TV

SyFy Returns Two Series

Every time I see an ad for the SyFy series "Alphas," (SyFy, 10 p.m.), I always feel like saying the Marlon Brando line from "On The Waterfront."

"I coulda been somebody. I coulda been a contender."

As I posted on this blog before, I came up with a similar idea for a series and wrote a pilot for it, but it never got anywhere because I lack the connections in Hollywood to do such things.

Actually, that year, I wrote two pilots that year. The first one was called, ironically enough, "Psi." Like "Alphas," it dealt with people with super powers (in this case, anything psychic-related). Unlike "Alphas," my main character didn't work in a team, but as a partner to a regular human cop.

The second pilot was called "Messiah," about an alien who leads the last remnants of humanity to Mars to start over after Earth becomes uninhabitable. Unknown to me at the time, there was a UK series called "Outcasts" that would soon be hitting the airwaves over there with sort of the same theme -- the last remaining humans venture to an alien world to begin anew. ("Outcasts" lasted just the one short season, just long enough to kill the idea for the rest of us.)

So, while it's frustrating to not sell my work, it's equally frustrating to see similar ideas executed in a mediocre way. I'm not saying my pilot is better than "Alphas," but at the same time, I didn't find "Alphas" to be that good in Season 1.

The series follows a team of supers working for the government -- a guy with superhuman reflexes, a woman who can hypnotize men to do her bidding, a man with super-strength, a girl with ultra senses and a teen who can navigate any computer system with his mind. They're led by a normal human scientist (David Strathairn) who collects the Alphas and tries to use them to help society.

I found the first season lacking in character development. One of the things I wanted to emphasize in my pilot was the downside of having these powers -- the isolation the characters would feel not being able to adjust to regular life.

That's something that doesn't appear in "Alphas" much. Of course, it's the writers' choice to emphasize what they want to during in the episodes, but I found the series to be mostly pedestrian -- basically, a case of the week series where the characters have to learn to work together to solve that week's crisis.

I haven't previewed Season 2 yet, so maybe the show delves deeper than it did in Season 1.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: "Alphas" debuts after the season premiere of "Warehouse 13" at 9 p.m.

Also on cable, ABC Family has new episodes of "Secret Life of an American Teenager" and "Bunheads" from 8-10 p.m. TNT continues to wind down with "The Closer" at 9 p.m., followed by "Perception" at 10 p.m. MTV airs a new "Teen Wolf" at 10 p.m.

On the networks, ABC inflicts another season of "The Bachelor Pad" upon us from 8-10 p.m., followed by "Glass House." That's way too many people living together under one roof that I don't care about for my taste.

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