ALIAS: SEASON 1 - REVIEW
I resisted. Honestly I did.
Before watching Alias I only knew it involved some girl running around corridors with wigs and I refused to believe there was anything more to it than that. I refused to allow myself to like it.
To be fair, there is a LOT of Jennifer Garner running around in wigs down corridors. That's like a given for any episode: that WILL happen. Accept it now and you'll feel better about it very quickly.
So what is Alias? And how can I even begin to explain without spoiling the whole thing for you guys?
Lets just say it's a European-style spy thriller series created by Lost/Fringe maestro J.J. Abrams with a terrific cast of characters, some of the best twists and cliffhangers you'll find in any show, a kinda supernatural underbelly (so good) and one of the all time great TV villains. Being an early noughties thing, expect the odd shitty pop song, copious amounts of techno music and Brosnan-era Bond-style technology.
Season 1 is quick to get into: the pilot episode doing remarkably well to introduce the concept, its players and adding some nifty touches to the proceedings here and there. It's all very fast, very slick and very cool. What prevents this first season from being right up there with its following one is its rigid following of the whole SD-6/CIA back and forth which gets a bit repetitive about halfway through, everything on Sydney's home front can get pretty corny (those damn pop songs HAVE to go) and the build-up to the final shot is a bit underwhelming. All that said, the final few episodes of the season are awesome and, like I said, it all starts brilliantly.
Character-wise you've got Jennifer Garner's Sydney Bristow whom, besides being incredibly over-emotional, stubborn and occasionally up herself does make up for a lot of that on her missions with endless silly costumes, bad accents and lots of kicking and running. One wishes she would listen a bit more to her father Jack (a perfect Victor Garber) whose admittedly intimidating demeanor and dodgy past makes his advice constantly suspect but who does constantly make sense regardless. Bradley Cooper's Will Tippin, Sydney's reporter friend, is a gem and his subplot only gets more and more involving. Marshall (Kevin Weisman), the gadget geek of the series, will get pretty grating after a while but don't you worry, by Season 3 you'll want his babies.
I should also mention Francie (Merrin Dungey), Sydney's annoying and frankly useless BFF, who tries very hard to give us a subplot we can get behind but her seemingly cheating boyfriend Charlie and boring-ass ambition to *gasp* open a restaurant just doesn't cut it. Shout out to Dixon (Carl Lumbly) and Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan) though who both prove themselves worthy players within both of Sydney's worlds. Then there's Arvin Sloane (Ron Rifkin), one of the slimiest bastards you'll ever meet, leading the way villain-wise with good old Julian Sark (David Anders) waiting patiently in the wing. Sloane is a bit more passive-aggressive than anything else in this first season but fear not, the man's true colours will shine through very soon indeed. Do watch out for a very silly but totally enjoyable Quentin Tarantino cameo btw. You have been warned.
On the whole, Season 1 of Alias is shit-tons of fun and although it lacks the punch of Season 2 it's still well worth sitting through. Just make sure you've got Season 2 within reach by the time you get to episode 22.
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