One of the best things about science-fiction television is that the writing crew can put together an amazing universe, and then with nothing more than a few keystrokes, turn everything inside out.
That’s what’s happening on Season 2 of “Alphas,” which continues Monday night on Syfy, and it’s exactly the kind of thing actor Warren Christie says he signed up for.
“One of my favorite things about last year, we spent a season setting up a real cool world, and the kind of flipped it at the end by making the Alphas public,” Christie, who plays Cameron Hicks, told Airlock Alpha and other reporters during San Diego Comic-Con. “It’s about that ripple effect on all of us, and that world itself. It was a great jumping off point.”
And that means changes in characters as well, including the very pushy Nina Theroux, who will find herself falling back on old ways.
“It’s an interesting spot because everyone ends up in a completely different realm,” said Laura Mennell, who plays Nina in the series. “As we get further into the season, I love how (Nina) becomes a bit more compulsive with” her ability. “It almost becomes more of an addiction as we get a little closer.”
Bruce Miller makes a successful move from Syfy’s “Eureka” over to “Alphas” to take over as showrunner, and he has led a creative team to keep many familiar aspects of “Alphas” while exploring new areas at the same time.
“It’s all about what really happens” when people develop abilities like what the Alphas have, Miller said. “What would their life be like day-to-day. Does that screw you up?”
One example of that comes from Azita Ghanizada’s character Rachel Pirzad.
“You would assume she would have anybody she wanted, but she has a lot of trouble in her love life because she is so sensitive and keeps people at arms distance,” Miller said.
When developing characters for the show, the writers can start one of two ways — developing a character around an ability, or developing an ability around a character. Either way, the character is defined by that ability, because it’s such a major part of their lives.
C. Thomas Howell from films like “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial” and television series like “Southland” makes a guest appearance July 30 on “Alphas,” and is a perfect example of a character deeply defined by his ability.
“He has a very specific ability that has shaped his whole persona,” said co-executive producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe. “It’s almost like a birth defect. He lives life very quickly, so he’s a very impatient man.”
Although “Alphas” is not the first show to give people special abilities and then thrust them into society, it is one that tries to take as real of an approach as possible.
“The concept of the show is what would really happen, so we don’t have people who can fly or who can travel through time,” co-creator Michael Karnow said.
Instead, the Alphas have abilities that are more likely obtainable if such a condition were to exist. Including Nina’s ability to get whatever she wants. And even that will have a bit of a different look in Season 2.
“This year we get to show my ability in a different bit of a viewpoint,” Mennell said. “The writers are really creative from the point of view of the person being pushed, what they see, which is something we didn’t get to do last year.”
“Alphas” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy, right after “Warehouse 13.”
San Diego Comic-Con coverage on Airlock Alpha is brought to you exclusively by Roddenberry.com.