UPDATE: Alphas is five episodes in, and the show is awesome. And, for those who say black folks aren’t into SciFi, check out this vote of confidence I found over at allhiphop.com with the thread title: Please tell me y’all niggaz are watching Alphas.
Rumor has it black folks don’t watch science fiction (unless Will Smith’s in it, a lot of ish gets destroyed, and the special effects dial is turned to overkill). I find that annoying to hear, mostly because I’m black, I watch science fiction, and a great number of my black friends and family members do too.
For argument’s sake, I’ll suspend my disbelief and consider that those rumors might be true and maybe black folks aren’t (for lack of a better word) “geeked” about the new show “Alphas” on the SyFy channel.
I really don’t need any reason to tune in other than the fact that Malik Yoba is starring in the show, but for those of you who are too young to have fallen madly in love with Malik when he played J.C. Williams on “New York Undercover” back in the 90s, there’s much more here to entice you over to the geek side.
“Alphas” isn’t your cookie cutter sci-fi production. Yes, it is about a group of individuals with ‘super’ powers, but the characters are not super human, nor are they super heroes. The powers they have are the ones all humans have — only they’re magnified to a degree that makes them a fantastic blessing and a freakish burden.
Yoba’s character is an FBI guy who keeps accidently on purpose hurting people with his out of control fight or flight instinct. Yes, he can flip a car over with his bare hands, but he won’t be flying through the air balancing a BMW on his fingertip. It ain’t that kind of sci-fi party, and I love that about this show.
I don’t know about you, but I’d give up caffeine for life to have the power one of these Alpha chicks has — she uses mental telepathy to make a traffic cop stop writing mid-ticket, stuff the ticket it in his mouth, chewing and grinning as he tells her to have a nice day. Azita Ghanizada, the Afghani actress whose character can selectively see, smell, taste, hear and feel things on the molecular level, describes the show as “The Wire meets X-Files.”
Malik says “Alphas” is like nothing he’s done in the past, and if you’ve followed his career, you know he can play the hell out of an FBI guy, which, ironically is why he almost turned the role down. “I wasn’t interested. It felt like another procedural role and I was over the whole television series thing.” His manager and agents pressed him to read the script and he found the project too unique to resist.
“I haven’t had this much fun doing anything, and I’ve enjoyed a lot of the projects I’ve worked on,” Yoba said. “There’s action there’s comedy there’s the human element, the sci-fi element and it’s a thriller. I just read the episode we’re shooting next week and I’ve never had this experience where I’m reading the script and I’m shook. It’s scary.”
Malik is hoping “Alphas” will draw new viewers to the genre. “It would be good to have a whole bunch of brown people watching sci-fi … It’s about humanity. It’s what makes people connect.”
I’ll be watching with a room full of brown people, Malik. Sci-fi party over here. -kathleen cross
Alphas is on Monday nights at 10pm on SyFy channel.