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Alphas: Season 1

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,007 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Brought together to form one extraordinary team of “Alphas” – people whose unique brain anomalies imbue them with superhuman mental and physical abilities – five seemingly ordinary citizens must take the law into their own hands while working within the government to investigate a new brand of baffling crime.  An action-packed thriller starring an electrifying cast led by Primetime Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominee David Strathairn (The Bourne Ultimatum) and guest starring sci-fi icons Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), Summer Glau (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) and Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation), discover a new breed of superheroes in Alphas.


Strong casting helps to set apart the science fiction series Alphas, about a crime-solving group of highly gifted individuals, from a slew of familiar pop culture antecedents, which in turn buoys the chances for a follow-up to this first-season set. The show's core premise feels as if it was produced directly from a development session--it's X-Men and Heroes meets the CSI franchise--but the presence of film actor David Strathairn as the Alphas' neurologist mentor helps to anchor the series in a plausibly dramatic foundation. Ryan Cartwright, as a high-functioning autistic youth who can produce and process electronic communication with his mind, and Laura Mennell, whose psychic powers can bend others to her will, also lend considerable credence to the material, and it's to the credit of series cocreator Zak Penn (screenwriter, X-Men: The Last Stand and The Incredible Hulk) that the effects of wielding such abilities, which are often debilitating in a variety of ways, are given equal screen time. Such elements help to retain interest in the show when episodes drift towards formulaic superhero/crime tropes, and undoubtedly helped revive network interest in a second season. The three-disc season-one set includes an extended version of the pilot episode, which delivers more background on and interaction between the characters, as do the deleted scenes for three episodes. There's also a lengthy panel discussion from the 2011 ComicCon fest that features Penn, Strathairn, and executive producer Ira Steven Behr, as well as short Q&As with the cast, who respond to queries sent via Facebook. --Paul Gaita

Special Features

Disc 1:
  • Pilot Extended Version
  • Deleted Scenes

  • Disc 2:
  • Deleted Scenes

  • Disc 3:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alphas at Comic-Con® 2011
  • Alphas: Fan Q & A

  • Product Details

    • Actors: David Strathairn, Ryan Cartwright, Warren Christie, Azita Ghanizada, Laura Mennell
    • Directors: Nick Copus
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
    • Subtitles: English
    • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Number of discs: 3
    • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: July 17, 2012
    • Run Time: 497 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,007 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B0081QF6Q8
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,360 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: DVD
    For quite some time, I've considered Zak Penn to be an extraordinary hack. He's co-written or co-plotted some of the most embarrassing failures of the Superhero genre to date, such as ELEKTRA, and X-MEN: THE LAST STAND. He also wrote original drafts of both the first and second HULK films and what is widely considered the greatest superhero film of all time, THE AVENGERS. However the success of the second HULK film was largely due to star Edward Norton almost completely rewriting the script (under the name Edward Harrison, but was denied any credit by the Writer's Guild), and the gargantuan success of THE AVENGERS, script-wise, is credited wholly to the brilliant Joss Whedon (and rightfully so, since Penn was actually relegated to a co-plotter). So from this resume', one might assume that while Penn may be a fan of the Superhero genre, he's certainly no expert at it.

    With his series ALPHAS, co-created with Michael Karnow, Penn has proved that not only can he craft a really clever "superhero" story, but a very tightly-constructed television show that's both action-packed and whip-smart.

    From the outset of the show, we're treated to a number of superhero archetypes: First is Bill Harken (Malik Yoba, the mini-series THIEF, NIKITA) as a gruff former federal agent who has the ability to throw his mental "fight-or-flight" response into overdrive and gain temporary super-strength. Next up is Nina Theroux (Laura Mennell, SUPERNATURAL, FRINGE, SMALLVILLE) as a beautiful young woman who can slightly exert her will on other people mentally. Then we have Rachel Pirzad (Azita Ghanizada, bit parts on shows like CASTLE, BONES, PSYCH, etc.), a very pretty girl from a Middle Eastern family who can enhance her five senses.
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    Comment 63 of 67 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    There seem to have been a lot of movies and TV shows in recent years that try to depict more "realistic" superhero stories. You know, less spandex and magical powers, more "regular" people.

    The latest example is "Alphas," a TV series that focuses on otherwise ordinary people with strange evolutionary quirks like supersenses, influencing minds and "seeing" electronic signals. It's one of those series that is solid and fun, but it feels like it hasn't fully grown into itself just yet -- but the last episode does imply that big things are coming.

    The CIA is stumped when a key witness is shot... in an empty room with no windows. The case is handed over to Dr. Rosen (David Strathairn), a scientist who has a special team of "Alphas" -- and they soon determine that the shooter is also an Alpha, Cameron Hicks (Warren Christie), who is being controlled by someone else.

    Among the problems the team encounters are: a kid with rage pheromones, a bunch of mystery deaths at a high school, a kidnapped heiress who can only be found with Gary's abilities, a woman who can MacGuyver almost any device from scraps, a cult leader who is slowly destroying his followers, a shape-shifter, and an invisible menace who is stalking a prisoner.

    But the biggest problem comes not from Alphas, but from regular humans. A terrorist cell known as Red Flag reveals that our dear government is trying to surreptitiously stamp out or imprison all Alphas, and the tenuous relationship between Dr. Rosen's group and the government becomes more fragile with time. If they can't stop it, war will be the next step.
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    Two of the most compelling characters in this show are autistic. In fact, autism is really the basis of this entire show: a group of folks whose brains and bodies work in slightly different ways than the rest of us. There are some things they can do with remarkable--even super-human--ability. But the trade-off is often severe.

    This show renders the idea of neurodiversity--that autism and other "mental disorders" are not diseases so much as they are completely different sets of wiring--through the lens of the super-hero narrative. I'm totally hooked. The characters are complicated and the whole setup is just so smart.

    This is not the X-Men: nobody can shoot lasers out of their faces. The powers themselves are much more subtle: incredible aim, heightened senses, almost-prescient ability to predict cause and effect. But the show itself is all the more powerful because it doesn't try to pull out the "big guns." Highly recommended.
    Comment 37 of 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    Alphas is a well written show with superb performances. Many people will choose to focus on the fact that it does in one season what "Heroes" was never able to accomplish; show people with extraordinary powers use them for good, and still be entertaining. That is a valid point and definitely worth noting, but the thing that makes this show shine is its overall quality. The writing is fantastic; in a genre as bloated as this one, the stories are enjoyable and feel fresh.

    The crux of the story is about psychologist Lee Rosen, played to perfection by David Strathairn, and his team of government sanctioned Alphas, people with amazing powers, trying to keep both humans and alphas safe. His team is made up of wonderful characters who are startlingly organic. When they interact with each other, it never comes off as dialogue, but instead natural interaction. You could imagine yourself having theses same conversations with those around you. Writing doesn't get much better than that.

    No matter how great the script and dialogue is though, if the performances aren't there to support it, the scripts brilliance can't shine through. Thankfully, the entire cast of Alphas is phenomenal. From Dr. Rosen's constant lectures, to Gary's quirky personality (Ryan Cartwright), Rachel's sensitivity (Azita Ghanizada), Nina's doubt (Laura Mennell), Bill's professional turmoil (Malik Yoba), and Hick's struggle for acceptance (Warren Christie), every emotion and situation the script calls for is flawlessly executed by these talented actors.

    Alphas boasts the most impressive first season of any show I have seen since the fantastic "
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    Topic From this Discussion
    Cliffhanger ?
    Not a real cliffhanger, but just barely counts as one. You can stop watching whenever you want. The second season has started airing on tv now. The channel that is in control of the show is SyFy, they almost always tend to give a show at least two to three seasons. You should be completely safe,... Read More
    Jul 25, 2012 by Alan McAnelly |  See all 3 posts
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    Alphas: Season 1
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