*In Syfy’s new original series “Alphas,” five ordinary people, who just so happen to have enhanced physical and mental abilities due to differences in their brain structure, have been tapped by the U.S. Department of Defense to help investigate cases that may involve other people just like them – only those people are using their so-called “alpha abilities” for evil.
David Strathairn stars as neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Lee Rosen, who heads this government-backed team due to his expertise in alpha phenomena. The Oscar-nominated actor said this was one of the more complex roles he’s been offered in a long while.
“’It’s the fact that we’re exploring neurological anomalies in a group of people who are just basic humans, but are compromised and also gifted with these particular eccentricities –like hyper-sensate abilities, physical attributes and skills; a lot of things I think as a culture we’ve become more and more curious about,” he told DC TV Examiner at a recent press day for the show. “It’s based on very day-to-day human experiences, like how do these people integrate themselves into society? My character has the responsibility of studying them, caring for them and directing them in situations that are potentially life threatening. There’s a lot to mine with this character and with this series.”
From writers Zak Penn (“The Avengers,” “X-Men: The Last Stand”) and Michael Karnow, the series follows the unit as it works cases within this new brand of crime, but the individuals must also make sure their own Alpha issues don’t interfere with their ultimate mission to catch the enemy.
For example, one of the five Alphas, played by Malik Yoba, is able to activate a fight or flight mechanism when he encounters danger, giving him the ability to become stronger and faster. But, “he can’t really quite manage it,” Yoba explains. “He can use it, but it creates some problems. And we’re just at the beginning of this. The exciting part is all the places we can go.”
Another Alpha, played by Azita Ghanizada, is a young Middle Eastern woman named Rachel whose brain anomaly gives her the ability to hyper-intensify her senses, allowing her to hear what people are thinking. But this comes with a price in her home life.
“She can hear what a disappointment she is in her family’s eyes, and she has been able to her whole life,” said Ghanizada. “And she also hears how they want different things for her. She’s kind of struggling to become her own person growing up in America – wanting to have a job, go to university and all these things.”
In the bonus audio at left, Ghanizada explains how the challenges faced by her character hits very close to home.
- “Alphas,” also starring Warren Christie, Laura Mennell and Ryan Cartwright, premieres Monday, July 11, at 10 p.m. on Syfy. Watch a sneak peek in the video player at left.