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DVD Review

DVD cover

Season One


Starring: David Strathairn, Ryan Cartwright, Warren Christie, Azita Ghanizada, Laura Mennell, Malik Yoba and Erin Way
Universal Pictures (UK)
RRP: £29.99
Certificate: 15
Available 10 September 2012

Alphas follows an exceptional group of human beings with enhanced physical abilities caused by anomalies in their genetic make-up and brain structure. A crack team of super-humans operate within the Defence Criminal Investigation Service (DCIS) of the U.S Department of Defence to investigate a new breed of crime; those committed by and involving other ‘Alphas’. The group is led by renowned neurologist and psychologist Dr Lee Rosen...

The idea behind Alphas is hardly original and borrows heavily from shows like Heroes and Misfits. This could have been more interesting if it had tried to bring something new to the table, but it doesn't. In fact even the opening credits music and footage seems to have been 'borrowed', at least stylistically, from True Blood. This season is very much a 'Alpha of the week' show, in which every week the team have to track down another rogue alpha. This changes somewhat towards the end of the season, and the very last episode shakes everything up considerably.

The characters, on the whole, are pretty flat. There's not a lot of depth to them and hardly any of them grow during this first season. The acting is fairly average. But I particularly enjoyed Ryan Cartwright as Gary Bell and Malik Yoba as Bill Harken - and the interaction when the two are on screen is about the most interesting aspect of the show. In addition, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali's recurring role of Nathan Clay is also worthy of note. While on the surface Clay is a rather two-dimensional character, Ali gives us hints of a little more depth. Notable guest stars include Summer Glau, Garret Dillahunt and Brent Spiner.

It was also good to see that the writers poke fun at the 'Alpha of the week' aspect of the show. In one episode Gary says: "Why do we always have to fight other people with abilities? It's annoying."

Highlights in this season include:

Rosetta: Where we discover more about the Red Flag organisation and who their leader really is.

Bill and Gary's Excellent Adventure: When Gary is arrested by the police he winds up tracking the phone of a kidnapper who is holding a girl to ransom. Bill and Gary decide to go rogue and free the hostage.

The Unusual Suspects: The entire DCIS team is rounded up and interrogated after it is suspected that one of them is a mole for Red Flag... but which one of them is it?

Extras include Deleted Scenes for a number of episodes; and Exclusive Q&A (19 min, 33 sec feature which sees David Strathairn answer questions that have been submitted by Facebook fans).

Season One takes a long time to find its feet - which is probably why there was some confusion as to whether or not a second season was to be commissioned. In the end the network gave the go ahead for another 13 episodes. It's a show that you grow to enjoy, but only thanks to the characters of Gary and Bill.


Darren Rea

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