SyFy’s Alphas: Gary Bell and Confronting Autism

Gary Bell from Alphas

SyFy‘s Alphas is one of the most intriguing shows since last season.  With the cast of characters, Alpha Gary Bell has to be the most fascinating character to date on any television show (next to Doctor Who).  According to Wikipedia, Gary Bell is an autistic prodigious savant.  He is wonderfully played by Ryan Cartwright.  His special ability is the ability to see electromagnetic radiation and wireless communication efficiently.  His main weaknesses have been discovered are radiation overload and white noise. For a time being, he had a girlfriend of sorts, Anna, who was also autistic but more so.  Additionally, she lacked the ability to talk and could only communicate via a tablet with her own proprietary “voice” application on it.  In spite of this, she could translate and converse in all languages — a Rosetta stone.

Gary Bell seems to be the only autistic main character in all the television landscape so far.  He has impressively shown that not only autistic people can adapt into society, they can be a significant part of it.  In fact, out of all the Doctor Rosen’s Alphas, he may be decidedly the most important with his ability to intercept and detect communications between their “persons of interest.”

Autism is usually taken with sympathy by society, and for the most part, autistic individuals are not taken for what they are — individuals.  They are still human beings, no more and no less.  As a society, we shove them into the nearest facility or locked away in the house.  If one gives them to freedom to participate, they can and will astound you what they know — or they can show you themselves what they know.  I’ve known this from experience long ago.  Ryan Cartwright’s Gary Bell may a beginning, a revolution of perception.  Not only of his and soon of ours…

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