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Fresh out of the farm, Annie Walker must adapt to the challenging life of a CIA operative under the guidance of her handler, Auggie. But soon she realizes her recruit might have to do with her last boyfriend rather than her talent.
Sydney Bristow is a young, athletic, college graduate who was recruited her freshman year as a secret agent for SD-6, a top-secret branch of the CIA. After a few years -- after Sydney confides her lifestyle to her boyfriend, the evil head of SD-6 -- Arvin Sloan, has him killed. Sydney learns that SD-6 is part of a rogue international agency called the Alliance of 12, out to rule the world. She becomes a double agent, working with the real CIA to bring down SD-6 with the assistance of her handler, Michael Vaughn, and her estranged father Jack Bristow -- also a double agent. Along the way, Sydney fights various rival agents, rival terrorist groups, and traitors all the while keeping her cloak-and-dagger lifestyle a secret from her friends. (Season 1) Written by
All episodes end with the word "ALIAS" appearing on the screen, except for the final episode of the final season in which the message "Thank you for five wonderful years" appears on screen instead. See more »
ALIAS is the drama series I could never decide whether to be loved or hated. Probably one the most entertaining shows I've ever seen on TV, but also one of the biggest disappointments in my life. Now, how comes that? Arguably, Alias is a great example on how to ruin a drama show that started out with such a great potential. Not with a ground-breakingly original idea (the show obviously resembles La Femme Fatale Nikita and dozens of similar espionage stories), but with its interesting characters and slightly unrealistic but rather clever story lines and plot twists, it DOES manage to get you hooked, after just a few episodes (provided you get to see the right episodes). It sounds good so far, so what the hell went wrong?
Well, during its 5-years run, nearly everything. Too bad Alias never managed to become a mainstream show, somehow it always remained kind of underground, a cult show, having said that its ratings never were what network executives expected. Which, despite the initial hype around the show, really was a shame. That was why the network finally decided to tamper with Alias, and the results were somewhat mixed. So it wasn't long before the show started to lose its fanbase, its core audience, and since the show never had sky-high ratings, I consider losing its fanbase... well, the obvious downhill of Alias. For me, it definitely was season four, when ABC had an attempt to introduce Alias to a larger audience, so they had JJ Abrams reboot the show, yet again. Nothing wrong with that... except it went horribly wrong, in my opinion. ABC's idiotic mandates such as avoiding any potentially great long-term plot or mystery (including Rambaldi) made the show so simplistic, so dumbed down, that you might as well have watched any other drama series involving dumb CIA agents fighting dumb terrorist organizations. Gone are the plot twists, the interesting story lines, even the cliffhangers, Alias had lost nearly all of its elements that kept us watching it week to week, only to introduce awfully uninteresting, clichéd stand-alone episodes and dumb criminals that no-one ever cared about. Only when the fourth season came to an end, it was terribly disappointing too. The writers' attempts to make up for the boredom in the first half of the season were absolutely ridiculous, and I just couldn't believe why the same producers that banned Alias from being intelligent and creative (not to mention the Rambaldi storyline) let the season's (and apparently the Rambaldi storyline's) conclusion turn into something that resembles some low-budget 70's horror flick. Undoubtedly that was when I realised that Alias had turned into something it was never supposed to be, and I was praying that the fifth season would somehow make up for the disappointment of the fourth.
Sadly, it didn't. Banning Rambaldi again for about the half of season five (but at least not being so desperate about the self-contained format as in season 4), the network clearly had no idea about what they were doing and how much harm their tampering would cause to the show. However, it quickly became clear that Alias would be cancelled, so all we could expect that all the story lines and mysteries would finally be resolved. We also hoped that it would go out with a bang - with the same bang it was introduced to us. But every now and then, we were let down. Really let down.
Most of the blame should fall on ABC, for constantly dumbing down Alias and turning it into something it was never supposed to be, and JJ Abrams, who had abandoned the show and moved on to Lost, leaving his own 'child' for the dead (which you might consider a successful move if you are a Lost fan, but otherwise you might as well hate Abrams forever). They should have asked themselves the question: is Alias exactly the same great, intelligent, exciting, suspenseful drama that the audience came to know in its first season? And if there's even a slight possibility that the answer would be 'No'... then clearly, something has gone wrong. Horribly wrong. And it needs fixing. That is what the creators of Alias, along with the network, always failed to do. And this is what led to the ultimate destruction of a once-great TV show. So to answer my initial question: the show is to be loved, and the creators are to be hated for killing it.
(Let's be a little bit rude with the rating. The first 2 seasons were near-perfect, the third was a so-so, the last 2 were utter crap. Golden mean it is, I give Alias 5 stars.)
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