The summer of 2011 will bring David Strathairn ’70 to Syfy (formerly the SciFi Channel) as the lead in a new series, Alphas. Hopefully Strathairn has been a Williams Trivia participant, because this action-adventure series will tell the story of “a team of ordinary citizens whose brain anomalies imbue them with extraordinary mental and physical abilities.” 

Strathairn will be joined by a group of unknowns; perhaps the most recognizable member of the supporting cast is Ryan Cartwright, best known for playing trivia-loving intern Vincent Nigel-Murray on the Fox procedural Bones (he’ll be ready to fit right in!). Others cast include Warren Christie, Malik Yoba and Laura Mennell.

No word on what Syfy’s Executive VP of Programming, Tom Vitale ’86, thinks of having Strathairn join the Syfy geek club. Syfy instead sent out his colleague (peer?), Syfy’s “Executive VP of Original Content,” Mark Stern, to make the announcement:

Eleven episodes have been ordered in addition to the 90-minute pilot directed by Jack Bender, director and executive producer of “Lost,” Syfy said.

“With each step in the development and production of ‘Alphas,’ we knew we were onto something very exciting,” Stern said in a statement Wednesday. “Under Gail and Lloyd’s leadership, Zak and Michael created a smart, fast-paced script that attracted an amazing director in Jack Bender and an incredible cast. We couldn’t be happier to see this first-rate project come to fruition as a Syfy series.”

In contrast to his successful turns in film and on stage, the talented Strathairn has dabbled in a lot of TV with decidedly mixed results, including a three-episode arc on The Sopranos, a major role as an FBI agent on the failed series The Big Apple, and a bevy of guest appearances (most recently on House). I’ll be sure to remind everyone to tune in when Alphas takes its first bow.

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