Alphas: Season 1, Episode 8

A Short Time in Paradise (29 Aug. 2011)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Drama | Sci-Fi
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 221 users  
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Dr, Rosen is forced to challenge his most cherished values when he encounters an alpha leading a personality cult who sincerely wants to create a paradise for all humanity, a dream his ... See full summary »

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(as John Showalter)

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(creator), (creator), 1 more credit »
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Daniel Kash ...
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Neil Girvan ...
Pastor
Ethan Hektor ...
Young Jonas
Dmitry Chepovetsky ...
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Storyline

Dr, Rosen is forced to challenge his most cherished values when he encounters an alpha leading a personality cult who sincerely wants to create a paradise for all humanity, a dream his alpha ability may make possible. But as members of the alpha group fall under the cult leaders and he refuses to recognize he may be responsible for the illnesses among the cult members Dr. Rosen is forced to act... if he can. Written by David Foss

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TV-14
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29 August 2011 (USA)  »

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People Don't Understand (Theme Song)
Performed by Trey Lockerbie
Written by Peter Luke Adams and Erik Kertes
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User Reviews

Worst episode thus far
30 August 2011 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

If "Alphas" wants to make its mark as a successful TV series, and not just be thrown on the scrapheap as a "Heroes" wannabe that didn't cut the mustard, it had better improve the teleplay writing significantly after this disastrous episode. It was among the worst TV segments of any show I've seen all year.

To be harsh (and someone needs to give the "Alphas" staff a wakeup call before it's lights out time), it reminded me of the misguided turn that Irwin Allen cult classic VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA took in later seasons, now 45 years ago (ouch, we Baby Boomers are getting old!). Week after week I would tune in and witness the crew of the Seaview taken over by monsters or strange forces and the cast temporarily out of their minds, turning into evil bad guys.

In "Alphas", a preacher who is an alpha, uses his power to accomplish the same thing with most of our beloved cast, turning them into mindless, moronic slaves to his form of religious "bliss". It's up to Dr. Lee Rosen (solid but looking mighty quizzical David Straitharn, who I expected to step out of character any moment and ask for a rewrite) to save the day, nearly single-handed.

Comical counterpoint is lame, as Gary is a most unlikely "date" for Rachel who's attending a big party for her sister and needs a warm body to escort her, or mamma will inflict Mama Rose style matchmaker impositions on her. Subplot of Rachel using her powers (with an assist from Gary) to diagnose throat cancer in her dad and convince him to get treatment was maudlin and bathetic in the extreme.

Watching Staitharn squirm as he tries to talk the evil preacher out of his deadly mission was a distasteful experience, as the top-notch character actor deserves far better. Maybe John Sayles' flagging career will miraculously pick up and Straitharn can go back to serious acting; but of course when he signed up to star in a Syfy Channel series he knew the downside.

The formula plot line of a Jim Jones type of megalomaniacal religious nut seems irresistible to TV hacks, but I wish the "Alphas" team, particularly the producers and story editor, had thought twice and rejected this particular script. It wouldn't have played on a conventional show even without the supernatural add-on, but the gimmick of having the alpha preacher able to convert our heroes didn't wash. Director John Showalter, who's done fine work of late on many series ranging from "Supernatural" to "The Defenders", was faced with an insurmountable task of putting this garbage premise on film.


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