, except for Stargate Universe. Being Human is a huge blast and compares favorably to the original, but this concept doesn't really vibe with me.
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#10

SJ82

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Posted Mar 26, 2011 @ 4:08 AM

The plot sounds like it was "borrowed" from X-Men.
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#11

pinkmoon

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Posted Mar 26, 2011 @ 11:53 AM

I think even the lamest premise can become a fun and interesting show. Take Haven, it sounded really dull to me, but something just clicked and now I can't wait for that show to come back. So I'm not really worried about how they're ripping off X Men if the final product is decent. And I really do love David Strathairn... I'm choosing to be cautiously optimistic.

Edited by pinkmoon, Mar 26, 2011 @ 12:13 PM.

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#12

Jonas Quimby

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Posted Mar 28, 2011 @ 1:04 PM

But then hearing that they're trying to be "gritty" sounds like a recipe for failure, but because "gritty" tends to fail on this network.

I don't think you can say "Battlestar Galactica" wasn't gritty, and it succeeded for two-and-a-half good seasons.

"Being Human" is no piece of "shite" -- I'm quite fond of it, and a lot of its story lines fall into "gritty" territory.

I'm more concerned about cliched dialogue like this:

He says things like, "Goddamn amateur hour here," and "You got us out there playing dress-up. We're not trained for this."


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#13

AimingforYoko

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Posted May 27, 2011 @ 11:27 PM

Trailer and BTS.
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#14

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Posted May 27, 2011 @ 11:46 PM

The trailer looks great. Plus, I'm happy to see Ryan Cartwright, formerly of Bones. I'm definitely in.
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#15

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Posted May 28, 2011 @ 12:18 PM

I don't think you can say "Battlestar Galactica" wasn't gritty, and it succeeded for two-and-a-half good seasons.

"Being Human" is no piece of "shite" -- I'm quite fond of it, and a lot of its story lines fall into "gritty" territory.

I agree with both of those statements. It's true almost all of Syfy' movies are crap but I think as a result of that people make the mistake of thinking anything on Syfy is crap. However, they've made a number of good series. Some of them have brought in good ratings and some didn't but good ratings don't necessarily equal a good program. Also I think Malik Yoba is an underrated actor, I'll be tuning in.

Edited by bulldawgtownie, May 28, 2011 @ 12:23 PM.

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#16

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Posted May 28, 2011 @ 1:42 PM

I'm semi-excited about this show.

I like things with superpowers involved. But I didn't really like the X-Men films, particularly the third one, which was written by the guy involved in this show's creation. Meh!

However, I like the approach to this show that makes it slightly different from that other show about heroes. Whereas that show's writing was awful because it focused on people with abilities who had basically no direction for what they did or any drawbacks to what they could do, this show has apparently made its heroes' powers inherently flawed. They have weaknesses embedded into each superpower, something that limits or challenges the extraordinary characters. I like that. As opposed to having characters who can travel through space and time or defy death with no consequences or limitations (essentially creating omnipotent characters who are not interesting, IMO), we have characters who have mental disabilities and other issues that make them more compelling.

I'm hoping the writing is good, because the premise is already leagues above Heroes'.

Edited by sepia, May 28, 2011 @ 1:53 PM.

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#17

JanePatrick

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Posted May 28, 2011 @ 4:51 PM

I was driving into to Toronto last week and they had Morningside Ave by the zoo totally blocked off because of this show filming. I didn't see much, just some guys in army fatigues, some cop cars, etc and a banged up car. They were filming under an underpass--maybe some sort of car chase/accident scene?
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#18

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Posted Jul 3, 2011 @ 2:09 PM

So this is airing in 10 days, and I have to say it has me worried. Reading the "power" distribution makes it seem really stupid. I mean you could almost list the characters and guess what stereotypical abilities they would get (for the most part) and bam, there they are. Anybody guess the women's powers will hinge on feelings and senses? Maybe the black guy will be hypermasculine...no way!

I just don't get why it has to keep happening again and again, show after show. Either its an absence or it's a stereotypical presence. I haven't watched anything on Syfy in quite some time. I saw Yoba and got somewhat interested. Then I read further. Sigh. Maybe I'll be wrong, and it won't be as bad as they've set it up to be. Regardless, it would be nice to get excited at a sci-fi show's setup from the outset. Maybe Powers will be good.
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#19

Cynthia187

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Posted Jul 3, 2011 @ 8:02 PM

The previews for this show look good, but I've been burned (see SGU) before. I'll tune in for the pilot.
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#20

Merve

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Posted Jul 7, 2011 @ 3:48 PM

There's now a sneak peek of the pilot available.

It looks good, but I'm a little disappointed that it doesn't feature any of the superpowers in action.
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#21

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Posted Jul 8, 2011 @ 7:25 AM

It looks good, but I'm a little disappointed that it doesn't feature any of the superpowers in action.


Well I saw super strength (guy who kicked the door in), super Smell (I think it was meant to be) (woman searching the appartment) and the Bad guy seemed to have super agility or something.
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#22

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Posted Jul 8, 2011 @ 7:39 AM

Well I saw super strength (guy who kicked the door in),


The problem with that is tv shows police and bad guys kicking in doors so often anyway it's not something people associate with super strength anymore, even though in reality it's hard to kick down a door.
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#23

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Posted Jul 8, 2011 @ 10:36 AM

He also one handedly throws the bad guy across the room with added super sound effects, I just mentioned the door to identify who I was talking about.

The Powers are there I just don't think they will be all that impressive if compared to other "Superheroes".
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#24

Merve

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Posted Jul 8, 2011 @ 10:59 AM

The problem with that is tv shows police and bad guys kicking in doors so often anyway it's not something people associate with super strength anymore, even though in reality it's hard to kick down a door.

Yeah, it just looked like they were talented ninjas, not a couple of guys with superpowers.
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#25

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Posted Jul 9, 2011 @ 5:07 PM

Just watched the first five minutes and it did not help their cause. Basically, boring, boring, ok now they are beating a dead horse, boring. Oh, Cylon!

They really should have learned from True Blood's getting people all unexcited by Fairies in the Land of the Lost and picked their best 5 minutes, instead of their first five minutes for the preview.

I'll still give it a shot anyways.

Edited by ParadoxLost, Jul 9, 2011 @ 5:07 PM.

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#26

Eruantien

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Posted Jul 10, 2011 @ 1:05 AM

Okay, I was semi-interested in this show based on the commercials until I saw this in the thread :

When we first meet her, she's got a model-looking guy in her bed, who's not sure how he got there.


That's revolting. In what universe is mind-controlling a dude into sleeping with you not rape? Why not just go ahead and roofie him while you're at it? So the so-called good guys have a rapist on their team who may have even raped the leader of the group. And we're supposed to what, empathize with her issues or whatever? Screw that. But this is the SyFy channel, where rape isn't rape unless it's man on woman and every other flavor is dismissed with a nod and a wink and some chuckles.
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#27

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Posted Jul 10, 2011 @ 10:14 AM

But this is the SyFy channel, where rape isn't rape unless it's man on woman and every other flavor is dismissed with a nod and a wink and some chuckles


You'd think they'd have learned that from SGU.I was going to check this out, but all the previews and write ups have been significantly underwhelming, not to mention a bit redundant after a huge glut of Superhero movies this summer.
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#28

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Posted Jul 11, 2011 @ 10:59 AM

I'm unsure about Penn's writing based on his previous work.

I'm not. His writing is repellent.

I was somewhat excited to see this, until I learned Zak Penn was involved.
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#29

AimingforYoko

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Posted Jul 11, 2011 @ 10:30 PM

Damn, for an old guy, Straithairn's kinda built.
You get the idea that in the past Nina was using her powers recklessly and caused somebody's death and that's what sent her to Rosen. She still gives off kind of a skeezy vibe though. I don't know if it's the nature of her powers or just her.
I do like that there are limits to the Alpha powers and that they really need the co-leadership of Harken and Rosen.
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#30

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Posted Jul 11, 2011 @ 10:53 PM

I enjoyed it so I will be back. I'm so glad that they have a weakness to their powers and are not invincible because that would be boring.
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