Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 18
A Blog About Random Stuff from My Cranium: Torchwood, Buffy, Comics, Role-Playing Games, and More . . .
Guest Post: Series Review “Alias”
The Wife here, with another Guest Post to please our Resident Blogger.
In my previous post, I mentioned the joy I take in re-watching various programs. Lately, I have been thinking of doing a re-watch of the TV series “Alias”, of which I was a huge fan. Be warned, the review below contains SPOILERS.
For those not in the know, this was a J.J. Abrams series about a young woman named Sydney who is working undercover for what she believes is a covert branch of the CIA. What she learns, after the murder of her fiancé, is that she is working for the bad guys. She turns double-agent for the real CIA and sets out to put things right.
As with many programs that I enjoy, I didn’t start out with the series from the very beginning. I actually started watching at the beginning of Season 2. I think I had heard that Sydney was going to see her presumed dead mother for the first time and I decided to tune in. I was quickly hooked.
The series had attractive people, great special effects, solid humour, lots of action and some romance. I am a girly girl. I love romance. HOWEVER – I hate “romance shows”. I could never get into Abram’s previous show “Felicity”, because I loathed the back and forth “which guy this week” drama. This is odd, considering my love of soap operas, but I like my romance in the midst of something else – mob drama, sci-fi, etc. I mean, I watched the X-Files mostly for the love story…but would have been really bored without the aliens and monsters.
Alias definitely had its faults. The show’s Mythology seemed to run away from it. Plus, Sydney was the weepiest spy I have ever seen. Girl cried at the drop of a freaking hat. Not that she didn’t have some pretty messed up sh*t happen to her, but you’d think she could at least hold it in on missions. And, the show didn’t seem to know what to do with her “regular” best friends Will and Francie as the show progressed.
The pluses, however, definitely outweighed the minuses. The stunts were amazing and the supporting cast was truly phenomenal. Dixon, Marshall, Weiss, etc were great characters and their relationships with Sydney and the others were believable. Terry O’Quinn of Lost fame played my favourite of Sydney’s CIA bosses and there were some great recurring villains/antagonists. (Anna Espinosa, Sark and one of my favourites “Creepy Asian Dentist”).
Three actors/characters made the show truly great, in my opinion.
In reflecting on the series as whole, I’ve come to see Alias not as Sydney’s story alone, or even the story of her love affair with Vaughn – but the story of a father and daughter finding their way back to each other. At the beginning of the series, Sydney and Jack rarely speak and are in a period of estrangement. Throughout the run of the show, Sydney slowly comes to understand that her father really did put her first in his life – despite the many hardships it cost him. They slowly develop a new relationship and discover each other as adults. By the time of the final season, when Sydney is pregnant and alone, it seems natural to watch Jack play the expectant Grandpa – helping Sydney build a crib and being there to hold her hand when she goes into labour.
If I could change one thing about Alias, it would be that fifth and final season. As I understand it, the episode order was unexpectedly cut, forcing the producers to short-circuit their plans to complete the run of the series. That shows in the writing and delivery of that last half-season. Sloan turning on Nadia, Irina’s final decisions, etc, all felt rushed and somehow off-kilter – as though part of the story was missing. I still regret that – but it doesn’t stop me from fondly remembering Alias as a whole.
To that end, some of my favourite scenes/line from Spy-Barbie’s Many Adventures: