It was with a huge amount of excitement that I noticed Alias was returning to its erratic run on Channel 5 on UK terrestrial TV to begin Season 3. After waiting for so long for it to come across from Satellite I was finally put out of my misery this week, and what a start it was.
Finally, after all this time, we began to find out what had happened to Sydney after waking up in a foreign land some two years after being knocked out, without a single memory of what had happened.
I have to admit that the first episode coincided with my viewing of 24 Season 3, at about 5am, and the first episode of Alias blew it out of the water for me. Although since the 5am episode 24 has picked up somewhat.
Back to Alias. The creator J. J. Abrams is a true talent of producing exciting and entertaining television, as well as picking the perfect talent for his roles. Currently working on Lost and Mission Impossible: 3 (see my MovieBlog post on that subject) he still manages to keep the quality up on the show and the pressure on the viewer. Although the talk is, and even with Abrams himself, that his standards slipped on this Season, there’s been no evidence of it yet and the gripping first episode showed no standards drop.
It sticks to the same formula of multiple plot threads woven together in a somewhat complex pattern through various agents, double agents and just plain baddies, and it certainly is hard to get used to if you haven’t travelled with the show since Season 1. However, once you grasp the plot and who’s who, you can’t help to be drawn into the show.
As for the talent themselves, Jennifer Garner is stunning as Sydney Bristow, and I keep feeling myself being drawn into her character and pulled through every emotion she feels. Her acting is so believable and her face so expressive. She is wonderfully backed up by the rest of the cast, in particular her father Victor Garber and mother Lena Olin, both playing excellent roles and suiting them perfectly. The uber-baddie is cooly portrayed by Ron Rifkin, who it has to be said, can chill you to the bone with a simple smile.
I can’t say enough good things about this show. It’s addictive, once you get onboard with the story, and there’s tension throughout every episode. It also shares the approach to a TV series that I really am attracted to, whether it be Babylon 5 through to 24, the concept that each episode is part of a larger, Season or Programme wide story line. Each episode doesn’t just have a set-up, plot twist and happy ending, although in a way Alias has a task which is completed each episode, the characters are part of a much wider plot, and this is what makes it so compelling. It’s also perhaps what keeps it as a cult programme, as it doesn’t make itself accessible to new viewers.
Simply said, Alias is a fantastic series. If you’re at all interested in getting into it, do not watch the current shows. Go and hire out the previous series, watch them, and catch up fast!