Alphas after Season Two, Character-Focused Television

Alphas is a superhero TV show, showing on Syfy, which centers around a group of mutants (alphas) working for the government to keep others of their kind from being a danger to society. That premise by itself opens up the show to some moral ambiguity. I have to say, though, for a show that’s willing and happy to deal with shades of grey, Alphas manages to be put a fairly optimistic spin on its cynicism. If that makes any sense.

The more I watch this show, the more I like it. In the first season, it showed a lot of promise for not being quite typical. The second season was the test for whether or not it could stick to that. And it did.

Alphas doesn’t care what most other shows would do with the same ideas. Alphas wants its protagonists making tough decisions and being called out for the consequences. It wants its heroes to make the big mistakes, the ones that don’t just disappear. And despite its penchant for grey situations, it wants to always err on the side of sympathy. For all of the characters, no matter how wrong they are.

This season made me realize that the show actually has themes. It’s about reaching out instead of shutting down. It’s about doing the best you can with what you have and about the mistakes you make when you find out your best isn’t good enough. But ultimately, it’s about trying to be better than you’ve been.

This season went darker than the previous one, with many of the characters being tested, emotionally. We get to see the less savory sides of these characters when they’re put under pressure. In the first season, the conflicts within the team arose from how different they all were and the fact that they weren’t used to each other yet. In this season, those relationships have grown, but are put under strain when each of the individual characters are put under strain. It also has something of a reverse Professor X-Magneto character dynamic going, as the violent extremist is the one trying to win over the leader of our protagonists, whereas our main good guy is all like, ‘nope, stay away from me.’

And this season ended with a big cliffhanger, which I won’t mention specifically. I will say that I’ve gotten to the point where I trust this show. Specifically, I trust this show not to back out of its decisions. I believe that, should there be a season three (which I’m really hoping for), it’ll premier with a huge change for the show. Alphas hasn’t been artificially creating tense situations just to have everything fixed at the last moment with no lasting consequences for the main characters. It’s generally followed through on its promises. I think it’s earned a measure of trust by now, right?

A lot of television right now is underwhelming, with a few notable exceptions. But it’s stuff like this that’s worth the looking for it. I’d recommend this for people in want of a darker series, with a theme of redemption, which won’t retreat to the safety of the status quo in favor of telling a good story.

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