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Supernatural shows start strong in new seasons

BY ROB HEDELT

THE FREE LANCE-STAR

BEFORE Syfy kicked off a new season of its Monday action series last week, I was eager for the return of “Warehouse 13.”

I was only slightly interested in the start of another season of “Alphas.”

“Warehouse” was solid, but the return of “Alphas” succeeded in re-creating and revitalizing the sci–fi series about a team of people with special powers.

The action and stories may have finally caught up with the cast, led by Academy Award nominee David Strathairn as neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Lee Rosen.

He’s the one within a Department of Defense unit that oversees the extraordinary team, whose members possess powers ranging from super strength or senses to the ability to influence others or manipulate all sorts of electronic signals.

When the series débuted last year, it had some initial success. It created interest in the people and the way they were viewed as outcasts and threats by government officials. But as the season wore on, the action and weekly plots—a strange mix of comic book powers and soap opera relationships—grew somewhat tiresome.

The start of the new season has turned things around nicely.

It began with Rosen in a psychiatric hospital, scores of people with powers (the “alphas”) in prison with their powers blocked and members of the old team either hiding or working for the government to catch others of their kind.

Soon enough in episode one, a group of rogue alphas has broken most of the talented folks out of prison, something that spurs the government to re-create Dr. Rosen’s team to help combat the rising threat.

Hmmm. A good team of superheroes vs. a bad team of superheroes. Sounds like a dozen different comic book series.

That aside, the show has regained a sense of urgency and danger that it needs.

With Strathairn as the leader, there’s a nice cast playing the alphas on his team, with Warren Christie standing out as Cameron, a former sniper who has an uncanny mind–body link.

He can hit a moving car with a rifle from 200 yards. Or toss a quarter into a drink machine slot at 50 paces.

Also special is Azita Ghanizada Rachel, the girl whose heightened senses constantly threaten to overwhelm her.

‘WAREHOUSE 13’

Thanks to a neat cast and a quirky idea—the show’s characters are Secret Service agents who deal with a warehouse full of “relics” with mysterious powers—this Syfy series has built a following.

But things can always stand a little shaking up. Thankfully, that occurred in a big way in the series opener, with head “warehouse” watcher Artie (the solid Saul Rubinek) opening the door to new evil by using a device that sends the crew back in time to prevent the explosion of the warehouse.

Like “Alphas,” the back story requires the viewer to suspend reality, with episodes that have the warehouse agents dealing with relics that exert control over everything from gravity to human behavior.

As with other successful shows on Syfy, having a supernatural plot isn’t enough. The cast has to be worth following.

Here, it’s gotten better each year, with Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly joining Rubinek’s Artie at the show’s start, and the talented Allison Scagliotti adding a new wrinkle as the young, tech-oriented Claudia. And don’t forget CCH Pounder as the mysterious Mrs. Frederic, who is in charge of the whole operation. We’ll have to wait to find out all that entails.

WANT TO WATCH?

What: “Warehouse 13”

When: Mondays at 9

Where: Syfy

What: “Alphas”

When: Mondays at 10

Where: Syfy

 

Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415

rhedelt@freelancestar.com

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