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Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) is a spy working for SD-6, a covert branch of the CIA. But her world is turned upside down when she tells her fiance her secret and finds out SD-6 is not part of the CIA, she's been working for the enemy she thought she was fighting against. Together with her handler Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan) of the CIA, Sydney works to bring down SD-6.
Alias ran for 5 seasons between 2001 and 2006, created by JJ Abrams (Lost, Star Trek, Fringe, Cloverfield) and starring Jennifer Garner (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Juno)
Alias isn't a straight spy tv show, it's more spy/sci-fi, there is usually a sci-fi element to the storyline. Some of which are totally unbelievable quite frankly, so your opinion of Alias will partly depend on whether or not you like sci-fi. For me, I'm a fan, makes it more interesting for me than just straight forward cases to solve etc.
Now on to some of the major characters in the series: Sydney Bristow is a bit annoying to be honest, don't know why I think that but I just do. Jennifer Garner gives her the vulnerability needed to make you care about her character and I think she's a solid actress (but she has very few facial expressions which gets annoying after seeing them for 5 seasons and numerous films). Sydney is a strong lead but one of the strongest features of Alias is the ensemble cast.
Best character-Marshall Flinkman (Kevin Weisman) think a geeky Q, but wayyy better. He breaks up the seriousness by generally being a dork, highlights are when he gets to go on missions.
Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan) is a pretty boring character at first but he grows into the role and has great chemistry with Jennifer Garner, even after they stopped dating.
Ron Rifkin, Carl Lumbly, Victor Garber, Merrin Dungey, Bradley Cooper and Greg Grunberg are all excellent in their supporting roles, the cast works together brilliant in my opinion.
With guest stars including Quentin Tarantino, Roger Moore, David Carradine, Lena Olin, Isabella Rossellini, Djimon Hounsou, Faye Dunaway and Vivica A Fox, Alias attracts the very best.
Alias has great writing, acting, effects, action, everything really. Maybe it's a little far fetched but fun. I was a little let down by the final season, with it containing less episodes than the other seasons, the final episode was rushed and they had to fit too much into a short space of time. But that was probably more due to network decisions than anything else.
Definitely give it a watch, but make sure you watch from the first season or it won't make sense.
Sydney Bristow - Jennifer Garner
Michael Vaughn - Michael Vartan
Arvin Sloane - Ron Rifkin
Marcus Dixon - Carl Lumbly
Jack Bristow - Victor Garber
Marshall Flinkman - Kevin Weisman
Eric Weiss - Greg Grunberg
Will Tippin - Bradley Cooper
Francie Calfo - Merrin Dungey
Julian Sark - David Anders
Also posted on ciao under the name shabbating
Alias is a brilliant American tv show starring Jennifer Garner who plays Sydney Bristow.
Sydney is a secret agent working as a double agent for the CIA and an evil group called SD6.
Sydney- is the main character. She is a female spy, like James Bond. She goes on missions and she's one tough cookie. She beats up bad guys twice her size, takes a good hammering from them too, but never gives up.
Vaughan- Sydney's handler in the CIA
A guy who we quickly like- and who likes Sydney. He gives Sydney her counter-missions and has saved her life on more than one occasion.
Arvin Sloane- The evil head honcho who Sydney begins to hate after she finds out that Sloane killed her fiancé because Sydny told him that she worked for SD6.
Dixon- Sydney's partner and all round cool guy. Except for the fact that Sydney does all the dressing up in disguises, beats the guys up and risks her life all the time- and all Dixon does is say "I'll meet you outside!"
Jack Bristow- Sydney's father
Jack often breaks the law and does things that he shouldn't in order to save Sydney. As a senior officer he has a lot of contacts and is well respected. Some of his contacts are the bad guys! But it all helps.
This is a great tv programme. Once you start watching it you'll want to watch every episode as it's an addictive programme. The characters are all interesting and have their own stories.
The plot twists are amazing and each series goes further than the last taking the story to new levels. The programme has everything - action, drama, suspense and intrigue and even luuurve for the ladies! I didn't know much about the secret intelligence services that every country has but this show has enlightened me.
Some of the corruption and dodgy tactics even by the so called good guys shows you that the small group including Sydney her father, Dixon and a few others, are the only true good guys.
Jennifer Garner stars as Sydney Bristow, a secret agent working as a double agent for the CIA and a rogue group called SD6. Hiding the truth about being a spy from everyone - including her best friends- Sydney pretends to work for a bank, going on 'business trips' regularly. What her friends don't know is that her business trips are actually reconnaissance missions sometimes to retrieve microchips or rescue fellow spy colleagues.
Sydney- Main character - female spy. She's amazing. She does martial arts, often involved in hand to hand combat, and she kicks butt! She also wears amazing disguises with a variety of coloured wigs - which I loooove! She's a natural brunette but is often a blond or redhead, sometimes a smartly dressed businesswoman at other times a punk or a hippy. It makes for great viewing!
Arvin Sloane- The evil SD6 boss
Sloane who lied to Sydney, telling her SD6 was a branch of the CIA. Sydney thought of him as a father until Sloane had her fiancé killed after she told him what she did for a living. That's why she joined the real CIA- partly to destroy SD6 - enemies of the USA- and partly to take down Sloane.
Dixon- Sydney's partner
Dixon is a nice guy and is Sydney's partner in SD6. He has no idea he's actually working for the bad guys.
Vaughan- Sydney's handler in the CIA
A guy who we quickly like- and who likes Sydney. He gives Sydney her counter-missions and has saved her life on more than one occasion.
Jack Bristow- Sydney's father
Sydney describes him as "a man I hardly know" but they soon become closer as Sydney realizes that Jack is also a double agent.
Francie and Will- Sydney's friends
They have no idea what their friend is really getting up to, believing that works for a bank (they must be stupid, like Lois Lane, because Sydney goes on more flights than an air hostess!)
Marshall- The Tech Guy
The gadgets in this show are fantastic and Bond-style. Marshall takes care of all of these, providing Sydney with sonic-wave emitting earrings, contact lenses with someone else's retinas scanned in- all sorts of wicked technology that is a must-have for a spy.
The format of the show is that Sydney is given a brief to obtain something or extract someone (spy speak for rescue someone). The Sydney goes off and puts on a fabulous outfit, completes the mission, then comes home. The sub-plot involves her social life and love life. There's a plot surrounding her mother who Sydney believed died in an accident when young. Sydney is also a college student who still has to study - inbetween missions!
I love this show. Yes the episodes can be formulaic - breifing, dress up, go on mission, obtain object, come home, but there's a depth to the characters that we gradually see throughout the show. Sydney has to live with her fiance's death and we also see real emotion as she struggles to continue working for a man she hates (Sloane). Amidst all this we see her relationship with her father develop too. There's so much going in this show, there's definitely something for everyone.
I love watching it, im watching repeats now (as its no longer made) and its still fascinating viewing. The characters are really likeable and the journey Sydney undertakes keeps you coming back to watch the next episode. Another thing that makes this show different to the other spy series is the Rimbaldi storyline - historic prophecies and predictions are entwined with sydney's missions making her work more interesting and important. I would pick alias over James Bond any day!
Everyone has a "favourite" show. Yours might be a CSI one (Ew...that hurt me to even type "CSI", I hate that show that much....no offence to you mass amount of CSI fans out erhe) , or a Soap Opera like Coronation Street, or a fun guy show like "Top Gear", or a game show like Deal or no Deal (seriously though, how can a GAME show be your favourite show???).
No matter what your Television cup of tea is, a major percentage of you do love espionage, adventure, drama, romance, and action. Especially if they are all wrapped up in one neat little package. "ALIAS", is that package.
I started watching this show about 7 yrs ago when the 2nd season had started. It was on a whim one night while I sick at home flicking through channels mindlessly. I still remember the episode I first watched, which is odd since I hardly ever remember stuff like that. When something immediately engages and grabs you, that's a good sign.
After that first episode, I was hooked. I couldn't wait to watch the next. When I talked to my co-workers about it the following day I said, " Ok there's this new show I just watched last night that was FANSTATIC called Alias..", several of them responded in kind saying they also loved the show. 20 minutes of "Alias" talking later, we started up an "Alias Night".
***** ALIAS Night*****
"Alias Night" is where all of us would take turns going to a persons house to watch the show. We kept it up that entire 2nd seaons and into the 3rd season. We ALL looked forward to those nights. Everyone would cook something and bring it over, we'd have a few glasses of wine (or beer for the guys), we'd chat through the commericals about what's happening in the show and our thoughts, and then the next day at work, we'd talk about what the next show would be like.
Yes, we were pretty obsessed.
Other people at work would overhear our "Alias" group talking and wonder what our deal was. We'd just tell them "Watch the show". Usually, they would come back to us after taking our advice, and end up brainwashed by the show as well. It was like a narcotic. Alias was our cocaine and we couldn't get enough. All of us bought the TV seasons on DVD as soon as they came out. We would have Alias Marathons where several of us would get together and watch an entire season back to back to back.
Now if that's not dedication, I don't know what is.
Fast foward to the present time and my friends and I STILL watch and love this show, even though the last season aired a few yrs ago now. I'm not sure how many times i've watched the seasons in total, but i'm almost positive that i've watched every episode at least 5 or 6 times. Some of my fave episodes i've even watched 10 times or more.
So, i'm thinking you are fully aware now of my affliction. That i'm a diehard Alias Junkie. Since, i'm fully qualified to take you on a tour of the show, sit back in your seats and enjoy the action-packed, drama filling, spy chilling, romance thrilling ...ride.
*****In the Beginning, God Created Alias*****
God might not have been an active participant in creating Alias, but I bet you anything he watched it. I would imagine that he also has a lot of love for the show's creator, J.J. Abrams.
J.J. Abrams is on the fast track in Hollywood right now. He's created several hugely popular shows, and Alias was one of his pet projects that he has said was his "favourite to produce" . Here's a list of several films and TV shows that Abrams has either written, directed, created, or produced;
Written by Abrams:
Regarding Henry - 1991 (You know this movie, it was with Harrison Ford and Annette Benning).
Forever Young - 1992 ( Yes, the one with Mel Gibson that every girl swoons over)
Armageddon - 1998 ( Bruce Willis might have been a crap actor in it, but the movie was hugely popular at the time).
A few Episodes of Lost, Alias, and Felicity, and the Office then;
Mission Impossible III - 2006
AND .....the new Star Trek Movie out this year!
Regarding Henry and Forever Young
Felicity ( 84 Episodes): 1998 - 2002
ALIAS (yay!)..... (105 Episodes): 2001 - 2006
What about Brian (26 Episodes) 2006 - 2007 [ This is a VERY underrated show by the way. I was sooooo upset that it was cancelled after a season!]
Cloverfield 2008: ( This is the movie that came out that did the shakey camera Blair Witch thing. I still have yet to see it , but I'm not sure if I will. It's one of the few projects Abrams has done, that I think he'll regret doing in the future.)
LOST (84 Episodes...so far) 2004 - 2009: Everyone knows this show and has at least seen one or two episodes. It's a fantastic storyline while being extremely original.
Soooooo folks....I think you know by now that the creator of Alias is somewhat trustworthy. Sure he's done a few silly things , like his newest show "Fringe" , that I believe was cancelled this year already after about 15 episodes. It was badly cast with actors. He's usually excellent with his casting choices, but this time , he failed. Then of course he DID do Cloverfield which, i'm not sure how to take that one. I know several people enjoyed it and several more people didn't. Regardless, his achievements outweigh his disapointments.
Alias began in 2001 with little known actress Jennifer Garner, whom is now, a household name. Before Alias she only had bit parts in various TV shows and movies. As soon as this show started though, instantly people were talking around the water coolers saying " Who IS this actress! She's amazing!"
Garner is currently one of my fave actresses simply BECAUSE of this show. Her movies have only been so-so. (13 going on 30 was GREAT, and she was good in Juno ......Catch and Release was "ok"....but Daredevil and Elektra? come ON Jennifer!) I think Alias fit her perfectly. It allowed her to showcase her dramatic talents with the various romantic and action angles. She also can wear any color or style of hair imaginable! Most people cant' get away with that. And, for the record, I would give one of my kidneys away to have her body. She's not your average stick insect actress, or a "too overly toned" either. She's very fit, but with curves, which is pretty much every guys dream.
The rest of the actors and actresses through the series are priceless.
Victor Garber: A notoriously good broadway actor (who's openly gay...sorry ladies) plays Sydney's (The name of Jennifer Garner's Character) dad on the show.
Micheal Vartan: An actor who has been in movies like Never Been Kissed, Mother-in-Law, and One Hour Photo.....who is....can I say...GORGEOUS! Seriously...he's in my top 10 of hottest men i've ever seen in my life. He plays Sydney's on again off again love interest.
Bradley Cooper: He's one of those actors that are starting to make it big in the new Hollywood. He's been in movies recently like Wedding Crashers (The annoying hot guy who kept beating Vince Vaughn up during football), The YES man (new one with Jim Carrey), "He's Just Not That Into You" (new Rom com that's out right now), The Rocker, Failure to Launch, New York , I love you, The Midnight Meat Train and various special spots on other TV shows like Nip Tuck. This guy gets around. He's also one of my FAVE characters on the show who plays Sydney's best friend.
The other character's are lesser known actors, but they are all fantastic! The show has also had several famous cameo appearances by actors like Quentin Tarrentino, Isabella Rossilini, Vivica Fox, Angela Bassett, Faye Dunaway, David Carradine, and Christian Slater.
***** Alias - Season 1 thru 5*****
I refuse to give any major plots away. I will take you though into the background a little of the popular characters.....
Jennifer Garner plays Sydney Bristow. She starts off as a girl in college that was approached by someone to be a "spy" for the Government. Sounds far-fetched, but there's a reason for the madness. Sydney's Father , Jack Bristow ( Victor Garber ), is ALSO working for the government. Although, there is a twist to WHO they are working for. They are actually double agents. They are working for a group "claiming" to be a special ops CIA affliate, when in reality, they're a terrorist organization called "SD-6". They are ALSO working for the CIA as moles inside of SD-6.
The head of SD-6 is a man named Arvin Sloan (played by Ron Rifkin). Arvin and Jack Bristow have been best friends for many years, yet Arvin has betrayed his country, and Jack has to "pretend" they are still "best friends". In reality of course, Jack is disgusted with Arvin for being a traitor, but has to play along like he is one as well. Arvin was also the man who "recruited" Sydney as well. Another reason Jack wants to bring him and SD-6 down.
When Sydney found out that SD-6 was a front, and really wasn't affiliated with the American Govt. She WENT to the CIA. This is where they recruited her, to be the double agent. Telling her that in actuality, JACK her father is ALSO a double agent. Confused yet? Haha,....thankfully the shows creator Abrams, has explained it much better in the episodes.
Throughout the show you learn about the complex relationship of Sydney, Her Father, and Arvin Sloan. You also are introduced later on, to two other Female Characters (can't give those away) who are "related" to her. While working for the CIA she has a handler named Micheal Vaughn (Micheal Vartan). They begin a close relationship where he's her anchor during the madness of her missions and the emotional rollarcoasters she has to endure being a double agent. You see early on the chemistry they have together and you just KNOW, that a romance between the two of them is inevitable.
On Sydney's "off days".....the days where she's not going all over the world wearing wigs and tight clothes, speaking different languages, getting precious artifacts, stopping murders, rescuing people, and just general spy stuff......you see her "at home". When she's just "herself", you meet her friends Francie, and Will (Bradley Cooper). They are a close group of friends that add a certain amount of stability to the show.
Remember, a lot of this show is full of action, mayhem, double crossing, villians, good guys, almost good guys, almost bad guys, ancient artifacts, and all types of crazy stuff. It's good to have some grounding influences in her friends. In a way this show is half Mission Impossible half "TV Drama". The combination of the two though, make for some exciting edge of your seat television.
As you go through the various seasons you see Sydney's different relationships with agents at the CIA , but there are always a close knit group of people that stay in her life. It's those people and relationships that really made me want to watch each week. My friends and I would always ask questions like....." Do you think Sloan is a good guy that makes bad decisions?" or, " Is Sydney and Vaughn going to end up together for good?" or, " Is this Milo Rimbaldi Character still alive?"
***** Who is Milo Rimbaldi?*****
J.J Abrams with his incredible imagination made him up. He's what you would call, a cross between a Nostradamus and a Da Vinci. The entire series is unequivically wrapped around the meaning of Rimbaldi's inventions and his "end game".
Rimbaldi is a 15th Century "Inventor, Philosopher, Soothsayer, etc". Throughout his life, he had gathered many "followers". Those obediant to him, helped create many of his inventions. All of which, usually dealt with some type of doomsday prophecies and the people in those prophecies. As fate would have it.....Sydney is actually IN one of those prophecies, so are a few of her family members.
I will say one bad thing about this Rimbaldi storyline.....it can get tedious at times. About every other episode you find out some new "Artifact" that's found from the clues of the LAST artifact that was found. Rimbaldi has left hundreds of clues around the world and he's left his future followers on what seems, a wild goose chase. Several of these inventions though are pretty wild. Most are hard to describe or explain without giving away major plots in the series. You are left wondering all the time " Was he a good guy or a bad guy?" As a slight spoiler here......I still don't have the answer to that.
***** Ok you read all that....now WATCH THE SHOW!*****
I think I could sit here and talk about Alias all day long. The plots, the subplots, the characters, the relationships, the music (which I forgot to mention , the music that is included in the backgrounds of the series is terrific in my opinion), the acting, the ....education? It's funny but you do learn some things about the interworkings of the a government agency like the CIA. How Interpol works for instance, or Echelon (the Satillite surveillance system).
The gadgets this show has , would make even James Bond want to switch sides and work for the CIA (hahah I'm sure some of you find that slightly sacreligious maybe??).....What's even greater about the gadgets is that 99% of them are completely believable.
One of the funniest characters on the show, a Tech Ops guy named Marshall, is in charge of "creating" these "spy tools". He usually incorporates them into very mundane type objects. Like a tie, or a lipstick, glasses, or an earing. There not everyday spy gadgets either. Usually they're full on microchips that allow you to up/download 1 Terrabyte of data, or can videotape and record conversations while also scanning an X-ray of the person to see what they are carrying (weapons, money, documents etc..). Each time they incorporate a new gadget I'm always impressed of what they've "thought up" and wonder if the CIA really HAVE gadgets like these.
I'm positive that you'll at least be "intriqued" by this show. The only people ( a total of TWO people so far), i've run into that haven't gone out and bought the DVD or spent the entire night watching an entire season, at least did say" I would watch it again, it was interesting"......Of course, when they said that I was aghast and asked them what their problem was since it's 10 times more stuff than just INTERESTING.
Go out.....rent season one. Or ask several friends close to you if maybe they have season one. However you get it, watch the first episode, and then come back and tell me what you thought. I'd be very interested to know how many of you end up hooked on it like the rest of us Alias Diehards are.
I love Alias! When I found the complete series all in one boxset I was made up! It provided me with hours of entertainment and still shocked me even though it was the second time I'd watched them. The series follows Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) who is a college student but also a double agent working for the CIA and also a black ops division of the CIA. It features Sydney having to do secret missions for both sides of the CIA, recovering information or artifacts. The action sequences are brilliant and believable and the acting is great too. You learn to love the characters and there are so many different emotions throughtout the series you can't help but fall in love with it. Me and my mum watched and episode a night for months, and we don't usually like this sort of thing (CIA agent, fighting scenes etc.) but we were pleasantly surprised and we can't wait to re watch it all
This show is AWESOME!! I have watched every episode TWICE and can tell you I will watch it again in a few years once I have forgotten most of what has happend. Jennifer Garner is phenomonal in this show.
Jennifer Garner stars in this show as Sydney Bristow, a very bright college student, who was recruited into a supposed black ops division of the CIA called SD-6. It actually turns out that she is working for the enemy, the very people she thought that she was fighting against. Once Sydney realizes she has been lied to and has actually been helping the enemy carry out their plans she goes to the real CIA and signs up to be a double agent to work towards bringing down SD-6.
So Sydney becomes an an agent of the CIA who has to pretend that she is still working for SD-6 as if nothing has changed. She meets her handler of the CIA, Michael Vaughn who is absolutely dreamy! once she receives her SD-6 missions to receive her CIA counter missions.
This show is so GREAT. It is extremely entertaining and exciting. Once you watch one episode you will not be able to stop. Jennifer Garner is actually a black belt in real life which make her fight scenes SO realistic and all the more exciting.
This is one of my favorite shows and I HIGHLY recommend it.
Created by the wonderful J.J Abrams (the creator of Lost), Alias is an American spy-fi television series. It followed the pretty much unknown Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow as she dealt with being a CIA agent. It almost immediately shot her to stardom.
Sydney Bristow seems like your normal 20 something, however her life is a lot more complicated than just being a English grad student. Sydney is actually a spy for a cell called SD-6, but later finds out that it's not a cell of the CIA but she is working for the very people she's been trying to take down. She becomes a secret agent for the CIA to take down SD-6.
Jennifer Garner plays the double agent Sydney Bristow. She and her father have got a very estranged relationship as his job takes him out of the country for weeks at a time since her mother died. She is shocked to find out that he is also a double agent, and works alongside him to bring down SD-6. She has a on/off relationship with her handler Michael Vaughn.
Michael Vartan plays CIA agent Michael Vaughn. He becomes Sydney's handler as a double agent and they eventually fall for each other. Very well cast as he and Jennifer Garner have tremendous chemistry and plus he's not too bad to look at.
Victor Garber plays Jack Bristow, Sydney's estranged father. The both of them being double agents brings them together as father and daughter. This man is one of the famous actors brought into the show, perfect casting.
Ron Rifkin plays Arvin Sloane, the leader of SD-6 and Jack's oldest friend. He's pure evil and only thinks of himself.
Carl Lumbly plays Marcus Dixon, Sydney's partner at SD-6, he's the one that helps Sydney & Jack bring down SD-6.
Kevin Weisman plays Marshall Flinkman. He designs all of the gadgets that Sydney uses in the field at SD-6.
Mia Mestro plays Nadia Santos, Sydney's half sister and Sloane & Irina's daughter.
Lena Olin plays Irina Derevko, Sydney's mother who was sent to marry Jack back in the Cold War for information on the CIA.
The show also features two of Heroes best cast members, which is why I was so amazed to find out J.J Abrams had nothing to do with Heroes.
Greg Grunberg plays Eric Weiss, the CIA agent whose also Vaughn's best friend. When Vaughn marries he becomes a confidant for Sydney and falls in love with her sister.
David Anders plays Julian Sark, Irina's lackey who has a thing for Sydney.
Brilliant. Season 1 wasn't as good as season 2, but it still brought action to this wonderful show. Throughout the season you follow Sydney as she tries to deal with her double life as a normal student and one of the best spies in the world.
The introduction of Michael Vaughn was very nice to. There's no mistaking the chemistry between him and Sydney and this is explorerd very well in the show. Each episode has amazing storylines as she get's closer and closer to take down SD-6 and also finds out more about her parents past and that her mother wasn't who she thought she was.
This was the last season of the show, to show the same quality that you would expect from a show like this. Some of the best action packed episodes are in season 2 and the season finale is bloody fantastic. Lena Olin comes in to the show to play Sydney's long lost mother and is just fantastic.
After the season finale in season 2, I thought that the show would pick up in season 3 and blow us all away again; however that was not the case. Sydney comes back to her life to find her love is now married and everything in her life has changed. The show brought in Melissa George to play the love interest for Michael, and it really didn't work. Awful acting, the scripts didn't work as well and it just drew on for too long.
However I stuck with it in the fourth season and thought it was pretty good. Nothing like the quality of season 1 & 2 but still is was intriguing and the cliff hanger of that season was brilliant. The introduction of Sydney's half sister played by Mia Mestro is just perfect. The actress just looks like Sydney & their mother Irina. I thought the casting for this was fantastic.
Season 5 came around and after the cliff-hanger I was expecting brilliance and wasn't disappointed. The first half of the season was brilliant, as Jennifer Garner's pregnancy was written into the show, however it went down hill. The ending was awful, I think J.J Abrams and the writers went through all of the characters, put them into a hat and just said, I'm gonna kill this one and this one, and this one. It should have ended differently.
Is it any good?
I think the show is let down deeply with season 3 and the second half of season 5 due to the fact that was the last season and it should have been one to remember. I could go back and watch season 1 & 2 episodes over and over, but would never wanna watch the finale again.
However, if you do get a chance to watch the show from the start I would recommend it. You don't really need to watch season 3, you could pretty much pick up most of the details from the net or even season 4.
It could have been one of the best shows on TV but was let down by bad writing and bad decisions. The show pretty much hired unknowns as leads, but the show has catapulted them to stardom, especially the lead Jennifer Garner.
For me Alias is one of the most innovative, breathtaking, exciting and shocking pieces of television programming in history, it effortlessly mixes nail biting tension, with exhilaration action scenes and devastating emotional blows, for five years now it has kept me hooked, kept me guessing and kept me caring . With impeccable acting from the hugely talented cast, well formed teleplays that are overflowing with intrigue and intelligence, excellent and exhaustingly well choreographed fight sequences and glossy production values it remains one of my favourite shows. (In this review I try to leave as many spoilers out as possible, but on a show that realise heavily on twists and turns it is nigh on impossible to leave out every last trace. There shouldnt be anything here that would spoil your enjoyment though)
"My name is Sydney Bristow. Seven years ago I was recruited by a secret branch of the CIA called SD-6. I was sworn to secrecy, but I couldnt keep it from my fiancé. And when the head of SD-6 found out, he had him killed. Thats when I learned the truth: SD-6 is not part of the CIA; Ive been working for the very people I thought I was fighting against. So, I went to the only place that could help me take them down. Now Im a double agent for the CIA, where my handler is a man named Michael Vaughn. Only one other person knows the truth about what I do - another double agent inside SD-6. Someone I hardly know, my father." The introduction to each episode.
Sydney Bristow beautiful, intelligent, deadly is part of a secret branch of the CIA labelled SD 6, it is her job to hop around the world gathering essential pieces of intelligence that are vital to advancing the knowledge and skills that the American Government posses. Outside of work, her life is going as she always imagined, she is slowly working through a degree, is on a very reasonable salary and has just accepted a proposal from her English, doctor boyfriend. When signing up to join the secret organisation she swore not to tell anyone about her secret identity, but feeling that she has to be truly honest with her future husband, she explains the intricacies of her dangerous occupation. Fortunately he takes it well and she leaves on a private jet to the next exotic location feeling like a weight has been lifted from her shoulders, however when she comes back mission complete she finds her fiancées bloodied corpse in the bath, as you can imagine she is distressed and angry, but nothing could protect her from what she is about to discover next
Sydney is hurtled into a deadly world of pain and deceit as she finds out that her whole adult life has been a lie, she has not been working for the CIA, rather a terrorism unit out to bring the government down and the death of her lover was squarely down to the cold calculated boss Arvin Sloane. After vowing to kill him, she searches for the truth which leads her to the mysterious, deceitful Jack, her father. Sydney learns that her parent has been working as a double agent for the real CIA and has been commissioned to infiltrate SD 6, her whole life has been turned upside down and now she is on a mission of revenge and retribution, refusing to stop until her bloody closure is sealed. Deciding to follow in her dads footsteps Sydney joins the CIA and burrows herself back into SD 6, taking out as much information as possible. With her new alliances comes Michael Vaughn, an intelligent, headstrong agent who becomes Sydneys Handler and guides her through a tangled web thick with mystery and intrigue, as time passes their relationship becomes slowly more intimate and intense. Can Sydney keep up this double identity? Can she ever trust anyone again? Will she ever be able to get over the grief of loosing her fiancée? And will she survive long enough of get the retribution that she so deserves?
One of the main shocks in the Alias universe has to be the astonishing Jennifer Garner who is without a doubt (in my opinion) the best action heroine of all time. Sexy, intelligent, athletic and hugely talented she perfectly embodies the scorned agent with poise and raw emotion, effortlessly hooking the audience into her world and grabbing them with a vice like grip. Garner posses an intensity that makes the character of Sydney Bristow utterly believable and she acts with a breathtaking confidence and engaging finesse while subtly getting under your skin, on many occasions her sheer talent and dedication to the show has been enough to make me giddy with excitement (and that isnt when shes in her many rather lovely espionage outfits!). So far for her amazing performance of the show Garner has won a golden globe (and been nominated for four more!) has been nominated for four Emmys and has won a Saturn award as well as gathering unprecedented amount of critic praise from all walks of life. As the show has progressed Garner has had to take her character to some very dark places and truly excels when she is needed to portray gut wrenching emotion without becoming whiney or melodramatic. As well as having a vast scope of acting ability, she is also physically extremely well suited to the role and according to the season one DVD extras she does the majority of her stunts, she looks scarily convincing when throwing herself off buildings and is breathtaking when taking part in hand to hand combat. Fierce, devastating, subtle and emotive, Garner shows just how bright a star she truly is.
Alias thrives because of its intelligence and amazing ability to offer almost dangerous amounts of tension with constant twists and sweeping story/character development, its a highly polished, super shocking drama thriller with slick Hollywood production values and shining examples of great teleplays. Alias has a great sense of continuity and fluidity with stops the dreadful episodic felt that many shows have, each episode follows onto the next by using (occasionally infuriating) cliff-hangers, that while annoy do keep the story arc going and defiantly keeps you interested. Each teleplay builds on the characters and contributes to the atmosphere and feel of the show, every episode digging a little deeper under the surface to retrieve more information that sends the whole Alias universe into a tailspin and leaves you paralyzed with anticipation for the following show. As each season progresses the story arcs become more ambitious, yet evermore grounded as relationships deepen, stakes get higher and tempers rise. Action hounds couldnt possibly be disappointed with any episode of Alias as the script writers fling the whole cast of characters into millions of outrageous and dangerous situations that require Sydney and co to sky dive, crawl, fight, leap, drive, crash and scratch their way through each mission. Also a lot of running time is spent in exotic locations as the agents hop between countries; it is here that the production designers really come into their own by recreating convincing and evocative replicas of famous landmarks and manage to really capture the essence of the countries.
After the horrific discovery of her fiancées corpse and the realisation that her whole life has been a lie, Sydney is forced to live the dangerous life of the secret agent, slowly trying to bring down SD 6. As the series progresses we learn that Sydneys mother was a Russian spy who betrayed her father and the Unites States, leaving the former with invisible wounds that show no signs of healing. Also our heroine finds it increasingly hard to juggle her social life with her professional; especially as her best friend Will Tipping (a timid journalist) looks further into the mysterious death of her boyfriend. As her relationship with Vaughn, her handle, deepens she is torn between falling in love with him and keeping herself guarded as she has been trained to do and has to try and restore her relationship with her father. Also it is here that we first learn about Rambaldis ancient prophecies one of which has predicted the end of the world with a new rise in extreme power; Sloane seems to be desperate to gather as much information on him as possible, which suggests that he may just be the power that the ancient scientist mentioned. Sydney also has to piece together the mystery of her mothers death. All this whilst having to fly around the world, fighting some of the worlds most deadly assassins and planning bloody vengeance on the man who killed her man . Its gonna be a long year!
This is where it all started, with a pilot that hooks with a frenetic pace, devastating premise and stunning dialogue and a stomping cliff-hanger final that threatens the whole Alias universe the first season is beautiful, dark, suspenseful and exciting. I have always found the first season of a new show to be the least satisfying (Buffy, 24, Dark Angel, X Files) as it takes a while to become invested in the characters and intriguiged by the growing story arc, but with Alias I was addicted from the first minute, fascinated by the shows amazing use of time structure and fell instantly in love with Garner who has to test her acting chops right away. Even though the show was a newcomer it managed to gather a real narrative voice and hurtled through the 22 episodes with effortless style and grace (much like its leading lady) and set up the second season for some real explosions.
Season One DVD Special Features
Four audio Commentarys including one with Jennifer Garner
Alias Pilot Diary
6 deleted scenes
5 TV spots
Alias Season 2 Sneak Peek
Price: £44.99 ASIN: B0000AVB6Y (Amazon.co.uk)
After the breathtaking cliff hanger that left us wanting more at the end of the first season, series 2 is left with more than a few questions to answer. What happened to Vaughn? How does Sydneys Mother come into the story? Why has her father and friends been lying to her for so long? Is Will getting to close to the truth? Will Rambaldis theories come to fruition? All these are answered only to implant new questions into the viewers mind, truly addictive television. After arresting her mother and locking her into a CIA security guarded jail, she is face with making the decision of her life, will she trust her mother? Even though al the evidence proves that shes more sinister than letting on. Jack consumed by fear and an overwhelming love has to protect his daughter from being hurt by Irene the way he was, what ever the cost and one of Rambaldis prophecies comes hurtling into the familys life, threatening to devour them all. Sydney and Vaughn settle into a life together, even though there are secrets that both are keeping, and one of her best friends proves to be much more entwined with an emerging terrorist gang than anyone could ever expect. All the sub plots and story arcs collide in spectacular fashion as the season final hits like a sledgehammer, posing the possible end for the show .
Season two is often thought off as the series most glorious instalment, all the elements just seemed to work, with the introduction of Lena Olin as Irene Sydneys deadly mother offering innumerable avenues for the writers to explore, the character of Sydney becoming even more three dimensional and new agendas becoming apparent, it was hip, thrilling, sad and joyous. The main reason for Season Twos critical success is undoubtedly the rapport between Garner, Garber (Jack) and Olin who are all perfect in their roles, Garner wounded and strong- Garber menacing and subtle- and Olin intelligent and ruthless- which makes all their scenes together a thrill to watch. There is also a lot of comic relief from Marshall Flinkman the bumbling technician who manages to raise a laugh whenever on screen and Sloane is more devastating evil and menacing than ever. The scripts just keep increasing in quality with beautifully realised situations and sparkling dialogue and the production values are amped up to the max. Action junkies will marvel at the sheer scale of many of the action sequences and romantics will no doubt swoon at the intricate relationship between Sydney and Vaughn that reaches a surprisingly emotional crescendo. Romance/Thriller/Horror/Drama/Comedy Alias cant be put into a box and never will be. The season gathers a path that its quite unlike any other show on television and the last episode is a real tear jerker/shocker, frantic television at its very, very best.
Season DVD Special Features:
Making The Season Final The Telling
Season 2 Gag Reel
The Making Of Alias
The Making Of The X-Box Game
7 Deleted Scenes With Commentaries
Radio Interviews With The Cast
DVDROM Scripts for the second season
Price: £30.97 ASIN: B0001XLYAQ
Season Three starts with a mystery, after the shocking events of last years final Sydney wakes up in a dingy hotel room, cold, tired and with one hell of a headache. As she turns around she sees her flame Michael Vaughn standing in the doorway with a strange look of dread, love and surprise, as she questions him frantically about their whereabouts she is informed that she is in a CIA safe house after going missing for three years. Sydney has no recollection of that time period, has no idea what she can believe and finds out that the only person she can trust, her father has been locked in a prison cell for months. Things are made even worse when Sydney is seen (through the use of a CCTV camera) killing a diplomat in cold blood, sending a whole nation into despair, quickly she has to find out what happened to her in the missing three years, why she has ominous scar on her stomach and figure out a way to release her father from the strong grasps of the law. Sloane has now apparently found redemption through the teachings of Rambaldi and has started a world wide charity, also to put a fly in the ointment, Vaughn has got married to a young blonde member of the CIA who yields the secrets to a devastating past and has sinister interests
Season three of Alias is the most volatile of them all and that means that it soars higher than any other as well as falling at a few metaphorical hurdles. It as at times ridiculously focused and at others left floundering a bit with a central story arc that fails to grip in the same way that the previous twos did. I did however enjoy the main mystery (What happened to Sydney over the three year period that she was kidnapped) that ran well into the half way point of the show and showed real suspense and was executed amazingly, with new twists and information coming in every episode. This season also took the show into some very dark places, which gave it a definite edge and bite and the whole cast show intelligence and talent. However the discovery of Vaughns wife and her false identity feels cheap and predictable with little of the style that one comes to expect from the show. Occasionally some of the plot twists fail to convince completely as they become more outlandish and outrageous, yet still there are some killer stings throughout the year, each script has a voice and engaging wit, and hay! Alias at its very worst is better than pretty much every other show at its finest.
Season DVD Special Features:
Alias Script Scanner
The Museum of Television and Radio: Creating Characters
Animated Alias: Tribunal
Alias Up Close
Burbank To Barcelona
Price: £29.97 ASIN: B00094OQZM
APO a black ops organisation trained to do all the things CIA couldnt without their cover being blown, all the elements are there, a strong, dignified boss an intelligent, super talented/sexy female spy and some men in black suits who seem to run about a lot with pads of paper. Sloane and Bristow are back, still not on good terms after her destroyed her fiancée and threatened her life but they realise that their alliance could be beneficial to both parties. Bristow and Vaughn have started a relationship again, but there is tension after she saw him go to such a dark place after the devastating events of last years. With Rambaldis theories once again popping up to threaten the lives of everyone around and Nadia (Sydneys sister) offering some help, it is a season of hate love and redemption.
Now this is back on track! Sexy, witty, intelligent and engaging Alias season four gets the show back on track with a main story arc to rival any other and some truly ingenious twists in the tale. With the emergence of the new Black Ops organisation the season has eerie and very effective parallels to season one that gives the whole thing a very rounded feel. This section of the shows history is about redemption, making your way I the world, fighting for vengeance and searching for truth in a world marred by lies and I found it one of the most telling and endlessly compelling pieces of television since Buffy finished. Vaughn who made the largest transformation in season three has to face up to the consequences of his actions which offers a tangible fear and love between him and Sydney which is almost pat wettingly tense and exciting. Long silences, stolen glances and aggressive sex scenes make their relationship both resonant and deeply confused which is how it should be, if they live in a world where nothing is as it seems, why should their love lives be simple? Season four also contained some really intense and exciting stand alone episodes: Welcome to Liberty Village sees Sydney and Vaughn entering a Stepford Wives like community of Russian assassins which makes them evaluate there temperamental relationship and makes for a really nice mix of action and hilarity that made me laugh throughout. Nocturne sees Sydneys deepest fears manifest as she slips deeper and deeper into a drug induced commer; a deadly disease spreads throughout the CIA population and managed to attack Sydney which makes her mental health spiral as she becomes paranoid that someone is watching her, could she be right though? This is plays as an insightful, extremely scary character study, it examines the toll being a spy takes on someone and explains some mysteries that have been hanging around way too long. Finally the seasons final Before the flood sees a population of disease ridden inhabitant attacking the team of rouge agents as they struggle to find the truth to an ancient mystery, as a zombie horror it is exciting, intense, gory and fairly horrific, as a cliff hanger it is devastating and truly emotive and as a relationship drama it is an intelligent and engaging, with a head splitting, scream worthy, earth shattering finale. Alias at its most tense.
DVD Special Features
Nocturne Extended Episode
One To One Interview With Garner
Meet Mia Featurette
Special Feature On Guest Stars
Price: £34.99 ASIN: B000B8W0EK
Alias is the most imaginative, absorbing, compelling and dark world invented for the televisison. Watch It. Go On. Why Are You Still Reading?. Go. Watch.
I just recently purchased Season two of Alias on DVD but decided on doing a review of the season one box set as I have not watched the season two DVD's as of yet. I actually have never seen any of the season two episodes except for episode 1 and 2 because ON/ITV Digital was switch off at the time when the season started. It was all down to the division three football clubs who wanted more money from ITV. Although it is said that ITV were not paying them the right amount first off. - Alias: About the show - Sorry did I go off subject. Okay back to Alias. Alias was created by JJ Abrams who also created the show 'Felicity' starring Keri Russell and also co-wrote 'Armageddon' and 'Roadkill' aka 'Joyride'. He came up with the idea for the show and finally got the chance to make it after 'Felicity' finished it's four season run, so he cast former Felicity guest star Jennifer Garner as the lead character 'Sydney Bristow'. The show has been going for three seasons now and been given the green light for a fourth due to continuous good ratings. The third season is currently airing on the 'Bravo' channel if you want to catch up on the latest episodes. The main star Jennifer Garner, after winning her Golden Globe award for her work on the show, has also done well for herself on the big screen, starring in 'Daredevil' with Ben Affleck and her sleeper hit '13 going on 30' (yet to be released in the UK). She will also star in a spin-off from 'Daredevil' called 'Elektra' co-starring 'Goran Visjnic' (Kovac from E.R). The rest of the cast have also done various other projects while still on 'Alias'. The show follows grad student Sydney Bristow as she leads two lives, one as a secret agent for the CIA and the other as a normal everyday woman who works at the Credit Dauphine bank. But everything changes when her fiancée, who has just proposed to he
r, is killed by SD-6 because Sydney told him who she really was. Sydney later finds out that SD-6 is not really run by the CIA and seeks revenge on them, and their boss Arvin Sloane for killing her fiancée Danny. Sydney then goes to the real CIA and becomes a double-agent. This way she can bring down SD-6. Season one of Alias was fantastic all the way through from start to finish, with an excellent extra long (Just over an hour) season opener to its amazing cliffhanger ending. Over the course of the season we are taken to many parts of the world as Sydney fulfils her duties to the CIA (and SD-6) as well as keeping us, the audience, intrigued with the other story in LA with her reporter friend Will Tippin who is trying to find out why Danny was murdered.Will Tippin follows many clues and hunches which lead to him getting in too deep. Also in this season, as most of you know 'Quentin Tarrantino' guested starred in two episodes, 'The Box' part one and part two. I thought his performances in both episodes were excellent and his character was a joy to watch. If you don't already know, his character will be back in season three. Many people thought he wouldn't come back but he did so I'm looking forward to seeing him again later on. All the main characters put in very good performances all round and really make their characters believable. There's also great chemistry between the characters too, epecially the tension between Sydney and Sloane. She knows that he's the one who killed her fiancée, but there's nothing she can do about it until she brings down SD-6. Victor Garber is also very believable as Sydney's dad whom she has not seen in years. To me he portrays a very, probably the most, interesting character on the show because he changes a lot over the course of the season, as new things about him and what he knows about SD-6, Sydney and Sydney's mother crop up. Special mention has to go to the writers though fo
r making so many great twists and turns that kept everyone glued to the screen. There were so many good epsiodes that it's hard to pick one favourite, so if your new to this show then I would say that it's worth a look. For those who haven't yet seen 'Alias' or missed the first season then here's a taster of the first couple of episodes from the first season. - Season One Intro - "My name is Sydney Bristow. Seven years ago I was recruited by a secret branch of the CIA called SD-6. I was sworn to secrecy, but I couldn?t keep it from my fiancé. And when the head of SD-6 found out, he had him killed. That?s when I learned the truth: SD-6 is not part of the CIA; I?ve been working for the very people I thought I was fighting against. So, I went to the only place that could help me take them down. Now I?m a double agent for the CIA, where my handler is a man named Michael Vaughn. Only one other person knows the truth about what I do - another double agent inside SD-6. Someone I hardly know, my father." - First couple of episodes - 1. Truth Be Told" (Pilot) Sydney Bristow is a grad student who's also an SD-6 agent (part of the CIA). She was recruited in freshmen year when she was just a normal girl who jumped at the chance to make her life more exciting and challenging. When Sydney goes beyond the book by revealing her true identity to her boyfriend, who has just proposed to her, her world is turned upside down and she is in a fight for survival. Sydney also finds out that her father, whom she rarely sees is also, like her, an SD-6 agent. After finding out the true nature of the so called SD-6 she seeks help from the real CIA. After passing various tests, Operations officer Vaughn recruits her as a double-agent for the CIA. Her mission, to complete all tasks set by SD-6 and to report back to the real CIA with any important information in which the CIA can use against SD-6 to bring them
down. 2. So It Begins In this episode Sydney is just getting use to her role as a double-agent for the CIA. She reports back at Langley and briefs Vaughn in on her last mission. Sydney also explains more about SD-6 and reveals that she will do anything to bring them down. Vaughn explains to Syd that SD-6 are no small matter and that she should be extremely careful. Also in this episode Will Tippin, Sydney's friend (who is also a reporter), becomes more suspicious about Danny's murder and asks Sydney what he could have been involved in that would get him killed. Will, later on, does some more investigations and finds out that Danny had booked a flight from L.A. to Singapore the night he died. Later that day Sydney goes back to SD-6 after going to the CIA to start her new missions as a double-agent. SD-6 boss Arvin Sloane tells Sydney to leave for Moscow to intercept a sale of stolen files. 3. Parity Sydney is in one of her toughest moments...she has a plutonium core in her hand and Hassan has just caught her with it. Using the plutonium core as an advantage she knocks him out and does a runner. Sydney escapes, only after dodging a load of soldiers bullets. When she returns back to SD-6, her and her partner Dixon are sent to Madrid by Sloane to steal a lockbox. Inside the lockbox there is a sketch of a digital code, but there needs to be two to see the full code so SD-6 must somehow obtain the second one. Sydney is also told by Vaughn that he has been taken off her case and that a more senior officer will take over. When Sydney arrives in Madrid she attends a show at the auto Museo where it is believed that the lockbox is hidden. Dixon assists Sydney by monitoring from outside in the van. At the show Sydney sees that Anna Espinosa is there and has the lockbox, Sydney follows her and retrieves the lockbox after a long fight with her. After an evening out together Sydney and Will get drunk and kiss later
on in the evening, but, it becomes discomforting for them. Marshall can't open the lockbox which Sydney retrieved and if he forces it open he will destroy the sketch because of a piece of technology inside. They know that Anna has the key so Sloane arranges a deal with K-Directorate for Anna and Sydney to both view the sketch. K-Directorate have no idea that there are two sketches overall. 4. A Broken Heart Continuing on from the exchange, Sydney and her enemy Anna Espinosa must remember a 500 year old code before it is destroyed. Sydney is uncertain whether she should give the correct sequence of codes to SD-6 or not, but she is reminded by Vaughn that her role as a double-agent is under threat. The code turns out to be co-ordinates for a location of a church in Malaga, Spain. When Sydney gets there she is confronted by Anna, this time they fight and Sydney comes out the winner after obtaining a gold circular crystal from a church window. 5. Doppelganger Sao Paulo. After witnessing a Paramedic team implant a bomb into UCO speaker Patel's pacemaker Sydney contacts Dixon. They meet up in an ambulance that Dixon has Stolen and Sydney takes the wheel. Dixon has also grabbed Patel so that he can begin to try and surgically remove the bomb. Life is made harder for Dixon when Jacqnoud, the man with detonator, is hot on his tail. Just as Jacqound activates the bomb Dixon removes it and throws it underneath his car where it detonates and ends the car chase. Back in Los Angeles Sydney is told by Francie that she is going to throw a party at the apartment. Will learns that Danny was meant to be on a flight to Hong Kong, not Singapore and was meant to be sitting next to a woman named Kate Jones who also didn't make the flight. Later Will tells Francie that he has been looking into Danny's death. Will's investigation leads him to a mystery woman who admits to having an affair with Danny but she runs off when W
ill confronts her with her social security number, that says that Kate Jones died in 1973. 6. Reckoning After witnessing a terrible tragedy in Badenweiler, where four CIA agents got killed in a plant bomb explosion, that was detonated by Dixon, Sydney becomes a bit shaken up. Sydney continues to struggle with the truth about SD-6 and the fact that she cannot reveal the truth to her SD-6 partner Dixon. Agent Vaughn tells Sydney that this is the way it has to be or Dixon and his family's life would be at risk. 7. Colour-blind While Sydney is trying to break Shepard (Guest star John Hannah from 'The Mummy) out of K-Directorate's asylum she uncovers a shocking truth about her fiancée Danny's murder. Also in the episode, Will continues his search for Kate Jones and Charlie gives Francie a thanksgiving she'll never forget. Vaughn contacts Jack to meet at a Chinese restaurant but Bristow is none too thrilled about this break in protocol. In turn, he confronts Vaughn for pulling his CIA file. Vaughn explains that Sydney wanted to see it because she suspects he used to have KGB affiliations. - The DVD: Packaging - Now you've read a bit about the show lets move on to the DVD. I purchased the 6-Disc DVD Box set (Region One version) from cdwow.com for just over £20 some time ago which wasn't a bad price for 22 episodes of a great TV series. The region two version is currently on sale at Amazon for around £20, so get it now why the price is low. The set comes in three seperate DVD cases that each hold two DVD's. The DVD cases feature two images on their front covers, of characters from the show, with the back also with some more images and a list of episodes. Some info on the extras features that are on those discs is also included. The DVD cases are housed in a large DVD Box set case, where you simply just slide your DVD case in/out of to get the DVD you want. The main case features
, on the front cover, four different images of the sexy main character 'Sydney Bristow' (Jennifer Garner) in four different costumes (Very nice, and will boost sales in Japan). The back has some more images, a brief decription of the show, list of special features and the specifiactions. - The DVD: Technical Details - For a TV show I must say that these episodes are presented in fantastic quality with hardly any grain or picture distortion that I could notice. Each episode is presented in 'normal TV' friendly, 1.78:1 Widescreen, that is also enhanced for 16x9 widescreen TV's. It's nice to see more and more TV shows using this format so that we can see the full picture and not just the cropped version. The sound is also very good with a nice Dolby Digital 5.1 Mix. There's also a spanish language track if you're spanish. - The DVD: Extra Features - The DVD set also boasts some great extras. Firstly are the audio commentaries, with two including Jennifer Garner on the Episodes 'Truth be Told' with JJ Abrams and 'Almost thirty Years' with the rest of the cast. The next feature is 'Inside Stunts', a great bonus featurette where we have a look at how the stunts were setup and also have a look at Jennifer Garner performing some. Next up is probably my most favourite, as we go behind the scenes with director/writer 'JJ Abrams' on the Pilot episode 'Truth be Told' in his 'Pilot Production Diary'. There is some great info in this feature and a lot of interesting behind the scenes stuff. To round up the package there are some deleted scenes, a gag reel, a season two preview, Video game sneak peek and a couple of TV Spots. If you have a DVD Rom then pop your disc in and you will be treated to a 'Script Scanner' where I think you can have the script, for a particular episode, on screen while you actually watch the episode. I can't be sure about that tho
ugh as I haven't tried it yet. - Last Word - Just want to say really that this was a great season to watch and is even better on a second viewing. I would also just like to recommend this show to anyone who hasn't seen it yet. This is definitely a worth while TV Show to watch and is high up in my rankings. Plus what more could you want than Jennifer Garner in skin tight costume or for you girls/ladies 'Michael Vartan' in a suit. As I already said above, I've recently bought the second season so I'm looking forward to watching that now so thanks for reading. (Please note this review was also posted on ciao.co.uk if you think I copied it)
I have to say that I no longer find myself watching much UK TV output. That's partly because most if it is completely bland, unoriginal and frankly dated. But mainly it's due to the fact that there is a lot of US imports around that frankly put UK productions to shame. In the past few years I've really enjoyed the likes of CSI, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Shield, Buffy, Angel and Sex and the City. Well another to add to that list is Alias. Haven't heard of it? Well that may be due to the fact that it's gotten a rough ride in the UK so far. Sky were the first people to broadcast it and they treat it as primetime viewing. However Channel 4 grabbed the terrestrial rights and soon showed the first season in a silly 5pm Saturday slot with major cuts to the show. It's now gone over to Five and despite Saturday evening showings it hasn't found it's audience and will soon be a late night showing. That's too bad as it's a really good show. However if you're like me then you'll actually buy the seasons as they get released on DVD. I recently bought the first season from the states for under £25 and that will be likewise with Season 2's imminent release. At least this way you're free to watch in a great presentation and with zero advertisements. Alias could be described as the Buffy of the Spy genre. However that would be a dis-service to the show as it's actually more adult than Buffy and I would say it's more serious in tone and lacking in the pop culture that Buffy offered. The plot sees college student Sidney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) get recruited for a secret government agency named SD-6. During this time you globetrots on top-secret missions. However her secret life troubles her and she tells her fiancée. This ends up with him dead and Sidney distraught as SD-6 has him killed. It's then that she learns that SD-6 is not part of the CIA as she thought and actually an glo
bal network of arms dealers and terrorists. She is recruited by the CIA to work as a double agent and bring down SD-6 from the inside. She has only one ally on the inside of SD-6, a man she hardly knows-her father. Season One sees Sidney coming to terms with loss, discovering secrets about her father and her mother and also juggling battles in foreign countries with the trails and tribulations of her home life. It's all one big bag of excitement, suspense and thrills. The thing that makes Alias great is that every week is generally a thrilling instalment that ends on a cliffhanger. Thankfully I watched it all on DVD so I could easily go on to the next episode without having to wait a week. However without this I'm sure that if you were watching week by week then it would have you in anticipation. The show is very well written and along the way there are some dark storylines. One sees Sidney trapped in an insane asylum with a man who is programmed to kill only he doesn't know it. Another two-parter sees Quentin Tarantino show up as a former agent hell bent on revenge. As the season progresses we see Sidney nearly blow her cover on a number of occasions and you never know whom you can trust. There is always so much going on but never too much that it confuses you. The show also looks great and crosses many countries and locations on the screen. I'm sure most of them are doubled in Los Angeles but they still look believable. Alias also piles on a good number of nifty spy gadgets and then puts them to good use in thrilling action scenes. One barnstormer has an ambulance chase as an agent tries to remove a bomb from inside the chest of a diplomat. Acting wise Jennifer Garner carries the show brilliantly but is also backed up by some great actors. Ron Rifkin is superb as Sloan, the head of SD-6. He's really a bad man but by the end of the show you feel for his predicament. Victor Garber is also excellent as Jack Bri
stow and his character really progresses throughout the season from a cold and lifeless man to someone who is understandably hurt by things earlier in his life. My only gripe about the show is that sometimes the soft rock interludes let it down when a musical score would be better. But this is a small point because personally I can't wait for more Alias as it's fast becoming one of my favourite shows. It's just too bad it's not got the right treatment so far in the UK.
Alias is gaining recognition as another potential cult TV show that made it big in the States but is slow on the uptake in the UK. It?s currently being aired on Channel Four on Sundays. The show basically revolves around our sexy brunette heroine Sydney Bristow. Sydney (Played by Jennifer Garner) is a student with a difference. She has been recruited by a secret organization called SD-6. To begin with Sydney thinks that she is working for a secret department of CIA. But she?s not! SD-6 is not a part of the CIA - it's a criminal organization founded by ex-agents. SD-6 is THE enemy of the United States. This isn?t Sydney?s gig and she contacts CIA to bring SD-6 down! Sydney has only one other person who she can trust in SD-6 and strangely enough it?s her father and guess what, she barely knows him! She?s not sure if she can trust him yet. Was he involved in her mothers death? She knows he is a double agent too - but do his loyalties lie with the CIA or SD-6? Sydney?s cover is a job for a bank but they call her night and day and she disappears for worldwide business trips. Yes her friends get curious but if they get too curious they end up dead! Sydney has to manage her studies, being a double agent and most importantly not getting her friends killed! Each episode sees Sydney risking it all for SD-6 but she has ulterior motives. All the information she gets for SD-6 she gives to the CIA. The Main Characters (aside from Sydney) are outlined as follows: Jack Bristow (played by Victor Garber) ? Jack is Sydney?s father. He is a double agent working SD-6 as a main player but for the CIA as a senior agent. He?s deep undercover and unbelievable cool and collected on the job. He?s got nerves of steel and then some Arvin Sloane (played by Ron Rifkin) Arvin is the director of SD-6. He, like Jack, is cool calm and collected! He?s a huge player in the world of espionage. He the main villain but strangely is almost the l
oveable rogue! He dotes on Sydney (there?s something more in this relationship ? perhaps he is her father????) and saves her life when she comes under suspicion as a double agent. His wife is very ill and is dying of cancer ? so not only do we see his villainous side we get to see the very human side of him too! Marcus Dixon (played by Carl Lumbly) ? Dixon is Sydney?s partner in crime. He?s SD-6 through and through but he thinks SD-6 are the good guys! Sydney wants to tell hi but she?ll blow her own cover! Marshall Flinkman (played by Kevin Weisman) ? Marshall is my favourite character. He?s a complete and utter nerd! He?s the techie that provides all the cool gadgets to the agents in SD-6. He is the kinda guy who never gets the girls but perhaps deserves to. Michael Vaughan (played by Michael Vartan) ? Vaughan is a junior CIA agent and is Sydney?s handler. There?s always an undertone of romance between Sydney and Vaughan but they have to meet in secret and under the strangest of circumstances! We?re talking messages dropped in bins as communication. He normally poses as a blood bank technician but only Sydney ever goes into the mobile blood bank to donate (strange that!). Most of Alias? girlie viewers will be wanting this pair to get it on, but at the moment they are close friends stopped from getting any closer because of their jobs! Will Tippin (played by Bradley Cooper) ? Will is one of Sydney?s best friends. After Dan (Sydney?s fiancé) was killed by SD-6 Will, a reporter, has been looking into Dan?s suspicious death. Of course he who knows nothing about Sydney?s secret identity or SD-6 but he is getting closer! He fancies the pants of Sydney but is a bit on the shy side! The cast have all starred in major movies and TV series. You?ll recognise some faces but that?s about it. There are no huge stars in Alias, but hey - how big was Sarah Michelle Geller before Buffy? The acting is first rate for a TV series. The cas
t have excellent chemistry between them. For me this is why I like the show so much. The characters are realistic in that their human sides are displayed. Loyalty, family and friendships are major themes in the show. The writing is fabulous. Comic elements are ever present with through away line from Sydney and Marshall the techie. The central plot twists and turns and Sydney is often runs the risk of being discovered. Each episode continues directly on from another because the end is always a cliff hanger! The plus side is that you are desperate to watch the next week! The downside ? if you miss and episode you miss a good chunk of the storyline for the next episode! This is not a major problem and I would recommend this show to anyone who would like James Bond crossed with Buffy (but there are not Demons!). All in all this is a very watchable show though mild violence is to be expected as there are fights scenes every week. So if you like a good scrap, the odd explosion and some cool gadgets then give Alias a try!
About a month ago, I was reading an article in ‘Empire’ magazine which commented about the generally excellent standard of TV these days – ‘never been better’ were in fact the words that were used. Series that were cited to prove this point included ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘24’. I have never seen even an episode of each. And judging from remarks made by my family and friends, I seem to have missed a treat. Anyway, the article went on to list series shortly coming our way which would be worth a look. One which caught my eye was a series called ‘Alias’, a show which has gone down a storm in America, made a star of it’s previously unknown leading lady and would start on Channel 4 in mid September. The premise was intriguing enough for me to decide to give this a go. THE PREMISE College student Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) holds a secret – she is also an agent of SD6, a branch of the CIA. So in between attending classes and writing essays, she is flying to exotic locations around the globe, carrying out missions ranging from relatively simple tasks of reconnaissance to retrieving stolen nuclear warheads. What complicates matters even more is that, unknown to Sydney, her father ALSO works for the CIA. To say nothing of an early revelation that SD6 is not all that it seems… REVIEW Now I’m well aware that the first series of ‘Alias’ has already aired on Sky One and series two will be shown on that channel early next year. Hence there is a better than average chance that I am preaching to the converted in this review. Personally, I’ve tended to avoid watching stuff on Sky One because they put ad breaks in really annoying places – i.e. two minutes after the programme starts and two minutes before it is due to finish – and I’ve just lost patience with it. Yes, I’m well aware that Chann
el 4 has ad breaks too (and I’d prefer to watch it with no ads at all) but at least they are put in places that don’t interrupt the flow of the story too much. I write this review, the series two episodes into its run. And so far I’m finding it an entertaining series. The action-filled first part one fully lays down the premise, leaving us for the real story to begin in earnest in part two. The premise is cracking, but also quite ridiculous once you start to think about it. I mean, for heaven’s sake, how many of us believe that the CIA would (for no explicable reason in the series) approach a young student while she takes a break from her classes and inform her that they are interested in recruiting her? And I’m not being sexist here – the notion would be equally daft if the Sydney character was a young man. I think the key to this show’s success is how soon the viewer can get away from such thoughts and simply enjoy the show for what it is. And I’m glad to say in my case, the answer is very quickly! ‘Alias’ moves with plenty of pace, the story moving swiftly, the dialogue crisp and fast (sometimes too fast!). The show plays to its strength, not dwelling too long on the relatively uneventful scenes of Sydney’s college/social life, and focusing mostly on her much more intriguing undercover adventures. Naturally, the casting of Sydney was pivotal – and not easy given that her character is something of a ‘dual’ role. The story required an actress who was still young enough to play a college student convincingly and also who possessed an aura of toughness for the secret agent scenes. And preferably she would have the looks of course to pull in all the younger male viewers! I had never heard of Jennifer Garner before, and on the evidence of what I have seen so far, I believe she carries the series very well. She is believable in both aspects
of her role – she plays fine in the student scenes and just as well when the story moves into ‘spy’ territory. Garner demonstrates the stronger side of Sydney to good effect.in scenes of argument / heated discussion with her peers – a way which is far better than any ‘fighting’ sequences (which have in fact been relatively and welcomely absent in the series so far). And is she sexy? Definitely! And prepare yourself for countless costume and hairstyle changes on Garner’s part. Though it didn’t do a lot for me when this natural brunette dyed her hair red or blonde for some undercover work. Personally, I enjoy it most when she looks and dresses at her most feminine – most memorably when she wore the evening dress early on in the pilot episode. While Garner has very much been in the forefront so far, I am looking forward to seeing the supporting characters develop as the episodes clock by. One of interest is Bradley Cooper, who plays Sydney’s best friend, eccentric journalist Will, who quite obviously has a lot stronger feelings for her than he is letting on, but has long ago accepted that they will remain ‘just’ friends. Sydney regards him as trustworthy, knowing that when she needs to she can go to him for help and confide in him – but she doesn’t tell him everything, for if she did she would have to kill him! And of course I’m expecting the series to explore the current stilted relationship between Sydney and her father Jack Bristow, played by Victor Garber (who I knew I recognised from somewhere and a little research confirmed that he was the architect in ‘Titanic’). So far, Jack appears rather distant, giving little away. He is somewhat inaccessible, even to his daughter, although given the career path he chose, that is not surprising. I look forward to seeing him onscreen more. The show does lose momentum when it slows the pa
ce and treats us to some slightly wobbly emotional scenes as Sydney sits contemplating. The tracks that are used in these scenes are good choices though, including Kate Bush’s ‘This woman’s work’ and ‘Here comes the flood’ by Peter Gabriel. Indeed the show has a generally excellent (predominantly electric-orientated) soundtrack which is put to good use. Chase / episionage / against the clock sequences move along nicely to the thumping zippy background music. And the tune that plays over the excellent opening credits sequence (white writing on a black background) is catchy and memorable. One thing that is perhaps not going for ‘Alias’ is Channel 4’s decision to broadcast it at about 5.30 on a Saturday afternoon. They are putting it on at peak-time viewing with the aim of attracting a family audience and indeed on more than one occasion I’ve seen it categorised in TV guides under ‘Family choice’. However, I really don’t think it is a ‘family’ programme – to me, it has much more the feel of an ‘adult’ show. Those of you who watched all that happened in episode one, complete with its deaths, betrayals and revelations would probably agree with me. It’s not that the content is particularly inappropriate for children or younger teenagers – it is just that they wouldn’t really find it interesting. I’m also suspicious that, because the programme is broadcast at this early time, some editing and scene-cutting has taken place to bring it into line with pre-watershed ruling. Come on Channel 4! If you want to compete with Sky, show ‘Alias’ at a later time and show it uncut! Plus points are gained for having a brief ‘previously on Alias’ montage, narrated by Garner, at the beginning of every episode – very helpful for those who need a little refreshing of events up until this point. A
lso, if you’re a fan of ‘cliffhanger’ endings, then this is definitely a show for you! RECOMMENDED? It’s not difficult to see why this has proved so popular in America. With it’s easy on the eye star, fast-paced storyline, and exciting action sequences (which refreshingly tend to rely on the ‘beating the clock’ concept rather than violence and explosions), to say nothing about being based on a truly original concept, ‘Alias’ could end up a real classic. So far, I’ve found it a very entertaining series - along with ‘Casualty’, I now have two reasons to look forward to TV on a Saturday!
This is an amazing series much under-publicised in this country although it has won several prestige awards in the states for its first series showing on Sky One, Wednesdays at 9:00pm. The Background ************** Our heroine, Sydney Bristow is a college student studying to be an English teacher. She has several close friends and a fiancé but she leads a double life - as an operative or a spy if you will for an organisation called SD-6 which she believes is a black ops division of the CIA. Like most spies, operatives are not allowed to tell even their closest friends about what they do as a "matter of national security". Instead all members of SD-6 tell their friends and family that they work at a bank. Sydney hates lying to those close to her and decides to confide in someone. Unfortunately SD-6 finds out and sends Sydney on a manufactured mission. Whilst she is away, they have the potential threat, eliminated. She returns to find that SD-6 now consider her a security threat and they try to eliminate her also. She manages to escape with the help of her father who up until that point she thought was just a company director. He tells her that SD-6 are not affiliated with the CIA but are actually a part of an alliance of twenty intelligence agencies which work toward their own goals. She is obviously aghast that she has been working for an enemy of the United States and her colleagues at SD-6, apart from the high ranking members of SD-6, still believe that they are working for their country. Her father, Jack Bristow is actually one of these high ranking members of SD-6 but he is a double agent working for the CIA to try and bring SD-6 down. In order to avoid being assassinated, she steals an artifact that the Arvin Slone, the director of SD-6 needs in order to once more ingratiate herself with them and gain back his trust. In the same day, she walks into the CIA headquarters and defects. They ask her to, like h
er father, become a double agent working within SD-6 to keep the CIA appraised of their missions and goals and undertake counter missions so that the CIA can slowly but surely break the complicated network down and eventually eliminate SD-6. She reluctantly accepts despising SD-6 for the assassination of someone close to her. The Characters ************** Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) - a highly trained and of course beautiful spy. Highly trained, in languages, martial arts, disguises, etc. Jack Bristow (Victor Garber) - her father a highly respected and experienced double agent working for both the CIA and SD-6. Cool and decisive like an older James Bond. You have to love this character, who is my personal favourite. He is never shaken or stirred and has no qualms about doing what must be done no matter how violent that may have to be…favourite quote…”Just so we are clear – if you repeat this conversation to anyone, you will never wear a hat again”. Arvin Sloane (Ron Rifkin) - Director of SD-6, a cold hearted but somehow likeable main bad guy. Marcus Dixon (Carl Lumbly) – Sydney’s partner – completely trustworthy and courageous he cares about Sydney and is still unaware that SD-6 is not affiliated with the CIA. Marshall Flinkman (Kevin Weisman) – The main comic element of the show, supplies SD-6 with the gadgets used on missions. He is a hugely likeable young nerd who is like Q from James Bond on a caffeine overdose. It is unknown as to what he knows about SD-6 but I personally think that the bumbling technician act will be a front and behind it he will be something more in a Clark Kent kind of way. Michael Vaughan (Michael Vartan) – CIA agent and Sydney’s contact/handler. There is a romantic possibility between them, but since they can’t be seen in public together other than to meet briefly, it is somewhat stifled. Vaughan cares
for Sydney beyond their professional capacity. Will Tippin (Bradley Cooper) – The main one of Sydney’s friends. A reporter who knows nothing about her life as a spy. He clearly has a romantic interest in her but won’t act on it. His curious nature as a reporter leads him to investigate the murder of their mutual friend. In doing so he puts himself and unknowingly Sydney in danger. The Series ******** Having watched it from the first episode, I found it hugely entertaining. Sydney is sent all over the world to complete missions for SD-6 and the CIA. With more gadgets than Bond himself, plus the obvious advantage that she looks better in a dress, it loses none of the excitement that you get in the Bond films. Always setting a furiously fast pace and packing a lot into each one hour episode you can’t help but compare it to James Bond meets Mission Impossible. They have used a largely unknown cast, which is good because you can get to know the characters with no pre-conceptions. They do have some big name stars queuing at the door to get involved. Quentin Tarantino has just been in two episodes as an awesome vengeful spy. Roger Moore played an excellent part and the door has been left open for him to pop in as an important occasional character. The acting is flawless without a wooden character in site so they have spared no expense in casting this brilliantly. There is occasional humour provided by the tech guy Marshall but in the majority it is all about the action. The music is loud and energetic and always fits perfectly whatever is happening on the screen. The action is realistic and people actually get shot and beaten up rather than always managing to escape in the nick of time. There is however, one point that I class as a bad point but others may like. Every week they leave you on a cliffhanger. This will be fine when I buy the series on DVD. But, it is a little annoying when you have
to wait a week to see what happens when the non-stop action leads you to a point where she is dangling precariously over a squad of heavily armed men and the rope breaks. A week later, you start at that point and the atmosphere has gone. Because the story has a running central theme, I can’t say too much about what is going on because a lot of it stems from events that are unfolding every week. The plot twists and turns but always explains itself so that the viewer can keep up. The central theme of the ultimate aim for Sydney and her father remains, they must keep their double life a secret from their friends, the must help the CIA bring SD-6 down without being exposed by SD-6 as that would obviously result in death. You can jump in at any time, although admittedly it may take a few weeks before you are oriented. But definitely give it a try. When the series comes out on video or DVD, it will be well worth the money. If you liked mission impossible you will love this.........This op will self-destruct in five seconds.