Saturday, May 14, 2005


There was a time when I really looked forward to watching the latest episode of Alias. Now in its fourth season, I think this show has completely jumped the shark and is in major decline.

The first two seasons were great. Sydney (Jennifer Garner) and her father Jack (Victor Barber) are double agents, working for one intelligence agency (SD6) while actually running counter missions for another (the CIA). The enemies were plenty: the Russian K-Directorate, and another shadowy group run by Jack's ex-wife Irina (Lena Olin), who was herself a KGB agent. Confused yet? There was a bizarre season-long arc about finding some ancient artifacts, which I didn't much care for, but overall it was enjoyable to watch. At the end of Season 2, the good guys (CIA) wiped out the bad guys (SD6), which was surprising as the show lost an entire narrative layer.

In Season 3, another new multi-national conspiracy (the Alliance) emerged as the new bad guys. This was kinda stretching things, but I followed it. Another character's wife Lauren (Melissa George) emerged as the new double agent. At the end of the season, the new bad guys were wiped out.

Now in Season 4, we have the cast reunited in yet another black-ops subsection of the CIA. So far, Sloane's (Ron Rifkin, head of the section) previously unmentioned daughter Nadia (Mia Maestro) has joined, Irina's previously unmentioned sister Sophia (Sonia Braga) has emerged as a possible new conspiracy leader, Irina was supposedly killed off-season but now might not really be dead, and in general the show has been wandering around unfocused, doing things like introducing a bad guy who was basically Sloane's clone, or giving Jack terminal radiation poisoning only to miraculously cure it by locating a doctor he helped years ago (I think the whole point of this subplot was some father/daughter bonding while he was delerious). My suspension of disbelief has a limit, and Alias hit it somewhere along the way this season.

I think J. J. Abrams is probably working too much on LOST; several people I know really like it. I'm kinda hoping Alias gets retired gracefully, rather than crash like the train wreck it is currently.

No comments: