Third-episode verdict: Alphas

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 4

In the US: Mondays, 10/9c, SyFy

So we’re three episodes into the Heroes-light superhero show, Alphas, in which a bunch of otherwise-ordinary people with slightly rubbish superpowers try to help or fight people with slightly better but still rubbish superpowers. Time for a verdict.

After a first episode that was reasonable enough, even if it did have a silly Brotherhood of Mutants-style organisation of other ‘Alphas’ for our heroes to deal with, things have gone downhill a little. Episode two saw a guy with the power to change cause and effect to kill people in improbable ways – in essence, death from the Final Destination movies – tastle with our heroes, largely in flashback. We also had a mysterious cast change, with growly Department of Homeland Security boss Callum Keith Rennie disappearing for an episode in favour of a new bunch of agents. It was a little too silly to be totally enjoyable and the attempts to give characterisation to our dull heroes only made them seem duller and whinier, but it still managed to maintain a hard enough edge not to suck completely.

Episode three, written by a bunch of usually reliable ex-Andromeda writers, however, was desperately boring and just as silly, featuring an Alpha with the power to make everyone angry using pheromones. While this did lead to a very entertaining and surprisingly bloody fight, and a slight shock twist, it also gave us a scene in which one of our heroes demonstrated the miraculous ability to stop baddies by stepping on their shoelaces. I kid you not. 

The last two episodes in combination also highlighted a typical SyFy tendency – cosiness. Our heroes are quickly becoming ‘a family’, with all the mild low-level but ultimately undramatic bickering that SyFy shows like Eureka and Warehouse 13 seem to excel in. They’re going through the same old stereotypical motions as before, with Middle Eastern woman not wanting to enter an arranged marriage and ‘autistic’ kid (this is an autistic kid who correctly uses euphemisms, such as "You’re killing me", mind) complaining about a loud hum in the new offices for two straight episodes, too. And surprisingly, the disappearance of the ‘evil, unoriginal Alphas’ has made the show a little less interesting, too, as has the episode three cast change.

All in all, despite a few positives, such as David Strathairn and the occasionally decent stunt, not a show to really bother with, particularly since series-killer Summer Glau is going to be guesting in a future episode.

Carusometer rating: 4
Rob’s prediction: Dead by the end of the season