Saturday, July 2, 2011

Alphas - Bella Online: Ira Steven Behr Interview - Part One

Source: Bella Online [follow link for complete interview]


ALPHAS - BELLA ONLINE: Ira Steven Behr Interview - Part One

by Helen Angela Lee

Syfy is trying its luck with a new scifi show, “Alphas,” which begins airing Monday, July 11 at 10 p.m. ET. In this new series, you’ll meet a team of superheroes—kinda. Actually, an alpha is a person who has special mind capabilities, which are not all that far out of the bounds of reality. Dr. Rosen [David Strathairn] is in charge of harnessing these special skills so that the alphas can solve crimes of all kinds. But these are normal people, dealing with the downsides to their powers—social, emotional and mental--as well as their neurological nuances.

The following is from a question and answer session actors Ryan Cartwright and Azita Ghanizada and writer Ira Steven Behr conducted with the media last week. We’ll post the second part next week.


... Q. Can we discuss the themes of the show? It seems like some of the gifts are not problems, but perceived that way, and some are run-of-the-mill, everyday capabilities but enhanced to the 10th power. So is there a “work hard and be an alpha” message being given out here?

Ira Steven Behr: "We certainly use neuroscience as a basis ... for the tales that we tell. If you go on YouTube you’ll see the most amazing things that people can do. Growing up, it was always, “He’s a savant.” Now instead of being a savant you’re an alpha. And maybe the skills are pushed up a little bit beyond the savant scale. Have you seen the gentleman whom they take up in a helicopter and fly him over a major city like Rome for 45 minutes in a helicopter? And when they land they put him in a room, which is filled with white drawing paper covering every wall, and they leave him in the for five days. Obviously they feed him and let him sleep, and he draws the entire city, every window to scale, every pillar, every post. It’s an amazing thing to watch, you know? And if that isn’t an alpha ability, I don’t know what is. So, yes. I think the thing that, dramatically, we like, is that every ability comes with a downside, and how true is that? Gary is a perfect example. He’s this incredible transducer who can pick signals out of the air. But obviously, his down side is very apparent, with his autism. Or you have someone like Hicks, who is hyperkinetic and has the most amazing ability and control over his body—and yet at the same time, he has certain psychological problems that have put him in AA. He’s divorced. So all these abilities come with a downside and I think that’s an interesting thing.

But if you’re talking about themes, we could talk until the sun goes down and the stars come out. There are a lot of themes and obviously we’re only in the first season so we’re getting close, at least in the writing, towards finishing the first season. And you know, a lot of the ideas and themes are only going to get deeper and richer as the show continues on its 14-year stay at Syfy...

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