'Alphas:' The little superhero show that could
Azita Ghanizada (right) stars as Rachel Pirzad on the Syfy series "Alphas.'
September 26th, 2011
04:17 PM ET

'Alphas:' The little superhero show that could

Last season saw two superhero TV shows, ABC's "No Ordinary Family" and NBC's "The Cape," fail to get beyond their first seasons.

On the other hand, Syfy's "Alphas" launched over the summer with the season finale on Monday night and is heading into a season two.

As one of the show's stars, Azita Ghanizada describes it, it's "based on more of the human brain" than any classic idea of superheroes.

"It’s about these humans who have brain anomalies that cause these superhuman abilities," she said. "But the abilities can cause other flaws, personality issues." For example, One character’s ability to see electromagnetic waves, causes autism.

"My character’s ability is having super senses: she can smell anything, hear what people say, but when she uses one of her senses another dies," Ghanizada explained. "When she super-sees, she’s essentially deaf, when she super-hears, she’s essentially blind."

So why has this series succeeded so far, where others have failed?

"It takes the 'superhero' idea and marries it to the more gritty tone that's become popular in scripted shows over the last few years," said Brittany Frederick of CliqueClack.com. "It takes itself seriously and doesn't stretch its plots into 'are you kidding me?' territory. Sure, it deals with the fantastic but I'm not going to see [Ghanizada's co-star] Malik Yoba in spandex, and thus far it doesn't tackle convoluted plotlines ('Heroes,' I'm looking at you)."

"I like that despite their powers, they're still human," said Anita Nicholson, who also writes for the site. "They aren't unrealistically 'Care Bear' good."

As Ghanizada points out, the human element is a big part of the show. "We’re still vulnerable as superhumans thrown into these high intensity chases for the government that we’re not really prepared for."

CliqueClack.com writer Ivey West said that Ghanizada is the show's mot interesting character, because of her backstory: "The dynamic between her old family who didn't accept her compared to her new family that does, is an old story told in a very convincing way."

Hardcore fans like West have really impressed Ghanizada – a big fan of the original "X-Men" cartoon series herself - so far. "It blows my mind how creative they are!" she said.

"Fandom is so cool because they go above and beyond what normal fans of television do. They really invest. They write fanfiction, they create art. They become so in tune with the supernatural elements of these types of shows. A science fiction fan is someone whose mind expands beyond the normal realm. Sci-fi fans are the smartest fans you can have. For them to approve is amazing."

Ghanizada is happy to have found a series in a genre she feels comfortable with, as well. "I always wanted to be the girl who was the butt-kicker," she explained. "I wanted to be able to have X-ray vision and I wanted to fly. Science fiction is an easy fit for me, I know the genre well."

Genre fans, meanwhile, are certainly appreciating the show so far. As Nicholson explained, "Its geek appeal is that it's a good show that re-works the old school mutant prototype, and it's one of Syfy's better original series with convincing special effects. Basically, this is 'Heroes' 2.0, the way it should've been."

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