Alphas is an American science fiction dramatic television series created by Zak Penn and Michael Karnow. The series follows a group of people with superhuman abilities, known as "Alphas", as they work to prevent crimes committed by other Alphas.
The series is broadcast in the United States on the cable channel Syfy and is a co-production between BermanBraun and Universal Cable Productions. It premiered on July 11, 2011. After initial reports that the show was canceled, on September 7, 2011, Alphas was renewed for a 13-episode second season. The first episode of season 2 has been broadcast on July 23, 2012. On January 16, 2013, Syfy announced that the program would not be returning for a third season, ending the series with an unresolved cliffhanger.
The series follows five people, known as "Alphas", led by noted neurologist and psychologist Dr. Lee Rosen as they investigate criminal cases involving other suspected Alphas. Rosen and his team of Alphas operate under the auspices of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the criminal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Defense. While investigating these crimes, it does not take the team too long to discover that a group known as "Red Flag", which was thought defeated and eliminated long ago, is using other Alphas to commit crimes. With the inclusion of Dr. Calder in the episode "Never Let Me Go", it was established that Alphas takes place in a shared universe with Eureka and Warehouse 13.
Alphas has received mixed to positive reviews. It earned a score of 63 on Metacritic. The New York Post said of the first episode: "Alphas is fun, sure, but it has a 'been there, done that' feel." TV Fanatic gave the show an average review saying, "Everything Alphas brought to the table has been done before." The New York Times gave the show a negative review: "It's neither here nor there: low on sci-fi mystery and intrigue and not yet convincing as ensemble drama. Right now it feels like the beta version."
Variety gave a positive review: "At first blush, though, give Alphas high marks for effort and ingenuity, demonstrating a TV show needn't provide major pyrotechnics or a reinvented wheel to lay the groundwork for solid summer entertainment where the characters, somewhat refreshingly, are only sort-of super."
The Los Angeles Times gave the pilot a positive review: "Alphas deftly balances all the building blocks of great genre—nonhuman abilities, twisty plot, cool special effects, smart dialogue and characters you want to spend more time with. And that's the most impressive superpower of all."
After eight episodes had aired, Maureen Ryan of AOL TV called it the summer's most promising new drama: "Not only has Alphas successfully avoided many of the pitfalls that have bedeviled other superhero-flavored projects, it's done a good job of balancing character-driven moments with taut, well-paced storytelling.
The pilot episode premiered with 2.5 million total viewers, scoring 1.2 million viewers in the 18–49 demographic and 1.3 million in the 25–54 demographic, making it Syfy's most watched debut in two years. Live + 7 day ratings for the series premiere updated those numbers to 3.6 million total viewers, scoring 1.7 million viewers in the 18–49 demographic and 1.8 million in the 25–54 demographic. By the 11th episode (its season finale) however, the ratings had dropped to 1.16 million total viewers.
In the UK the show is broadcasting on a Tuesday. The first episode took 666,000 altogether, 595,000 live and 71,000 on timeshift. When the second episodes aired, the views dipped to 469,000 together live and on timeshift. Despite the fall in viewers on a Tuesday showing, The show has become popular in the UK with Friday repeats rounding up around 150,000 viewers.