Syfy green-lights Alphas

Syfy has ordered the action-adventure 90-minute pilot Alphas (working title) from writers Zak Penn (Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk) and Michael Karnow, the network announced today at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

Alphas is executive-produced by Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun for BermanBraun Television and is expected to commence production in early fall 2009.

Alphas follows a team of ordinary citizens who possess extraordinary and unusual mental skills. Using physical feats and mental trickery, this elite force of heroes take the law into their own hands and uncover what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able or willing to solve. Each possessing their unique and not always visible power, they alone solve the crime, stop the ticking time bomb and catch the enemy.

"Alphas' unconventional approach to the traditional superhero genre couldn't be a better fit for Syfy as we continue to build a programming slate of fun, imaginative entertainment," said Mark Stern, executive vice president of original programming, Syfy and co-head of content for Universal Cable Productions, in a statement. "Zak and Michael's dry, naturalistic humor, combined with Gail and Lloyd's incredible producing leadership, promise to make this a very special project."

The Hollywood Reporter offered a bit of backstory on the production:

In its original incarnation as Section 8, the drama was first taken to NBC through BermanBraun's first-look deal there. After the network passed, the project sparked heated bidding among the other broadcast networks in summer 2007, landing at ABC with a six-episode production order for a possible midseason launch behind Lost.

The show was in preproduction, with writing on the first episode under way, when the WGA strike brought work to a halt.

After the strike, ABC's plans for Section 8 had to be altered. And creative differences over the show's sci-fi elements, with which ABC is said to have been uncomfortable, led to the project's departure from the network.

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