17 August 2012 | nohosp
The Method Acting version of superhero cinema
I've just started watching the second season after getting hooked from season one. I saw on Youtube a few weeks ago the actors discussing the show at Comic Con in San Diego, and I was very disheartened and unimpressed. They seemed so relaxed, quietly interested in their work, a little intimidated about being in front of the audience, but not polished or sparkling and certainly not larger than life salespeople.
They just weren't that into themselves!
David Strathairn and the whole cast are just not very outgoing people. They're a bit intellectual, actually, maybe even nerdy.
Maybe with the possible exception of Malik Yoba. He seemed to have all the charisma on that day.
They were just nice folks discussing their work. Were they putting less into the second season? Did they care less about these characters we've come to love? They seemed to enjoy themselves. They were so unassuming, humble and polite, very quiet, as though each and every one of them was a shy individual not accustomed to presenting and selling what they do.
Well, the second season has finally started, and it is remarkable. Exceptional, phenomenal. No, they aren't selling their performances. This isn't representation. This is Method acting. They are living the experience directly in front of us. They have crafted characters and situations that are REAL in capital letters. And most importantly, truthful down to the bone.
I don't say this with respect to the show's budget, or special effects, or even the basic story lines. The actors are amazing. The writing is incredible, and the directing awesome.
This is a low budget show with a handful of actors that on screen are so engaging, so engrossing that they will take you places inside yourself you may have never visited.
There is no hint they are even acting. They have it totally down. There is nothing formulaic regardless of similarities in basic story to other cinema and television. Yes, it's science fiction, but it is first and foremost remarkable drama, acting and direction.
The relationships between this team, their conflicts and their sincerity is palpable.
I loved Fringe, I love Supernatural, I like Warehouse 13, I really like Falling Skies, but this is something altogether deeper and more layered and simply more wonderful to watch. In those other shoes you are watching actors act. And they do a great job.
But the characters in Alphas are remarkable and fully realized people, in all aspects, clothed as ordinary folks you and I know and see every day. They are not "acting" but living the characters they have created, and doing so seamlessly in a way that draws us in, so we aren't watching. We are there participating with them. What they feel, we feel with them.
It's better than 3D HD. Better than IMAX. We are there with them, living through it with them.
Brando, Julie Harris, James Dean. That is what we are watching every week. It's a gift to the viewers.
We are seeing in season two a depth of their personal lives, and their reactions to what is happening, their growth, backsliding, trauma, and re-emergence that is mesmerizing to watch. In every line, glance, expression, these actors have poured themselves heart and soul out onto the screen and into creating their characters in extremely, painstakingly detailed and amazing ways.
It's wonderful to watch. As a viewer, I am more than happy not to have that interrupted with a murder-a-minute; fifty explosions per episode; a high-tech gadget or gun with every action scene; and every death punctuated with a humorous quip; as seen in larger budget films that get lost in all that.
Some reviewers here have clearly been brought up on that baby food and want their formula.
This is for grown-ups.
The pain and pathos, the fear and the friendship in the subtlest of actions which run well outside the script is fascinating to see.
These are working actors, working directors who have it down. They've figured it out. They've gotten to the soul of their art on a shoestring, and season two is even better, by several factors, than season one, which was quite excellent.
I don't know how the casting agent was able to pull this caliber of talent together, headed by Strathairn, Yoba, Ghanizada, Cartwright, Mennell, Christie (in front of the camera and behind it Penn, Karnow, Copus, Hastings, Wolfe, Behr, Chamoy, and Levy) but I will tell you that each episode is a motion picture, a fully realized morality and passion play of the highest literary caliber. The writers are giving the actors a lot of space to work with, and the ensemble cast, along with their directors, are running with it and taking us along in their journey.
If you are tired of the melodrama, the soap opera plot twists week after week, and the bludgeoning shock and awe special effects and explosions scene after scene that have left behind what used to be artistry; ready for some real food for the soul, watch this show!