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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this hour-long science-fiction drama features consistent moments of violence, with occasional blood. With the focus of the show on crime solving, expect to see dead bodies, elaborate chases, some gun use, and some intense physical fights. The series is best for teen and up and does have some strong positive messaging about embracing what makes you unique and using exceptional abilities for the benefit of humankind.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Mixing equal doses of classic cop show and sci-fi action thriller, ALPHAS revolves around the adventures of five people with the ability to stretch the capabilities of the human mind and essentially utilize superpowers, without the tights and capes. The five "alphas" (Malik Yoba, Warren Christie, Laura Mennell, Ryan Cartwright, and Azita Ghanizada) operate as a team for the U.S. Department of Defense, working under the leadership of alphas expert Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn) to solve crimes that seem to be related to others with their unique capabilities. At the same time, elements of a larger conspiracy involving warring factions of alphas are hinted at throughout.
Is it any good?
Most TV shows that make it to air require a clever "logline," one sentence that sums up the idea for viewers and network executives alike. Alphas is clearly "Law & Order meets Heroes," a police procedural focusing on crimes related to superheroes, with a light sprinkling of an ongoing mystery layered on top. It's one of those forehead-slap ideas that seems obvious and cliche at the same time.
Fortunately, Alphas has some clever writing, strong actors, and an overall positive "being different is cool" message that make it a fun watch for teens and their parents. Oscar-nominated actor David Strathairn chomps into his role as a slightly goofy mad scientist with relish, and the dynamics between the lead alphas establish easy rapport quickly and with a generous helping of humor. It's a step or two above the typical hour-long network or basic cable fare.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's reliance on physical violence as a key element. Are there different ways in which the show could have resolved its character conflicts?
Do you prefer this approach to superheroes as opposed to characters dressed in capes and tights? Why or why not? Does it feel more real this way?
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love sci-fi
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.