Alphas (2011–2012)
8/10
Grabbed me when I least expected it
15 May 2014
I'm not much into superhero stuff but I like Sci Fi so I risked watching this after a little prevarication. Some of that trepidation continued for the first few episodes, but the series slowly got a grip on me and I finished it with a very positive impression.

The stories themselves were okay, the powers the characters had were more DC comics than anything even vaguely scientific, but it was all nicely dressed up and I found it less irksome than I'd expected it to be to suspend my disbelief. The acting was really pretty good, industry standard, I suppose, which seems quite good these days. The actual characters themselves were an interesting bunch, each with their own plausible strengths, quirks and problems.

What I felt was best handled in this show, though, and better than in any other I've seen, was the way the various characters struggled with their personal moral responsibilities to themselves and to the community at large, and their sense of loyalty to their leaders. The distrust of high level decisions, the damaged trust at bad decisions, the situation where rebellion would mean effective defection to a "terrorist group" but acquiescence meant becoming a "government flunkie" and the various ways in which each character was less than perfect were all facets which were scripted and handled well.

We live in a time when one does not need to be in the slightest paranoid to understand how sometimes malevolent and sometimes stupid government decision-making can be. Recent history has shown there have been many dark conspiracies and dastardly doings by almost all governments: the more powerful the government the worse their misdeeds seem. Usually, in screen dramas with this sort of derring-do scenario, this is dealt with by perhaps a scapegoat at the top who gets caught, or maybe the heroes directly fighting uniformly evil government baddies, or the issue is just played down while the government tries to lead everyone in doing the right thing. I felt that Alphas was well written and acted and directed around this issue and served as a nice exploration of the moral quagmire surrounding the questions of public and private politics and power and our decisions as to how we should act.
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